College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Political Science

Internship Requirements


The internship program is designed to provide opportunities for students to gain experience as well as practical knowledge about politics and public administration. On-the-job experience enables the student to discover perspectives that can augment academic courses.

Once a student has decided to do an internship, an appointment needs to be made with the Internship Coordinator. Intern assignments are made after consultations among the intern, the prospective employer, and the Intern Coordinator. It is primarily the job of the student to secure an internship, and the Internship Coordinator can be helpful in getting you started. Although the number and types of intern positions for a given term cannot be determined more than a brief time in advance of each term, intern positions are available with most organizations at the federal, state, and local levels of government, as well as nonprofits. For a list of organizations with which UNI students have recently completed internships, please click HERE.


The internship can provide from three to eight semester hours of credit. To receive three hours of credit students must work a minimum of 120 hours; for eight hours, a minimum of 320 hours. This is an undergraduate program limited to political science, political communication, and public administration majors who must have:

1.     Junior or senior standing.

2.     Completed at least 15 hours of political science course work.

3.     Achieved a grade-point average in political science course work of at least 2.50.

4.     Secured departmental permission to participate.

Freshmen and sophomore political science majors who think they may be interested in seeking an internship will want to plan a year or more in advance so that they can be absent from campus, if necessary, for the eight to nine, or sixteen to eighteen-week period of the internship.

An application form is available online HERE or students may pick up application forms in the Departmental Office (Sabin 335) or from the Intern Coordinator. It should be noted, the earlier the application, the more advantageous placement may be for the student. Any questions concerning these procedures may be raised with the Intern Coordinator, Chris Larimer (Sabin 349).

Requirements (Please also consult the syllabus given to you by the Internship Coordinator)

1. Experience Journal

You are required to provide weekly journal entries documenting your experiences during the internship. The Experience Journal is designed to encourage you to reflect on the internship experience and integrate the internship with the political science classes you have had thus far in your academic experience. The journal is intended to reveal the type of things you are learning through your job experience. The entries must be faithfully maintained throughout the semester. Journal entries should be emailed to the Intern Coordinator each week. The Experience Journal, like the other written materials submitted by you, is an instrument that will be useful in your evaluation. It will also be helpful in writing your major investigation, analysis or research project. The Experience Journal may contain such items as: brief summaries of meaningful events the intern has observed or in which you were a participant; reflections or observations about the administrative or political process: questions prompted by an experience or observation or by a comparison of your previous study with his/her field experience. Entries may vary in length depending on the internship and weekly assignments, but should be approximately 1⁄2 page to 1 page in length.

2. Major Investigation, Analysis, or Research Project

As a part of the internship, you are required to develop a research paper or research project. This paper/project should overlap with your internship experience or develop out of the internship experience. It is normally developed through mutual discussion with your intern- employer and has value to him/her as well as educational value for you. As part of the paper or project, you must interview at least two persons who are a part of the organization where you are working who will, in your judgment, provide useful information about your work setting. These interviews can be with any persons relevant to your assignment. The research paper should be prepared in formal manuscript style with full citation to personal interviews and all other sources of information employed. Research papers are expected to be 12-15 pages in length. If you decide to do a project instead of a research paper, this must be cleared with the Intern Coordinator EARLY in the internship.

3. Debriefing Session with the Intern Coordinator

At the conclusion of the internship, you will have a “debriefing” meeting with the internship coordinator. During this meeting you should be prepared to respond to questions about everything you have written, as well as general questions pertaining to your assignment and what you have learned previously in political science during your earlier studies in our Department.

4. Letter from Employer

You must have your supervisor write a brief letter to the Internship Coordinator describing what you did, and how well the internship went that includes an overall assessment of your performance. Since this letter will be a factor in your grade for the internship, it should be sent to the Internship Coordinator by the last day of classes.

Interns' grades are based on evaluations made by the Intern Coordinator and the intern employer and are weighted according to the following scale:

Journal entries: 25%

Research paper/project: 50%

Supervisor evaluation: 25%