Many students are interested in internships as part of their undergraduate experience. Internships provide hands-on experience for students interested in public affairs, government, and non-profit organizations. The skills and knowledge gained from internships can be beneficial to advancing academic and professional goals.
Internships are not part of the curriculum for the political science major and are not required; nonetheless, we encourage students to participate in at least one internship during their undergraduate career, either during the summer or part-time during the academic year. Although most internships do not receive undergraduate course credit and they are generally unpaid, the Department is able to offer a few, limited options for receiving credit or funding for internships.
Course Credit for Internships. There are two ways that students can earn credit while doing an internship. First, they may participate in the Washington Center Program. Students spend either a semester or summer in Washington D.C., working in a full-time internship, participating in a seminar, and attending weekly lectures/discussions. They earn 9 credits in the summer or 15 in a fall or spring semester. These credits count towards graduation requirements, and up to 9 credits can fulfill political science major requirements. For more information about this program, students are encouraged to contact the Washington Center Advisor, Professor Joe White.
A second option is to combine an internship with registration for POSC 395 Independent Study, which usually is for 3 credit hours. The student must write a paper and do additional academic work that makes the internship part of a reflective learning experience. For POSC 395, students must find their own internships and identify a faculty member who is willing to supervise the independent study. We recommend that students consult with the Department Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Joe White, for advice about how to design the independent study and what faculty members might be an appropriate advisor for a particular internship.
Financial Support for Internships. Many students would like to do an internship in the summer, but feel they cannot do so because they need to earn money for the school year, or because they cannot afford to live away from home. The Department is able to help some of those students through the Wellman Hill Internship Grants Competition. Students who are majoring in Political Science and will not graduate earlier than the December after the internship period are eligible to apply for these competitive grants to help them take unpaid internships related to public affairs. For more information on the Wellman Hill program, see the webpage, and also please contact the Wellman Hill Advisor, Professor Justin Buchler.
There are other opportunities for financial support on campus. Please see SOURCE for more information on this.
Searching for an Internship. Current and former political science students have interned for various organizations and in many locations. While there are many resources for searching for internships, students should also take the initiative by approaching organizations they are interested in working for and offering to be an intern. Listed below are several recent internships that our students have completed. Please see the Office of Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education for help on finding the right opportunity for you.
American Civil Liberties Union
Carter Center, Atlanta, GA
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC
The Ethics Group of the American Medical Association, Chicago, IL
Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington, DC
Ford Motor Company Government Relations
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Philadelphia, PA
Genocide Intervention Network, Washington, DC
Genetic Alliance, Washington, DC
Human Rights Law Network, Chennai, India
International Institute for Strategic Studies, Washington, DC
International Rescue Committee
International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC
National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations
Republican Jewish Coalition
For local internships in the Cleveland area, students might check with the organizations below:
Center for Community Solution
The Center for Families and Children
Cleveland Clinic Office of Government Relations
Cleveland Council on World Affairs Internship
The Cleveland Foundation
Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
G2G Consulting, LLC Contact: lpowell@G2Gconsulting.com
Policy Matters Ohio
Public Policy Fellowship at the Cuyahoga County Executive Office, Cleveland, OH
University Hospitals of Cleveland Office of Government Relations *Contact Dan Bucci, Daniel.Bucci@uhhospitals.org
Also there are various national databases students can use when searching for internships. A few can be found here:
Government Resource Series
Overview of the U.S. Government –
Student Guide to a Career in Government –
Student Guide to a Career in Politics –
Please note that the Department of Political Science alerts our students to a range of opportunities, including internships, fellowships, and jobs. We do not endorse or sponsor these, and leave it to the judgment of our students what is most useful and appropriate to them.