Political Science Careers and Internships
The Political Science internship program provides you with an opportunity to earn academic credit for your work in a governmental or political setting. Credit is not given for the work alone, but for the learning you can demonstrate as a result of your experience. Internships can be located in any setting that provides an opportunity to observe some aspect of the political process. Among the most common locations are the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, political campaigns, law offices, international organizations, non-profit organizations, and national, state, or local administrative agencies. In some cases, internships can be arranged with lobbying organizations and for profit corporations.
The Department of Political Science does not arrange internships for students. However, Dr. Courtney Thomas will help qualifying students receive course credit for politically-based internships that they have arranged.
- For political science internship credit, you must have an overall GPA of 2.5 or better. Exceptions may be made if your political science GPA is very strong.
- Internships are limited to students with junior or senior standing. Exceptions may be made for others with substantial coursework in political science.
- You must have completed coursework relevant to the internship to fully benefit from the experience. While most interns receiving political science credit are political science majors or minors, credit can be arranged for majors in other fields, as well. Internship credit is conferred under PSCI 4754.
- You must complete at least 200 hours of internship work for 3 hours of course credit and at least 400 hours of internship work for 6 hours of course credit. Standard tuition and fees apply for the credit hours earned.
Arranging an Internship:
Internships must be arranged the semester before the beginning of the program; registration cannot be done retroactively.
Who Do I Talk To?
If you are seeking intership credit, see the Internship Advisor, Dr. Courtney I. P. Thomas. After speaking with Dr. Thomas, students must complete an Internship Application form prior to approval for credit and submit it at 119 Major Williams Hall. While Dr. Thomas may be able to suggest possible contacts or identify programs to which you might apply, you are required to arrange your own internship.
You are expected to be responsible and professional in an internship capacity. These qualities are demonstrated by:
- Arriving promptly and following your schedule as mandated by your supervisor
- Completing assigned tasks
- Dressing appropriately for your work environment
- Actively seeking critical feedback from your supervisor
Learning and Personal Growth:
You are also expected to be an observer and analyst of the political system, as well as a participant. Note the differences between theory and classroom learning and your practical experience, seeking to understand how the system works and why. These observations should be recorded in your journals and discussed in your capstone paper.
At the end of your internship, your supervisor must submit an evaluation form assessing your work throughout the intership experience.
You will also be required to submit comprehensive journals following your experience and a capstone paper. Speak with Dr. Thomas for more details on evaluation procedures specific to your internship.
Past Internship Placements
Internships can be located in any setting that provides an opportunity to observe some aspect of the political process. Among the most common are the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, political campaigns, law offices, international organizations, non-profit organizations, and national, state, or local administrative agencies. In some cases, internships can be arranged with lobbying organizations and for profit corporations.
- Congressman Robert Goodlatte
- Senator Mark Warner
- US Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Congressman Robert Wittman
- DRS Technologies
- US House Agricultural Committee
- Democratic Party of Virginia
- Senator Jim Webb
- Republican Party of Virginia
Political Science and International Studies graduates have proven that they are well-trained for a variety of careers. You can do almost anything with a political science or international studies major.
Career Services at Virginia Tech offers a variety of services including career exploration, job searching, resume analysis, and interview training.
Other career-related resources include: