Within & beyond the classroom, we are dedicated to helping students explore career fields while developing skills relevant in the workplace.

Experiential Learning

Our courses require students to deal with real-life societal problems that involve a wide array of stakeholders with relevance for public-sector, nonprofit, and private-sector concerns. The exploration of these topics provide skill-building opportunities:

  • extensive analytical writing & research into varied public problems
  • examination of issues from local, regional, national, & global perspectives
  • policy briefs, issue debates, and policymaking simulations
  • team-based discussions of problem identification and of potential solutions
  • field projects involving governmental & nonprofit agencies

Beyond classroom-based courses, departmental students have other opportunities for skill development & career exploration:

  • POSC 498 (Research in Political Science) permits undergraduates to develop research skills by working with faculty members.
  • POSC 499 (Senior Honors Projects) enables Honors College students to conduct a three-semester research project on a topic of interest to them.
  • Our academic internship program permits students in all of undergraduate & graduate programs to work for relevant public & nonprofit organizations while earning credit toward their JMU degrees.
  • JMU's Washington Semester program gives students a chance to conduct a full-time, semester-long internship while also networking with an array of public & international affairs professionals.
  • Varied off-campus teams deal with contemporary public affairs issues while interacting with practitioners, researchers, & students from other colleges & universities.
    • Examples include the Moot Court Team, Model United Nations, Model African Union, and Model European Union
  • Departmental faculty also lead several study-abroad programs that permit students to study global issues beyond the borders of the United States
Career Development Events

The department & its Alumni Board co-sponsor three annual career workshops – two on campus, the other in Washington, DC. These put students in direct contact with alumni working in fields related to our majors: policymaking, campaign politics, law, the non-profit sector, international NGOs, lobbying, intelligence, government contracting, as well as for state, local and federal agencies.

Beyond these on-campus events, each year in Richmond & in Washington dinner and lunch events are designed to enable networking among alumni and also with current students.

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