Points of contact for internship classes in the Department of Political Science:

What are the requirements of the internship Classes?

Each of the 4-credit undergraduate internship classes share the following requirements:

  • Committing 200 hours of time to an internship host organization and supervisor;
  • Attending a 45 to 60 minute weekly virtual discussion section with your professor and fellow internship students;
  • Completing course assignments (see below); and, 
  • Fulfilling various reporting and evaluation logistics. 

What types of internships qualify for which undergraduate internship classes? 

There are four internship classes offered for undergraduate students. Click on the links to review pre-requisites fro enrollment. 

  • POSC 493 Internship in Political Communication (4 credits): Provides students with communication experiences in policymaking, campaigning, media, legislative politics, and lobbying.
  • PPA 494 Internship in Public Policy (4 credits): Provides students with opportunities for experiential learning in organizations engaged with public policy formulation & analysis.  
  • POSC 495 Internship in Political Science (4 credits): Provides students with experiential learning related to legislative work, policy-making, campaign, constituency, interest group, and/or the judiciary. 
  • PPA 496 Internship in Public Management (4 credits): Provides students with opportunities for experiential learning in either a governmental, nonprofit or other public service application.  

Please note the focus of each course description as they shape what internships are 'acceptable' for the class. For example, an internship with an elected official or political campaign is acceptable for POSC 493 and POSC 495, but not PPA 496.

Also, in general, internships with private companies do not qualify, except in specific situations relevant to the class description. When in doubt, set up a meeting with the approriate intership class contact and ask. Don't work to obtain an internship and then find out that it won't count for the class you need to take.

How do I register for and complete an internship class? 

Follow these steps to enroll in and complete an internship class for any academic term (fall, spring, summer). Note that these classes are 'override only'. You will not be able to directly enroll in the class yourself. 

  1. Find internship options (see below for tips and links) appropriate for the class you need to take. Be sure to check the eligibility of your options with the Internship Coordinator. 
  2. Secure and commit to the best internship option. 
  3. Complete the Please contact Dr. Edward Yang for access to the Internship Class form. Dr. Edward Yang, email yangyx@jmu.edu
  4. Receive a 'permission to enroll' email from Department Office, head to MyMadison, and enroll in the class. 
  5. Communicate with the faculty instructor to sign up for a weekly virtual discussion section. 
  6. Please contact Dr. Edward Yang, yangxy@jmu.edu for access to the Internship Memorandum. 
  7. Complete your internship hours and attend your discussion section. 
  8. Schedule your mid-internship 'site visit' meeting with you, your internship supervisor, and your faculty instructor. 
  9. Complete your course assignments and fulfill logistics. 
  10. Complete your online evaluation of your internship experience. 
  11. Your supervisor completes their evaluation of you. 
  12. Your faculty instructor calculates and records your grade. 

How will my grade be calculated for POSC 493, POSC 495, PPA 493, and PPA 496

Internship Supervisor Evaluation (30%): Your supervisor will evaluate your work performance based upon the tasks you completed and their quality as well as the level of professionalism with which you carried yourself. 

Research Report or Competency Portfolio (25-30%): In conjuction with your faculty instructor, you will design and complete either an original research report on a topic of relevance to your internship or a competency portfolio that shows, with evidence, the story of your learning and development. Your faculty instructor will work with you to decide which of these two options you will pursue and will provide detailed instructions.   

Career Report (25-30%): Your career report will describe critical connections between your internship and your major or minor. It also provides a platform for reflection regarding how the internship class will inform your short and long-term career plans. 

Daily Log, Weekly Check-Ins, Evaluations (15-20%): To ensure a consistent learning experience, you will engage in a series of logistics that tie your work experience to your JMU academic work. First, you will log your hours and tasks in a format that you can easily share with your faculty advisor each week. Second, you will attend a weekly virtual discussion section wtih others enrolled in internship classes to dig deeper into your experiences. Part of this reflection will include a site visit, either in-person or virtual, where you, your internship supervisor, and your faculty advisor will sit down and discuss your progress. Finally, you will complete an evaluation of your internship experience. 

How do I go about finding an appropriate internship? 

THere are many approaches to securing meaningful, learning based internship experiences appropriate for the internship classes. We strongly recommend that all students sign up for an advising session at the JMU Career Center on finding internships, preparing resumes, and practicing informational interviews. 

In gerneral, your internship search time should be alllocated as follows:

In addition, it is strongly recommended that you meet with the Undergraduate Internship Coordinator during their office hours for one-on-one coaching and advising. 

You may view a partial list of past internship placements here

For internship providers interested in hosting JMU students

Click here for information about hosting JMU students as interns at your organization, https://www.jmu.edu/polisci/interninfo.shtml

Hosting a Department of Political Science student enrolled in one of our internship classes means being a teacher, mentor and opportunity-creator. 

We only apporve those experiences that maximize learning potential for the student while providing useful, quality work products for you and your organization. 

As such, we work with students to build their capacity to assess if they are a good fit for you in addition to you being a good fit for them; our goal is to ensure that the benefits that you receive from your intern outweigh the time you will invest in their personal and professional development. 

Should a match occur between you and one of our students, one of the first tasks for you both is to sit down and walk through our Internship MOU together, discussing expectations before work commences. This MOU serves to prevent miscommunication and to provide a tool against which correct action, if needed, may occur. 

Specifically, the MOU states that the student will: 

  • Report to work on the days and times agreed upon with their supervisor for 200 hours. 
  • Perform all assigned tasks to the best of their ability.
  • Set up and attend a weekly one-on-one check in with their supervisor to ask questions, receive task assignments and feedback. 
  • Meet weekly with their faculty instructor and my classmates during an assigned virtual reflection discussion time. 
  • Arrange for a 'site visit' meeting between themselves, their supervisore, and their faculty advisor at around the 100-hour mark. 
  • Complete the academic assignments connected to this class.

Then, the MOU states that you, the work supervisor, will: 

  • Provide the student intern with practical work experiences that are professionally relevant to the student intern. 
  • Provide the student with work experiences that generate meaningful learning related to the student's major and/or minor. 
  • Meet weekly, on average, with the studnet intern to develop a relationship, provide instructions, create a space for questions, and deliver feedback. 
  • Participate in the 'site visit' meeting arranged by the student intern and including the faculty advisor. 
  • Contact the faculty internship faculty members with any concerns regarding the student intern or unforeseen interruptions of the ability to fulfill the other items of this MOU. 
  • Assist the faculty coordinator in evaluating the student intern's performanace to assign a grade at the end of the internship experience. 

Inquiries concerning the department's undergraduate internships for political science, international affairs, and public administration students (POSC 493, PPA 494, POSC 495, & PPA 496) should be directed to Dr. Edward Yang, interim Undergraduate Internship Coordinator, yangyx@jmu.edu.

Questions regarding the department's graduate internship programs should be directed to the director of the graduate program of interest:

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