Internships

There are numerous opportunities for students at UK to receive academic credit for internships. The Department of Political Science has been deeply involved in assisting students who wish to take advantage of such opportunities under PS 399. (See the UK Catalogs for a course description.) In general, the department cannot place students in internships; it is the student's responsibility to seek an internship opening. However, the department often receives information about internship openings, and the Director of Internships is happy to suggest "contacts" to interested students. The most common political science internships are with the local office of a senator or congressperson, a state legislator in Frankfort, a political campaign, an agency in state or local government, or a law office. You may not receive intern credit for jobs unrelated to political science. Some specific offices that have used the services of interns in the past are: the Lieutenant Governor, the Kentucky Commission on Women, Kentucky Center for Public Issues, the Secretary of Education and Humanities, the Attorney General, Congressman, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and local law firms.

There are several departmental requirements that must be followed in order to get academic credit for internships that are supervised by members of the political science faculty. These requirements are designed to help insure the best possible learning experience for students involved. There is a syllabus on file in the main office that outlines the requirements for an internship. Since these requirements vary somewhat from those followed by other departments or by the UK Office of Experiential Education, it is important that you read and understand the following:

Step 1: Getting the Ball Rolling

All students wishing to take PS 399 shall submit a Preliminary Internship Proposal Form to the Internship Director, Dr. Donald Gross. The proposal must be completed and returned to the department by the first week of September for Fall and February for Spring. Once the Internship Proposal Form is submitted, the proposal will be evaluated and the student advised of the decision to either approve or reject the application

Step 2: Finding an Academic Supervisor and Completing a Learning Contract Assuming an internship proposal is approved, the student shall arrange to have a member of the political science faculty serve as an Academic Supervisor for the internship. The student may contact a faculty member of his or her choosing, or may seek the advice of the Director of Internships about an appropriate academic supervisor. The student shall then work out a Learning Contract with his or her Academic Supervisor before registering for PS 399. The learning contract must be completed and returned to the department by the second week of September for Fall and February for Spring. (The department does not supervise internships under the EXP 396 number.) The department will not approve a PS 399 unless a valid Learning Contract is on file.

The number of credits for the internship is determined by the number of hours worked weekly on the job site. Internships also require an academic component to the work. While the nature of this academic work varies from one academic supervisor to another, the work typically involves: (i) critical analyses of scholarly books and articles; ~ii) a journal (focuses on critical events addressed during the internship with at least three (3) interviews with individuals whose roles are related to the organization or internship); (iii) a final paper, and (iv) a performance evaluation (completed by field supervisor).

Step 3: Getting Your Agency Supervisor to Sign the Memorandom of Agreement In order to encourage cooperating agencies to provide students with meaningful experiences, all students registering for PS 399 credits shall be responsible for securing agency approval on a Memorandum of Agreement stating that the agency is familiar with the student's Learning Contract, approves of its contents regarding the student's on-the-job responsibilities, and indicates that every effort will be made to provide on-the-job experiences that are related to and supportive of the student's Learning Contract. Students are responsible to see that their field supervisor sends a copy of the Memorandum of Agreement to the Director of Internships (Department of Political Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506). The Memorandum of Agreement must be completed and returned to the department by the second week of September for Fall and February for Spring. Additional information on internships can be obtained from the Office of Experiential Education (Phone: 257-3632) or contact the Director of Internships, Donal Gross (Phone: 257-9256). Email: pol146@uky.edu PS 399 internships are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. 

Click the forms to download:

Preliminary Internship Proposal Form
Learning Contract
Memorandom of Agreement

Kentucky Legislative Internship Program 

The UK Department of Political Science, along with the UK Office of Experiential Education, is conducting a Kentucky Legislative Internship Program. The purpose of this program is to give UK undergraduates an opportunity to experience the dynamics and reality of the Kentucky legislature while studying legislatures in the classroom.

The Kentucky Legislative Internship Program will allow students with a solid background in political science to have internships with individual legislators during the next 60-day session (even-numbered years) of the Kentucky legislature. These students will have a unique opportunity to share their experiences with each other and to use their internships as a basis for furthering their study and understanding of the political process. 

WHO CAN APPLY? You must be a UK Political Science major or minor in good standing. You must have completed 9 hours of political science course work before the Spring semester in which you wish to intern.

HOW DO YOU APPLY? Interested Political Science majors or minors should contact the Internship Director early in the Fall semester prior to the Legislative Session for which they wish to intern to discuss their interest in the program. The Internship Director will then provide the student with an application form. Entrance into the program is competitive, and selection of Legislative Interns will be based on academic record, relevant experience, and perceived ability to perform as an intern.  

WHAT IS INVOLVED? Students selected for the program will be able to continue as full time students on the UK campus, by having a Monday-Wednesday-Friday morning schedule. All interns will be required to: 

  • enroll in PS 476G Legislative Process, unless otherwise arranged by program director, taught on campus
  • enroll in PS 557 Kentucky Government and Politics, unless otherwise arranged by program director, taught on campus
  • enroll in a special seminar for interns (PS 492) for 1 credit hour, taught on campus,
  • sign up for 6 credit hours of PS 399 Internship,
  • be available for work with the individual legislator all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays and afternoons on Wednesdays. For more information, contact:

    Donald Gross, Director of Internships
    1655 Patterson Office Tower
    Department of Political Science
    University of Kentucky
    Lexington, KY 40506-0027
    Phone: (859) 257-9256
    Email: pol146@uky.edu

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