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Undergraduate Internship Information

Emily Ray, professor of political science

The Department of Political Science offers several programs through which students may gain practical experience while earning academic credit. A political science internship involves working in the office of a public official, nonprofit or other organization, or election campaign. Prior interns have served in responsible positions with state assembly members, state senators, and members of Congress, and in a number of campaigns for local, state, and national office. The comparable program in public administration places students in positions, often paid, with local government offices and agencies where they may be involved with city planning and zoning issues, public relations efforts, special research topics, or budget preparation, to mention several possibilities. In addition, the department regularly sends selected students to the state capitol to participate in the Sacramento Semester Program where they work with members of the Legislature, officers of the executive branch, or lobbyists to gain a fuller understanding of the political process firsthand.

To enroll in your internship, you must do the following:

  1. Meet with the political science undergraduate internship coordinator and secure an approved internship placement. This must be done no later than the second week of the semester in which you hope to enroll for an internship.
  2. Complete a copy of SSU’s internship contract. After your on-site supervisor signs the contract, you should return it to the political science undergraduate internship coordinator. The internship coordinator and political science department staff will get the final signatures and work to register your internship.

Internship FAQs

An internship formally integrates the student’s academic study with practical experience in a cooperating organization. It is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning, business, non-profit, or government setting.

Yes, you must be registered at SSU in the semester you complete an internship for units.

You must work 45 hours per semester for each unit, or about 3 hours per week.  So for example if you register for a 4-unit internship, you must work 180 hours during the semester.

You will set up specific responsibilities with your onsite supervisor.  You are also required to meet with your professor throughout the semester and write a paper relating the internship to the political science discipline.  Additional work such as a journal may be assigned.

Internships are graded on a credit/no credit basis.  No incompletes will be assigned.

At the end of the semester you are required to turn in a letter from your onsite supervisor certifying that you have satisfactorily completed the hours and work agreed to in your internship agreement.

Yes.  And you do not have to petition for a waiver of university regulations for the excess units.

A maximum of 6 units of internship and special studies units may be counted toward the major. 

Students set up their own internships with a community partner.

No.  The agency and internship must have some relationship to government, politics and/or the law.

You use a different process to register for an internship than you would for other classes.   All internships must be approved the department internship coordinator.  Your first step is to contact the internship coordinator to make sure your internship is appropriate for political science department credit.  Next, get a copy of the internship agreement form and take it to your onsite supervisor to fill out and sign.  Then take the form to the internship coordinator for their approval and signature.  Once that is done, give the form to the Political Science Department staff that will take it from there. 

It is the student’s responsibility to find an internship.  Check this page for any current internship opportunities or reach out to the political science internship coordinator for help with ideas. 

Other possibilities include: 

The County of Sonoma

The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County

Sonoma State’s JUMP Program

Sonoma State’s Career Services Office