The Department of Political Science offers credit for internships for undergraduate and graduate students. In the past, political science students from the University of Montana have served as interns for elected officials and in a variety of federal, state, and local agencies. The internships include Presidential Interns in the White House, various government agencies, and Congress. During election years, many of our students work as interns on political campaigns. Legislative internships during the Montana State Legislature's sessions have been popular for many years.
Students are responsible for arranging their internships. Typically, students contact the organization where they plan to be an intern and make the arrangements with a member of the faculty to receive credit. The Department of Political Science awards credit only for political-related work, such as working on a campaign, lobbying activities, or working in a government office. Students must complete the appropriate paperwork with Academic Enrichment and then have the completed application signed by a faculty member of the Department of Political Science. Details about other requirements for the internship, such as keeping a journal or writing a paper, must be arranged with the faculty member.
Undergraduates must complete a Learning Agreement (available from Academic Enrichment located in the Davidson Honors College, Room 002) and a Course Override form. After the faculty member has signed the documents, students may register for PSCI 498 for the amount of credit hours agreed upon with the faculty member. The maximum amount of credit allowed for an internship (PSCI 498 or PSCI 598) is six credit hours. Graduate students must complete the Learning Agreement, a Course Override form, and register for PSCI 598. All internships in the Department of Political Science use the credit/no credit grading system (formally called the pass/fail grading system). Although all credit hours generally count toward the required 120 hours* needed for graduation, only a total of 7 hours of combined internship (PSCI 498) and independent study (PSCI 492) may be applied to the requirements for the political science degree. A similar rule applies to graduate students in the M.A. program; only a combined total of 7 hours of internship (PSCI 598) and independent study (PSCI 596) may be applied to the requirements for the M.A. degree. For more information about the M.A. degree, see Graduate Program in Political Science.
Internships can provide life-changing experiences and supplement classroom learning. Assuming that a suitable internship can be arranged, the Political Science Department offers one semester credit for each 60 hours of work. The following is a brief list of places to look for internship opportunities.
- Academic Enrichment is located in the Davidson Honor College, Room 002. This office maintains lists of organizations seeking student interns. It is especially useful when the state legislature is in session.
- Montana’s Members of Congress often rely on student interns. Students should make inquiries through the local field offices, or by contacting them directly (United States Senate or United States House of Representatives).
- Project Vote Smart is located in Phillipsburg Montana. Project Vote Smart interns help compile information on candidates for office, including biographical information, issue positions, voting records, campaign finance, and interest group ratings.
- Washington Internship Institute is a nonprofit organization that helps place students in internships with a variety of agencies and organizations in Washington D.C.
- Groovejob is a site that lists a few organizations in Montana and elsewhere seeking interns or volunteers.
- The Washington Center is a pricey but valuable program combining academic coursework with internship experiences in Washington DC.
* Undergraduates can have a maximum of 18 credit/no credit hours (called pass/fail hours in the past) count toward the 120 hours needed for graduation.
The maximum amount of credit allowed for an internship (PSCI 498 or PSCI 598) is six credit hours. Also, only six credits of internship can be used toward graduation.