Careers and Internships

Typical Careers

As one of the liberal arts, political science enables students to develop skills in communication and problem solving that are useful in a wide variety of careers including those in federal, state and local governments; law; business; international organizations; nonprofit associations and organizations; campaign management and polling; journalism; precollegiate education; electoral politics; research and university and college teaching.

About 30% of our graduates attend law school or graduate school.  Others are found at work in a wide range of professional settings, including the U.S. and Minnesota legislatures, various electoral campaigns, many local governments, and numerous private sector organizations in Minnesota and across the country.

For more information on careers in Political Science, go to the website of the American Political Science Association.

Why an Internship?

Internships are a great way to find out what the “real world” is all about.  The department strongly encourages such experiences and will work closely with you to identify and secure an internship.  If at all possible, internships should be taken for academic credit.

Internships are available in numerous settings throughout the metro area, including the Minnesota state legislature, law and judicial offices, political campaigns, the offices of elected officials, many non-governmental organizations, and numerous public agencies. 

While any sort of internship can be a valuable experience, the department encourages academic internships, that is, an internship that gives you both a professional experience AND academic credit. 

The Academic Side of the Internship

In order to receive academic credit for an internship, you must first contact the department’s internship supervisor, Dr. Steve Hoffman (JRC 403).  You will then register for POLS 497 or POLS 498; this will allow you to use the credit to satisfy the elective course requirement of the major.

A good internship requires that you know beforehand what will be expected of you and what you can expect of the organization.  It also requires you to reflect on what you are doing.  In order to make sure all of this happens, you will asked to complete the following:

• a contract between yourself and the organization.  The contact will specify the name of the supervisor at the internship site, a description of the project or work to be completed by the intern, the ‘deliverables’ you will be responsible for, and target dates for the deliverables;
• a journal describing the type of work you are performing; and
• a research paper that links your experience with a question of academic interest. 

You will meet every few weeks during the semester with other interns to talk about your experiences.  You will also meet with the staff of the Career Center to talk about the next steps in your path towards professional development.