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The Department of Political Science encourages all of its majors to consider an internship.
One popular internship opportunity for Political Science majors is Pitt's Institute of Politics. This program offers a 4-credit, letter-graded course that integrates internship and seminar components (PS 1910). Students are placed with local, state, and federal elected officials in the Pittsburgh area, earning two credits for their work in the official’s local office and two credits for a concurrent weekly seminar. Students must apply in person at the Institute (710 Alumni Hall); participation is awarded on a competitive basis. Political Science majors may count this course as their major elective.(No other internships can count toward the major.)
Students may also arrange internships themselves. As soon as students find and secure an internship, they should coordinate with the Department about how to register that internship in order to earn academic credit (PS 1900). Internships cannot be completed for credit if they are not registered by an academic advisor in the Political Science department before the internship begins and before the add/drop deadline for the semester. Typically, students enrolled in PS 1900 earn 3 units of non-graded (S/NC) credit for 10-12 hours per week of work. To receive the academic credit, students must submit a written assignment that is coordinated with an academic advisor (a reflective journal OR portfolio of work completed on-site AND a 15-20 page research paper). More (or less) credit can be earned, based on the time spent on-site and the volume of written work submitted. Enrollment requires advisor's permission and the completion of an internship contract. Contact a Department academic advisor for more information on this process. If you are interested in doing an internship, please contact an academic advisor as soon as possible. Some of the registration paperwork must be completed by your supervisor at the internship site, so it is best to get this process started in advance of the deadline.
Numerous internships in the government, non-government, and private sectors can qualify for experience in Political Science, as long as they have some political component. Please discuss any potential opportunities with your PS advisor to see if they would count.
Starting in fall 2016, the Political Science department is recruiting interested undergraduate students to work as undergraduate research assistants for Political Science faculty members. This is a great opportunity to get a first-hand, up-close look at the research process while working with close collaboration with a faculty member. Undergraduate research assistants work either 5 hours per week for 1 credit hour (S/NC) or 10 hours per week for 2 credit hours (S/NC). Weekly tasks vary by research project, but may include data collection, analysis, literature reviews, editing, etc.
Service learning combines public service with academic study in a way that enhances both experiences. Students interested in service learning might consider external service learning opportunities to enhance their degree experiences. The Political Science Department has found that opportunities with the following programs have been especially useful for our majors.
Amizade serves as a central information source for a variety of service learning opportunities in various locations. It focuses on connecting volunteers with local organizations in nine different countries on four different continents,promoting service learning tasks that also provide real assistance to populations in need.
Humanity in Action sponsors a summer fellowship program that focuses on democracy and tolerance, and includes sites in New York, Amsterdam,Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris, and Warsaw. This five-week summer program brings together students from the United States and Europe to pursue cooperative learning and rigorous interdisciplinary inquiry into human rights, diversity, and minority issues.
For many students, the study of Political Science can be enriched by learning experiences in other countries. The Department of Political Science encourages our students to consider adding a study abroad component to their undergraduate experience. For more information on the various study abroad programs that are available to Pitt students, consult the study abroad office.
One particular program of note for Political Science majors is PittMAP (Pitt Multi-region Academic Program). This semester-long opportunity includes travel to a number of different countries, and routinely includes faculty from the University of Pittsburgh Political Science Department as instructors. PittMAP combines study abroad experiences with rigorous, hands-on coursework led by Pitt instructors who travel with the students. For more information, students should contact the study abroad office.
Political Science majors can be eligible to join Pi Sigma Alpha, the national Political Science honors society (Xi chapter).