Why do an internship? There are several good reasons.

  1. Employers prefer to hire people with experience, especially professional experience. 
  2. An internship can give a student a "foot in the door" or a good reference when it comes to getting a job after graduation. 
  3. An internship gives a student a taste of what career-related work is really like.

Students who are Political Science Majors or Minors can seek academic course credit for serving in an approved internship. Students can always opt to utilize an internship as a resume-builder, without seeking course credit for that internship. However, seeking course credit allows a student to complete degree requirements while gaining on-the-job training at the same time – double the benefit! Mature students (generally but not exclusively juniors and seniors) will have the opportunity to apply for course credit for internship work in public, non-profit and (occasionally) private sector agencies. All political science course-credit internships are approved at the discretion of the program’s internship coordinator and individual internship advisors.

POLITICAL SCIENCE INTERNSHIPS

As part of our independent study program, the UofSC Aiken Political Science Division offers students the opportunity to add some practical experience for course credit to the time spent in the classroom.

Our students work in a variety of settings, including political campaigns, congressional offices, city and county government, international NGO’s, and private law offices. Internships for course credit are approved and managed to target the particular academic and career interests of the student. Due to the COVID pandemic and the growing popularity of distance- based internships, remote internships may also qualify if under the supervision of an authorized lead.

Some examples of recent internships are:

  • Office of U.S. Senator Tim Scott
  • Office of U.S. House Rep. James E. Clyburn
  • Office of U.S. House Rep. “Joe” Wilson
  • Office of U.S. House Rep. Rick W. Allen
  • City of Aiken City Manager’s Office
  • City of Aiken Solicitor’s Office
  • City of Aiken Parks and Recreation Division
  • Democratic and Republican political campaigns
  • Party organization positions
  • Private law firms
  • South Carolina Conservation Voters and other advocacy/public interest groups

Other internship opportunities are available. Many agencies want to attract high-performing interns.

Course Credit and Requirements

Students may register for three hours of independent study credit (APLS 399) to count toward the Political Science major or minor. Additional hours of APLS 399 may be approved for non-degree elective credit. Normally, a student will register for three hours of internship credit in any given semester, with exceptions made on a case by case basis. Interns are expected to work a minimum of three hours per week during the semester for each hour of credit received. For example, for three independent study credit hours, a student would be expected to work nine hours per week at the agency. Interns must also communicate with the internship advisor on a regular basis as established by the advisor and it is highly recommended that they keep a journal/log. The internship advisor will assign supplemental academic texts to read in connection with other written assignments. Students receive a syllabus with listed course requirements to receive academic credit, and the internship advisor has sole authority to assign a grade. All internships need a designated work-place supervisor as a contact for follow-up.

Students should treat their internships as they would a job, dressing appropriately for a professional setting, arriving at work on time, and contacting the supervisor if there is a need to be absent. Students who fail to meet these requirements may be removed from the internship by the work-place supervisor, which could result in a failing grade for APSL 399. For more information about the Political Science Internship Program, contact:

Dr. Sarah Young, Political Science Program Internship Coordinator
Office location: H&SS C-5
Phone number: 803-641-3227
Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The program internship coordinator is available to answer early questions about the requirements for course credit with interested students. Based on students’ particular area of interest, they will then be assigned to a “specialist” internship advisor, who will be the main person working with them. The assigned internship advisor will assist the student in pursuing leads to locate an eligible internship and may provide reference letters if applicable, but ultimately it is the student’s responsibility to locate, apply for, and secure their internship opportunity, and provide contact information for the agency/work-place supervisor. To register during any semester, observe the usual university registration deadlines.