Political Science

Guidelines for Political Science 4290: Public Service Internship


The Public Service Internship program is a special course in which a student works for a governmental agency at the national, state or local level in order to directly experience the elements of the public administration process. Some internship experiences with private (non-government) organizations are acceptable if both the organization and the job that the intern is to carry out deals substantially with government agencies or government policies. If you are an International Relations major, you must have prior approval from Dr. Karen Petersen.

Requirements for Admission

  1. Junior or Senior year standing
  2. Minimum 2.5 grade point average, overall
  3. Completed application
  4. Conference with Internship Director in advance of registration
  5. Acceptance by approved agency

Academic Credit

In most circumstances, no more than six credits may be earned from Political Science 4290 - Public Service Internship. Certain exceptions to this rule exist, such as those interns who work full time for an entire semester for the Tennessee state legislature or for a governmental agency in Washington, D.C. Up to six credits may be applied to the Political Science major and up to three credits may be applied to the Political Science minor. Any hours beyond those applicable toward the major or minor are counted as electives. Every three credits requires at least 120 contact hours at the agency or organization. All credits are pass / fail. Under no circumstances will more than three credits be awarded for participation in an internship which is the intern's regular job.

Course Requirements

This internship has four required parts:

1. Internship Goals and Responsibilities Essay. Due the first week of your internship. During the first week of the internship, students will draft a two to three page essay explaining the responsibilities they will have in their placement, and their goals and expectations for the internship. This essay should address academic goals—what the student hopes to learn about politics and government and law, and its relation to course work completed. The essay should also address professional goals—what the student hopes to learn in terms of behaviors and practices in a professional setting.

2. Weekly Journal of your experiences. Each week or more often you must add a minimum 150 word post to your Online Journal here in the Discussion section. Students will maintain a weekly journal where they will discuss their work product, events, experiences, and impressions. The D2L date stamp assures that everyone posts at least once a week.

3. Final Internship Paper. This is an evaluation of your internship experiences. Reflect on your internship experience. Did you achieve the goals you originally set out? Were there unexpected benefits of the experience, or unexpected problems that needed to be worked out? What did you do in this internship--the job, the duties, the tasks, the events, and was it worthwhile? Discuss the good parts of the job--what you liked, what you learned, why it was a good experience. Discuss the bad parts of the job--what you didn't like doing, what you didn't feel was helpful, the annoying and petty things that drove you nuts. Would you recommend this internship to others--why or why not? What did you get out of the whole experience? Was it worthwhile? Remember--the papers are for my eyes only and will never be seen by the internship supervisors. I am looking for candid thoughts on what you did and learned. Papers must be typed, double spaced, and uploaded to the Dropbox on or before the due date. As a rule, it should be at least 5 pages.

4. Supervisor evaluation form. Your supervisor must either email me the filled out form from their work email or snail mail it to me so that it arrives BEFORE the deadline for the Final Internship paper. YOU are responsible for making sure the form gets to me in time. You will get an INCOMPLETE if all four parts are not submitted on time.