Internships and Independent Studies

The Government department offers many opportunities for student internships. Government alumni are often willing to provide our majors with internship opportunities. In November, students can apply for a Sidney Wise Public Service Internship, which provides paid internships through a competitive selection process. Also, there are off campus study programs with internship opportunities. Note: An internship for academic credit will not count toward any requirement in the Government major. An approved internship for credit can count toward a college elective.

We recommend that you contact the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD) to begin your search for internships. Advisers in OSPGD can help you locate alumni and internship programs that you can contact.

We also offer independent studies (GOV490), tutorials, and directed readings (GOV 391). Students who ar interested in these opportunities should consult with an appropriate member of the Department well in advance of the semester in which such study is to begin. Those contemplating independent study should obtain and read a copy of “Independent Study and Honors in the Department of Government.” Enrollment in independent study also requires completion of  a special form, available from the Academic Department Coordinator in Harris 204.

Students considering GOV490 should have a strong academic record (GPA of 3.0 or above in GOV courses; a GPA of 3.5 or above in GOV courses is required for honors) and should have demonstrated a capacity for independent work. Such students may want to examine theses written by students in previous years; these are located in the departmental office.




Off-Campus Study

Off-campus study is one of the ways that Government majors can fulfill their Cognate requirement. We strongly encourage all students to consider this option. Off-campus study offers incomparable opportunities for enriching your understanding of how different societies function and for getting a new perspective on American society.  Off-campus study requires planning ahead – the process starts one year in advance. The information below lays out the basic steps you should go through as you decide whether study abroad is the way you wish to complete your Government major.

What is the off-campus study option in the Government major?

One semester of off-campus study at any College-approved program meets the Cognate requirement in Government. In addition, a maximum of one government/political science course taken as part of an off-campus study program may count toward the fulfillment of Government major requirements. For a course to count toward the Government major, advance approval of the Government Department Chair (or their designee) is necessary.

What types of off-campus study programs should Government majors consider?

Off-campus study should be more than a colorful “add-on” experience during your college years. A program off campus can be made an integral part of your study of Government by selecting a program whose strengths correspond to your special interests within the major. Majors in Government have participated in the following off-campus study programs in recent years: Washington semester, American University, Washington, D.C.; Butler University and other programs in London and Oxford, UK; Parliamentary Internship program at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; International Education of Students (IES) in Barcelona, Spain, and Buenos Aires, Argentina; School for International Training (SIT) in Amsterdam, Jordan, Kenya, and Australia. See the International Programs section of the Catalog for further information.

Where do I go for information on Off-Campus study programs? What is the timeline?

  1. Review the Off-Campus Study website "Get Started with OCS" here.
  2. Review the checklist and timeline here.

When should I study off-campus?

Most commonly, the off-campus study takes place during the junior year. Yet there can be academic reasons to do it later, in the Fall of the senior year, or earlier, in the sophomore year.  Again, planning well ahead is the key to a successful off-campus study.




Career Prep 

Our majors have taken a variety of different professional paths, including law, public policy and public health, international affairs, medicine, business, journalism, non-profit organizations, campaigns, legislative aides, government agencies and organizations, and doctoral work.

  • Students interested in some particular aspect of a career in policy (e.g., interest in education or health policy) should explore very carefully course options open to them in the Government Department and related disciplines. Students interested in international business, the Foreign Service, area studies, etc., should study a foreign language.

  • Students planning to do graduate work in political science should prepare themselves for extensive work in methodology at the graduate level. Thus, some exposure to college-level mathematics is strongly recommended.

  • Students considering graduate study in public policy or public affairs should prepare themselves for working using analytical techniques, which constitute a significant portion of public affairs, public administration, and public policy programs at the graduate level. Given the importance of economic analysis in these graduate programs, ECO100 (Introduction to Economic Principles) and ECO200 (Microeconomics) are strongly recommended. BOS200 (Organizing in the 21st Century: Theories of Organization), ECO231 (Money and Banking), GOV200 (Understanding Public Policy), and GOV305 (Public Policy Implementation) will also be helpful. Consult your advisor to determine exactly what combination of courses should be tailored to your individual academic program.

  • Students considering graduate study in International Affairs should prepare themselves for work in analytical techniques and foreign language. Given the importance of economic analysis in these graduate programs, ECO100 (Introduction to Economic Principles), ECO200 (Microeconomics), and ECO335 (Economic Development) are strongly recommended. One should also aim for conversational abilities in a foreign language.

  • Those planning to attend graduate or professional school should use the P/NP option sparingly. The purpose of the P/NP option is to permit students to explore fields outside their area of concentration or courses in which they might be expected to be at a competitive disadvantage with other students. Accordingly, none of the courses required for the major in Government may be taken on a P/NP basis. The P/NP option is also inappropriate for introductory courses in other departments of the social sciences.