Internships in the Government and Law Department provide students with the opportunity to study political science through fieldwork and practical experience. 

Caitlin Flood, class of 2012Internships in Government and Law consist of professionally supervised work in one of the following types of settings:  a governmental agency, a law firm or legal department, a political campaign, a news organization, or a public interest or non-governmental organization.  Supervision is provided by a) the Government and Law Department Internship Supervisor, who serves as the academic supervisor of the internship, and b) the Fieldwork/Site Supervisor, who works with the student at the internship site.

Students who pursue an internship will be graded on a credit/no credit basis.  Credit for a Government and Law internship counts for a full course and is designated as GOVT 380.  Internships must be approved for credit prior to participation; no credit will be awarded ex post facto for internships.

In order to qualify for internship course credit, the fieldwork must be extensive, interactive, and intellectually challenging:

  1. Time commitment.  All internships must meet the guidelines noted in the Federal Credit Hour compliance statement as defined by the College, and the intern must make and honor a commitment to fulfill those guidelines through on-site fieldwork, plus additional reading, preparation, etc.  Please see the Registrar’s Office web site for the full Federal Credit Hour policy and practice statement.
  2. Interactive relationship.  The key to a good internship experience is the relationship between the student and the Fieldwork/Site Supervisor.  Given the busy and complex nature of the organizational context for the fieldwork, it is reasonable that the intern sometimes will merely observe the Fieldwork Supervisor performing certain professional functions (e.g., conducting a trial or giving a campaign speech).  It is also reasonable that the intern sometimes will be given a solitary task to perform (e.g., checking a legal citation or answering a constituent’s phone inquiry).  Both the intern and the Fieldwork Supervisor, however, should make regular time for conversation, consultation, and feedback.
  3. Intellectually challenging.  Every organization and activity involves some “grunt” work, but such activity by the intern should be a modest part of the experience.  A significant part of the fieldwork should be intellectually challenging and should make the intern think critically, exercise judgment, and communicate effectively.  If possible, the Fieldwork Supervisor will provide some opportunity for the intern to become acquainted with the overall operations of the organizational setting.

While the intern is responsible primarily to the Fieldwork Supervisor for the day-to-day activities associated with the internship, the intern must also satisfy academic requirements.  To earn internship credit, the Government and Law Department Internship Supervisor must receive the following:

  1. Activities Log:  Over the course of the internship, the student will maintain a detailed log that identifies – on a week-by-week basis – the projects in which the intern participated and the time commitments associated with the projects.  The intern writes this log as the fieldwork occurs and must submit it to the Department Internship Supervisor at least twice a semester, once at the midterm point of the internship and once at the conclusion of the internship.
  2. Two Papers: During the internship, the student will write two analytical essays that reflect on and examine a particular event or issue that helped illuminate a central aspect of the fieldwork experience or concept learned through the internship.  The first paper is due to the Department Internship Supervisor midway through the internship; the second paper is due at the end of the internship.
  3. Evaluations completed by the Fieldwork Supervisor and submitted directly to the Department Internship Supervisor.

The Department Internship Supervisor may assign additional work and may set more specific deadlines for the submission of written material.

Government and Law internshipInterns are expected to be conscientious in the performance of their duties, to abide by the rules and norms of the organization at which the internship is being conducted, and to fulfill the academic expectations of the College and the Department of Government and Law.


Additional Information and Requirements

  • Internships are available to all students upon completion of their first year, including rising sophomores, but internships completed in the summer between the first and second year may not count for credits towards graduation.
  • Students are permitted to complete multiple internships for credit, but only one internship course credit may count towards the minimum required for graduation.
  • Student’s earning stipends or other types of compensation are eligible to receive internship credit.
  • Please contact the Registrar’s Office to determine the fee associated with summer/interim internships.
  • All internships must be approved in advance.  Summer/interim internships must be approved in advance by submitting the internship registration form.  The Summer Internship Form may be completed and submitted online. Adviser and department/instructor approvals can be emailed separately to
  • To help you find an internship, the Government and Law Department has an annual subscription to Traverse Jobs, a job board for political, policy, and PR jobs and internships.  For more information, see
  • The Gateway Career Center provides information and resources to assist students interested in pursuing internships.  See
  • Please review College-wide internship information available at:
  • All internships not affiliated with a department must be taken through the College-wide internship program (INT 200).  INT 200 credit is recorded on the transcript, but may not be used to fulfill the minimum course requirement for graduation. INT 200 is supervised by a faculty member under the direction of the Registrar.

To determine if you are eligible to earn Government and Law Credit for an internship, contact:

Professor Andrew Clarke
Government and Law Department Internship Supervisor
(610) 330-4197