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Frequently Asked Questions

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When is the best time in my college career to do an internship?

The last semester of your senior year is probably best. 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. Some students may do internships before they graduate because they want to intern during the Texas legislature's biennial session, which occurs in the spring of every odd-numbered year.

How should I prepare to do an internship?

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.

Do I have to be a political science major or minor to do an internship?

Yes, you need to be a major or minor 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 political science internship coordinator.

I'm getting a bachelor's degree in public administration, and an internship course is required. How do I proceed?

For the most part, the same rules that apply to political science majors apply to you. You need the instructor's clearance to register for an internship course, so, like political science majors, you must visit with the  coordinator and submit a resume prior to registration. However, unlike political science majors, your internship is required for your degree.

How many hours a week do I have to work to receive course credit for an internship?

For the Undergraduate Internship (POSI 4350), 150 hours must be completed for the semester. Undergraduate students interested in 6 hours of credit (POSI 4680) must complete 300 hours within the semester.

For the Graduate Internship (PS 5389), 280 hours must be completed for the semester. This course can be taken up to two times for credit.

Does POSI 4380, 4680 include any other requirements besides hours on site?

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.

Will Texas State place me in an internship if I do not want to do it for course credit?

Students who have registered and paid for the course have absolute first priority. However, if there are unfilled positions after all registered interns are placed, interested students are welcome to pursue these opportunities.

How many hours in political science do I need to qualify for an internship?

A minimum of 12. You'll be better prepared if you've taken several upper-division courses.

Can I get credit for a political science internship if I work as a runner for a law firm?

No. Our internships are targeted toward political and public service positions. If you are interested in pursuing our legal studies program, contact the director at 512-245-2143.

Can I get credit for a political science internship if I work as a messenger at the Texas State Capitol?

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!

The only jobs I've ever had are in retail and fast food. How can I possibly get a good internship?

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.

I don't have any professional or political contacts. Will Texas State be able to place me?

Yes, the coordinator will place you. The more information you provide about yourself, the easier this is to do. Students are matched as closely as possible with their preferences. However, it's best to intern in an office where they need you, even if it isn't exactly where you wanted to go at first.

Do student interns typically get paid?

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.

Are any internships available in San Marcos?

Yes, but most are in Austin. Most San Marcos internships are in local government.

I'd like to intern out-of-town, maybe in Washington, D.C. Is that possible?

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.

I want to do an international internship. Can I receive course credit for interning abroad?

Yes, but most international internships require much advance planning. Political science and public administration majors should apply through the Political Science office. International studies majors and minors should apply through International Studies. Others should check with their major departments. For more information about international possibilities, see the links page.

I'm a graduate student. Is it possible for me to do an internship for credit?

Yes. Just follow the same procedure as undergraduate students. The course numbers will be different, but the requirements are similar. Part and full time graduate internships are available.

I did an internship on my own last semester, but am not doing one now. Can I receive retroactive credit?

No. In order to receive internship credit, you must do the internship during the semester in which you sign up and pay for the course.

What will I need at my initial interview?

A current resume and a short writing sample. Dress professionally and be familiar with your class schedule so you can schedule work hours if the office decides to hire you.

I'm taking other classes during my internship semester. Will the office work with my schedule?

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 15 hours total. An internship semester is usually a very busy one.

Can I keep working at my internship after the course is over?

Of course! Once your coursework is done, any arrangements between you and your employer are your business. Many of our students have been promoted to become paid employees.

I loved my internship and want to do another. Is it possible to do more than one internship for credit?

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.

How do I get started?

Get a current resume to Professor Mora if you are a public administration major and to Dr. Castillo if you are a political science major. Attach a letter to the resume indicating your internship interests. Please indicate if you have any partisan, ideological, or policy preferences. An internship is lots 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 Coordinator will physically register you.