Political Science and International Relations Internships
The Department of Politics and International Relations lists a 4-hour Internship as a requirement for graduation. Students frequently fulfill the internship requirement during the summer, although a limited number of internships during the school year are also possible. A 4-hour internship requires at least 200 hours of work experience.
The internship involves supervised practical work on a full or part-time basis. Political science majors typically work for government officials or departments at the national, state, or local level, political campaigns, think tanks, interest groups, or in legal affairs. International Relations majors typically work for government officials, interest groups, international political or humanitarian organizations, or other similar organization with an international focus.
The purpose of the internship experience is to provide students with opportunities to apply classroom learning to real-world political situations. In addition, internships provide valuable experiences to help students make vocational plans. In some cases the internship provides a bridge to future employment.
- Internships are offered only to political science and international relations majors.
- A student must have completed at least 16 hours of political science or international relations credit.
Students have recently interned for the U.S. State Department, the International Trade Adminstration, Opportunity International, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, , The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, Amnesty International, the American Enterprise Institute, World Relief, World Vision, offices of state and national politicians, law practices and local advocacy organizations. A full listing of recent internship placements is available from the department.
Please see the Departmental Policies and Procedures for the requirements of internships and the process of enrolling.
Many of our majors choose to participate in off-campus programs that complement their other coursework in the major. Department faculty oversee the Wheaton in Washington and Wheaton in Chicago programs.
Offered in May and June of even-numbered years, this program is a month long summer course divided between time spent in concentrated course work on the Wheaton College campus and time spent in the nation's capitol. Students earn six credit hours toward the major. The D.C. experience features visits with journalists, leaders and staff from the Executive Branch and both houses of Congress, various lobbying and special interest groups and on-site observation of the US government at work. The program connects students with a wide range of offices, organizations, and contacts that often lead to internship and job opportunities.
Wheaton in Chicago
Wheaton in Chicago is a semester-long, residential, experiential program of study. During the Wheaton in Chicago semester, students consider the causes and consequences of the urban condition and examine the origins and implications of urban issues through coursework and internships. Drawing heavily from the social sciences, students explore urban politics, policy, and political economy, among other themes. Since the program’s inception, more than 250 students—representing every division and more than 20 majors—have joined Wheaton in Chicago downtown. Wheaton in Chicago prepares students for a lifetime of engagement with the presence and influence of the city in an increasingly urban world while requiring that they do so in a way that integrates a faithful Christian worldview.
Students live in apartments located in Uptown—one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods—along Chicago’s north lakefront. Renovated to Wheaton College specifications for student life and instruction, the building and its location permit robust instructional and experiential opportunities. The program promotes the integration between faith and learning through a curriculum that combines urban theory and experience with Bible and theology, bringing together an analysis of the city with a Christian social ethic to form a critical cognitive framework.
Students register for three required courses, Chicago II: Contemporary Issues and Controversies, Theologies of Transformation: Public and Political Theologies in Urban Context, and a two- to eight-hour internship. Students also register for Community Based Research or Race, Poverty, and Reconciliation. Courses are taught by both Wheaton faculty and practitioners from the city, while drawing on a rich array of guest speakers. Students must also have completed 16 credit hours within their major in order to receive major credit for their internship.
Click here for more information on Wheaton in Chicago.
In addition to the Wheaton programs mentioned above, two semester-long programs in Washington, D.C. allow for credit transfer back to Wheaton with relative ease. While in DC, students complete an internship supervised by faculty of the chosen program which fulfills the department internship requirement. Most students participate in these programs during their junior year.
The Washington Semester Program
This program, sponsored by American University, is a cooperative intercollegiate honors program of seminars, internships and research on governmental operations. Because it is based in Washington, D.C., students have access to a multitude of experiences which provide for a dynamic educational experience in American government and foreign policy. Well-qualified students are chosen by each of the more than 100 participating colleges to spend a semester in Washington. Students may concentrate their studies in one of several areas: American politics, international law and organizations, justice and law, Islam and world affairs, international environment and development, foreign policy, journalism, or peace and conflict resolution. Studenst typically earn 8 hours of credit toward the major—four hours of internship and four hours of upper-division elective credit. The program is offered in both the fall and spring semesters. Additional information on this program can be obtained in the Political Science Department.
Best Semester American Studies Program
This program is offered by the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities every fall and spring semester. About 30 students from Christian colleges across the country participate in the program and live together in housing located on Capitol Hill. Like the American University program, the Coalition program seeks to combine internship experiences with lecture/discussion topics. As a general rule, students work in their internships three days a week and meet two days a week for presentations and discussion. Students choose between two tracks of courses that complement their internships, the public policy track that includes a Policy Analysis and Advocacy seminar and public policy research project or the global development track that includes an Entrepreneurship and Human Development seminar and a global development partnership exercise.Participants receive a full semester of credit. Students normally receive 8 hours of credit toward the major--4 hours of internship and 4 hours of elective credit. The additional 8 hours earned typically count as non-political science elective credits. Find more information on the Best Semester program >>