department menu

Internship Strategies

How do you find your ideal internship?

Determine Your Internship Goals

Before you can even start thinking about finding an internship, you need to spend time reflecting on your goals for obtaining an internship. Consider these questions:
  • What are your specific career interests? An internship is a great tool to help you define your career goals. For example, if you're a PSCI Global Concentration major, you might consider an internship with an agency that has a political refugee resettlement. On the other hand, an internship can help further refine your career goals. For example, if you're not sure if you're interested in working with a public agency, an internship might help you decide what career path is best for you.
  • Why do you want an internship and what do you hope to gain from it? There are multiple reasons for obtaining an internship, including answering the question above. Other possible reasons include learning new skills, gaining networking connections, adding work experience to your résumé, and as an entry point thatyou hope leads to a full-time Position with the employer when you graduate. Internships also offer flexibility since you and your site supervisor determine your work schedule. 
  • What type of organization are you interested in? Organizations come in all sizes and shapes, from public agencies to not-for-profit organizations. What are you looking for? Issues to consider include size, ownership, mission/objective, etc. 
  • Where do you want to have your internship? If your internship is during the regular semester, you might need an internship close to campus, but during the summer months you may wish to have an internship out-of-state where you hopeto land a full-time position when you graduate or just to experience a place in which you have never lived before.
  • Are internships paid? It would be great if all internships paid, but in reality most are not. So, you need to decide whether you can afford to not get paid during yourinternship.

Prepare/Polish Your Job Search Skills

As internships become more and more competitive, it becomes even more important for you to have a strong set of job-search skills from the below list.
  • Cover letter writing
  • Résumé  preparation
  • Interviewing strategies

Do I get credit/grade for the internship?

The first 3-unit internship requires you to invest approximately 105 hours at the internship site + 15 hours of assignments over the course of the semester. Internships are credit/no credit and will satisfy one upper-division elective in CP, IP, or USGP, depending on the agency and content of your work. Additional credits earned beyond the first 3 units require hours per unit invested in the internship experience.