After your first semester, but before your last. If you are doing the Thesis track, then before your last two semesters. That way you're positioned to take advantage of your new skills and contacts. Many students use the internship to launch their first professional job. However, if you have the requisite hours and need or want to do an internship earlier, it's perfectly okay.
Keep your grades up and learn as much as possible about the political process. If you're interested in working in a particular office or agency, learn everything you can about it. Even if you can't give many hours, volunteer with any organization you're interested in. Stay informed about politics and public policy. Research career tracks. Begin to develop a professional resume.
Yes, you need to be an MA Political Science in our department to receive credit. Most departments at Texas State have an internship course, so you should register in your major. If you have a major that does not provide an internship component and want to do a political science internship as an elective, please talk to the MA political science director.
Interns must complete a research project, a journal, and a synposis of the internship. Attendance at 2 class meetings is also required. The first occurs around mid-term. During this meeting, interns meet each other, discuss job responsibilities, and receive research project information. The second meeting is held right before finals. Interns do a presentation on their internship, discuss their experiences, and hand in written projects.
No. The political science internship requires students to do a certain amount of substantive work. Working as a messenger is a great experience and provides many contacts, however, it does not include enough substantive work. Students who work as messengers often have a good understanding of how the Capitol works, so if you're thinking about preparing for a for-credit internship, working as a messenger is a good way to start. An added bonus--it's a paid position!
An internship provides an introduction to a professional position. It represents a transition form school to professional work. On-site supervisors know that you're there to learn and will help you. Usually interns start with simple tasks and move on to more complex responsibilities. Employers don't expect professional experience; they want responsible individuals who are willing to learn.
Take a look at the links on on the main internship page - the toolkit and link board should help you narrow down options. Our TRACS site also regularly posts internship opportunities. If you need more assistance, don't hesitate to contact the MA program director.
Unfortunately not. Most interns placed through the University are unpaid. If you must have a paid internship, you may need to do some advance research/work on your own. Try to plan ahead for your internship semester.
Absolutely. Just make sure you talk to the coordinator during the previous semester. A Washington internship provides a unique opportunity to gain political experience, and many are available. Texas State alumni holding federal positions are willing to mentor a current student. Finding housing takes some planning, but isn't impossible or unaffordable. Texas State students have interned in the U.S. Congress, Washington think tanks, and the CIA.
Yes. The offices and agencies know you are in school. It helps to schedule classes in blocks, i.e. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings or a similar Tuesday/Thursday schedule. That way you spend more consecutive hours at the agency and less time driving. Do not take more than 9 hours total. An internship semester is usually a very busy one.
You may do two internships for credit, however, they must be substantially different. For example, if you worked in the Texas House of Representatives for your first internship, you must work somewhere else (i.e. attorney general's office, interest group) during your second internship.
Get a current resume to Dr. Castillo. Attach a letter to the resume indicating your internship interests. Please indicate if you have any partisan, ideological, or policy preferences. An internship is more fun if you work in an environment you feel comfortable in. Every effort is made to find a productive work environment for supervisors and students. If you're approved for the course, you'll be cleared to register. Remember, you must sign up for the class and pay tuition if you wish to receive course credit. You alone are responsible for registering--neither the Department or the Director will physically register you.