If you're thinking about completing an internship, see the list of internship opportunities and read the Q&As below for important information and instructions for how to proceed. If you are interested in hosting an internship, please read all about how that works here. Click here for information about the 2016 Tennessee Legislative Internship Program.
Why should I consider completing an internship?
Internships are a great way to learn about political science, public administration, public policy, and nonprofit administration by working in a hands-on, real life setting. You get great contacts that often lead to employment and super references, and you get up to 6 hours of academic credit that count toward your degree. Pre-service MPA students are required to complete an internship. Consult with the MPA program director if you're not sure if this applies to you or not.
Am I eligible to complete an internship?Different internships have different eligibility criteria. All undergraduate internships require a minimum 2.75 GPA, minimum 60 hours earned credit, and my approval. Some internship sites have higher GPA requirements. Graduate internships require good standing in the MPA program and approval of the MPA program coordinator.
How do I find internship opportunities?There are four routes to finding an internship. 1) You apply for an existing internship opportunity on the ever growing list here. 2) You hunt down existing internship opportunities that I don't already know about and we check it out together to determine whether it would be appropriate for academic credit. 3) This is kind of a corollary to #2—You visit the Career and Student Employment Center and work with them to find an internship opportunity. 4) We work together to convince a government agency or nonprofit organization to host an internship even if they don't have an existing internship program. This takes a lot of lead time and isn't always a great idea, but sometimes it works out.
Once I find an internship I'm interested in, how do I get it?Most internship programs have a competitive applications process, much like applying for a job. Application processes vary, but you'll probably need, at a minimum, a resume and reference letters. You are responsible for finding out about application requirements and meeting application deadlines. (You can check with me first about internships listed on this site.) You must be accepted by the host agency and approved by me before the beginning of the semester. (If you're afraid you'll miss that deadline, talk to me about it.)
Do interns get paid?Some interns are paid by the host agency, others are not. The state legislative internship program pays quite well, and many others don't pay at all. Sometimes, the department has other funding available through grants, contracts, and gifts.
How much time do internships require?Interns work 50 hours for every hour of academic credit. Typically, interns work 150 hours for 3 credit hours or 300 hours for 6 credit hours.
What else do interns have to do to get academic credit?Students register for internships just as they would for any other class, and they write two papers (one big, one little) and participate in an online discussion forum in addition to their on site work to receive academic credit. Course policies and requirements are explained in the course syllabi:
POLS 4610 Political Science Internship syllabus
POLS 5610 MPA Internship syllabus
Note that these syllabi are provided as examples only; the course requirements may change based on the nature of the student's internship.
Can I complete an internship over more than one semester?This is possible, but you may only accrue hours for academic credit while you're actively registered for the internship. If you're working during breaks or when you're otherwise not registered for the internship course, you're a volunteer in the eyes of UTC, not an intern.
What about internships for students in the PANM concentration or outside of the U.S.?I supervise internships only for non-PANM Political Science undergraduates and MPA students. Students in the PANM concentration should contact Dr. Khmelko for information about internship opportunities. Dr. Auchter maintains a list of international internship opportunities here, and we can coordinate with her if you're interested in academic credit for one of those opportunities.
I've read the Q&A, and I'm definitely interested in an internship—what next?Great! Contact me as soon as possible. If you're interested in a fall semester internship, you need to contact me by the middle of the prior spring semester. (I might disappear during the summer!) If you're interested in a spring internship, you need to contact me by the middle of the prior fall semester. Be aware that some internship programs have their own application deadlines that must be met, and all internships must be secured before the beginning of the semester. We'll talk about it and, if you're approved, fill out the form that allows you to register for the course.