The Political Science Department strongly encourages students to apply for an internship during their undergraduate years. Internships provide valuable work and networking experience. They also give students an opportunity to apply and augment the knowledge and skills they have acquired in the classroom.
Receiving academic credit for an internship
Two courses in the political science curriculum, POLI 438 (Legal Internship) and POLI 448 (Internship in Policy, Politics, and Public Administration) enable students to earn academic credit for internships. The department typically offers them every spring semester.
To earn the four credits associated with POLI 438 or 448, students must:
- Work for at least 160 hours during the semester when the class is taken at an internship approved by the course instructor;
- Concurrently enroll in and fulfill all requirements associated with the Career Center’s 0-credit, tuition-free Intern Success Practicum
- Complete a minimal set of oral and written reflections as specified in course syllabi.
Students need permission from the course instructor to register for POLI 438 or 448. Except in the case of eligible students who are applying for departmental internship placement assistance (please see below), students should register for the Career Center’s Intern Success Practicum (“the PRAC”) prior to seeking permission to enroll in POLI 438 or 448. Please note that registration for the PRAC occurs through the Career Center’s UMBCWorks database; it requires verification of the internship by the Career Center, a process that may take as many as five business days to complete.
Assistance with obtaining an internship
UMBC’s Career Center assists students with multiple aspects of finding an internship, including discernment of interests, training on use of internship search databases, and resume and interview preparation. Your political science advisor can also provide guidance regarding when and what kind of internship to pursue, and may even be able to connect you to specific opportunities in his or her field. The department also extends additional internship search and/or placement assistance to qualified students who successfully apply for this assistance.
The department helps students obtain internships through three main channels:
- Its Legal Internship Program
- Its Policy, Politics, and Public Administration Internship Program
- Sponsorship of students applying to the Maryland General Assembly Internship Program.
The department also periodically offers scholarships to financially needy students who accept unpaid internships. Please visit the department’s scholarships website for information and a link to the application.