Independent Minds, Working Together

Internships

The Department of Political Science at The College of Wooster welcomes student interest in internship programs. The term "internship" loosely refers to a part-time or temporary position (whether paid or unpaid, for academic credit or not) that entails some relevant professional experience. Internships also represent a special educational opportunity that can help to bridge the gap between theory and real world experience. According to the American Political Science Association's guide to internships:

"The positive and exciting educational opportunities inherent in an internship stand on their own. In terms of visualized learning, internships provide a low-risk and limited-cost vantage point from which to preview a general class of careers…For students unfamiliar with office work, city life, or government employment, being able to observe them first hand without the fear of making career-jeopardizing decisions, or totally closing other options through narrow specialization, is quite desirable… [Many] interns find their experience reduces career startup costs, provides guidance for future educational choices, helps hone valuable skills, and may provide an entrée to a permanent job in the area they have found they like, since many government offices use internships as a low-risk recruiting and evaluation process" (Frantzich, 2002, 3).

Internship Programs Approved for Academic Credit

The Department of Political Science at Wooster has high standards for granting academic credit for internships to count toward College graduation requirements. Our department endorses academic credit transfer for internships completed through only three sets of programs: The American University Washington Semester Program; the Drew University United Nations Semester Program; and Urban Semester experiences in Portland, Oregon, or Birmingham, Alabama.

American University Washington Semester

Many Political Science majors at The College of Wooster choose to gain hands-on experience through a professional internship in Washington D.C. This program offers a unique opportunity to cultivate your career goals. The program offers a wide variety of internship opportunities to fit almost any interest. Indeed, there are over 2,000 different internships to choose from. Students intern for two days a week on the days that they do not attend their seminar classes. Every student who participates in the Washington Semester program is guaranteed an internship, and many will receive multiple offers.

This program is a one-semester program in Washington, D.C., in either the fall or spring, for juniors in good academic standing. The Washington Semester program features a full semester of transferable credit, including: a two-course seminar featuring weekly sessions with public and private sector decision-makers; a one-course internship in an agency or organization of the student's choice; and a research project utilizing the resources of the nation's capital. For more information on the Washington Semester students can contact Professor Eric Moskowitz at The College of Wooster.

Drew University United Nations Semester

Students at The College of Wooster with an interest in international organizations might want to consider this semester in New York on the United Nations. The program consists of two parts: the seminar, which provides an overview of the activities of the U.N. and helps to evaluate the effectiveness of this organization, and the independent research project, which allows for in-depth exploration of a topic of interest. Participants also have the option of working as an intern in an organization related to the U.N. or involved in other aspects of international affairs. Over the course of the program students will spend time with guest speakers who address the issues currently facing the U.N., participate in question and answer sessions with the speakers, as well as engage in a simulation mirroring the training developed for incoming civil servants at the U.N. This program offers students a rare chance to engage in the realities of international relations through first-hand experiences.

This unique program runs every fall semester and is open to juniors with a strong academic record. Students must also have completed an introductory course in international relations, foreign policy, or international organizations. Please contact Professor Jeffrey Lantis at Wooster for more information or contact Drew University's off-campus study program office.

Urban Semester Internships

The urban semester is the core of Wooster's Urban Studies major program. Urban semester internships may be arranged in Portland, Oregon, or Birmingham, Alabama. Students experience life in the city for the semester, work 32 hours a week in their internship (two credits), and participate in the seminar (one credit). Students may also choose to enroll in an Urban Studies reading course for an additional credit. They experience first-hand the problems of life in a city and the rigors of a full-time job. Wooster students are eligible for the program if they have completed Urban Studies 101 or are Urban Studies majors. Students' performance is evaluated by the internship supervisor and the faculty advisor to the program. For further information, contact the chair of the Urban Studies Program at The College of Wooster.

Helpful Hints

Wooster faculty members have developed some helpful hints for students considering internship program options, such as:

  • The best internship programs are well organized and closely affiliated with accredited educational institutions. Internships can be valuable as you look ahead to the political science job search process. Internships provide an avenue to address the dilemma of many first-time job seekers: they want to obtain working experience but employers are reluctant to hire them without experience.
  • Many Wooster students complete internships to gain valuable experience, whether paid or unpaid, for academic credit or not. Students develop greater knowledge of a career field and they gain valuable experience in a professional environment.
  • Internships promote the development of personal networks that may yield job ideas and even career opportunities in the future.

References

Frantzich, Stephen E. 2002. Studying in Washington: A Guide to Academic Internships in the Nation's Capital, Fifth Edition. American Political Science Association: Washington, DC.