The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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1. General Description

The Department of Political Science sponsors qualified students for internships to help them gain work experience in public affairs, international issues, and exposure to practical politics. A variety of internships are available to Political Science majors with government agencies (national, state, or local; legislative, executive, or judicial), nonprofit organizations, or with private organizations engaged in public service functions.

To manage the internships, the Political Science Department works with the Career Services Office (545-2224). Each student must register with Career Service's Handshake and should consider attending a Career Services internship information session. Students wishing to pursue an internship should understand that arranging one takes time. Internships should be planned at least one semester in advance. 

Interns normally perform duties for a given number of hours per week for a specified period of time and are supervised by someone at the agency or organization. As an intern, students can earn up to 15 hours of credit, including three credits for a grade.

Notices of internship opportunities can be found online through the Handshake portal.

2. Academic Credit

Internships must have a genuine academic purpose and serious academic content to be eligible for credits. The academic content of the internship may be demonstrated in a number of ways, but usually some or all of the following are involved: readings, book reports, research papers, policy reports, and the keeping of a daily or weekly journal.

Students enrolling in an internship sponsored by the Department of Political Science may register for UMass 298Y (Practicum) for up to 12 ungraded (pass/fail) graduation credits.

These credits will not count toward a major or minor in Political Science. In addition to the ungraded credits, students may – with the approval of a faculty sponsor – enroll in Political Science 498D, for up to 6 graded credits. This course will require special reading, research and writing.

One graded internship or one graded Independent Study may be counted as an elective course toward satisfying the requirements for a Political Science major or minor. The graded credits should be closely related to the work of the ungraded internship and must involve substantial writing and/or study.

3. Contract

A contract is submitted through the Handshake portal.

4. Steps for Arranging an Internship

  1. Begin planning at least one semester in advance. Set up your account through Handshake.
  2. Find an internship. 
  3. Find a faculty supervisor. Determine the work to be done and credits to be completed.
  4. Submit a contract through Handshake. Enroll in the appropriate course.
  5. Complete the work

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