Internships in Political Science

Internships give students opportunities to strengthen and diversify their academic preparation by working in complementary professional environments. Students may benefit from internships in numerous ways, the most important of which is gaining firsthand experience about how their academic preparation relates to actual work settings. Through internships, students may discover new areas of interest, and can gain insights about subject matter in which they wish to advance their academic study.

Some internships may qualify students for academic credit applicable toward their bachelor's degree. More information about academic credit for an internship is below.


political science internship opportunity


If you plan to enroll in POL 192A/B and/or POL 193 credits for Fall 2024, the due date for applications is Friday, October 4, 2024. Be sure to submit your completed application on or before the deadline. Please review the information about eligibility for POL 192 and POL 193 carefully, as well as the Frequently Asked Questions below, before submitting your application. You must secure an internship independently before applying, and you must complete the internship work in the same quarter you apply for credits. Contact the Political Science Department at if you have any questions.

To apply for POL 192 and/or 193 credits, please email the following supplemental materials as document attachments to to include your name in the subject line and on the attached file titles. Please be sure to submit the documents as attachments to the email; any text in the body of the email will not be transmitted. 

  1. A completed POL 192A/B application,
  2. Description of the internship organization,
  3. Description of the assigned job duties, AND
  4. Number of hours planned to intern

All four items must be submitted in order to review your application.

Overview: Internship Academic Credit from the Department of Political Science

During the academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters), students can earn Political Science internship credits through a faculty-supervised internship course (POL 192A or 192B). Enrollment in POL 192A or 192B is based on approval of your application materials. You must secure an internship independently before applying, and you must complete the internship work in the same quarter you apply for credits. The application is due the first week of instruction for the quarter in which you plan to earn internship credits. 

POL 192A and 192B allow students to earn a range of units for participation in an internship, for up to two quarters. Students earning internship credit for the first time will enroll in POL 192A. Internship units are based on the number of hours worked per week in one quarter. Currently, both POL 192A and 192B are set to variable units, meaning that your number of units can be adjusted based on how many hours per week you will be completing at your internship.

POL 192A

  • 3 units = 9 hours a week
  • 4 units = 12 hours a week
  • 5 units = 15 hours a week
  • 6 units = 18 hours a week

POL 192B 

  • 1 unit = 3 hours a week
  • 2 units = 6 hours a week
  • 3 units = 9 hours a week

After Applying for Credit

Applications are reviewed by the Faculty Supervisor. If approved, you will receive registration information from your major advisor. Once registered, you'll be added to a Canvas page with your course assignments and the Faculty Supervisor will connect with you. You will also need to select the appropriate number of units through Schedule Builder. Please note there is no weekly course (in-person or virtual) for POL 192A or 192B. POL 192 will require academic assignments to be completed throughout the quarter; course assignments will be monitored via Canvas. The workload will be adjusted appropriately to fit the number of units being completed at the time. Both POL 192A and 192B are P/NP (Pass/No Pass) grading. By completing assigned work of passing quality, you will earn a 'P' grade.

Political Science - Public Service Major Specific Information

Political Science - Public Service students are required to complete an internship and research experience as a part of the major requirements. 6 internship units are required in total. Internship units and research units for the PPS major can be earned through programs like the UC Davis Washington Program and the UC Center Sacramento program; or students can obtain an internship independently and apply for internship and research units through the Department of Political Science (POL 192 and POL 193). 6 units of internship equals 18 hours/internship work per week for one quarter OR split between two quarters utilizing POL 192A and 192B. Please note that the Department of Political Science does not place Public Service students in internships. 

POL 193 (2 units) - Political Science-Public Service students also have a required research component; only PPS students can complete POL 193. POL 193 can be completed in conjunction with POL 192A/POL 192B, or can be completed in the term following. However, you must have completed all 6 internship units required, or be concurrently completing the 6 internship units required, in order to be enrolled in POL 193. For POL 193, you will be expected to offer a more rigorous and in-depth academic exploration of a policy-related question. Please note that POL 193 credits are not given for assisting a faculty member with research, working in a lab, doing independent research, or completing an honors thesis. Please indicate on your form or in email if you would like POL 193 credits! POL 193 will require academic assignments to be completed throughout the quarter. There is no in-person course for POL 193; assignments will be monitored through Canvas. The Faculty Supervisor will assign and grade these assignments. POL 193 is offered for a letter grade.

If you will be completing POL 193 in the term after you complete POL 192, please contact the Department of Political Science at prior to the quarter you plan to enroll in POL 193, to confirm with us that you have completed POL 192 and to receive instructions on registering for POL 193. 

Internship Course Enrollment Eligibility

Please check-in with a Political Science advisor to learn about how your internship may apply towards your major. Eligibility criteria for enrolling in POL 192A/B are as follows:

  • Completed 84+ units (upper division standing)
  • Secured internship related to Political Science and/or Public Service
  • Be interning for the appropriate number of hours-to-units as detailed below. PPS students are required to complete minimum 6 units of internship total.
  • Submit completed application to be reviewed by Faculty Supervisor, including a job description

Internship Qualifications for Academic Credit

Per the UC Davis Academic Senate, an internship may qualify for academic credit if:

  • Students are able to apply the concepts and methods of one or more academic disciplines to an appropriate work experience or field setting;
  • Students are able to grow intellectually by extension of the general intellectual tools of one or more academic disciplines to the workplace;
  • The Faculty Advisor is able to assess the quality of academic work that the student completes; and
  • Work that is clerical in nature or involves routine maintenance or service responsibilities does not qualify for academic credit.

Finding Internships and Available Programs

UC Center Sacramento Program (UCCS)

UC Center Sacramento is the University of California’s teaching, research and public-service site located one block from the State Capitol Building. Operated by UC Davis, UCCS offers a distinctive academic program in public policy to students from throughout the university’s 10-campus system. The program provides students with an opportunity to study through seminars and internships in and around the state Capitol. Please check in with a Political Science advisor to learn how these programs may count towards your major or minor requirements prior to your participation. If you have any direct questions about the program, we recommend reviewing the UCCS website and connecting with their staff.  If you are enrolled in UCCS, you do not need to submit an application to the Department of Political Science for these internship credits.

UC Davis Washington Program (UCDC)

The Washington Program offers eligible undergraduate students an exciting opportunity to combine their course work with an unparalleled internship experience while exploring our nation's capital for a quarter! Students from any major have the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience with professionals and experts in fields that interest them. Please check in with a Political Science advisor to learn how these programs may count towards your major or minor requirements prior to your participation. If you have any direct questions about the program, we recommend reviewing the UCDC website and connecting with their staff.  If you are enrolled in UCDC, you do not need to submit an application to the Department of Political Science for these internship credits.

Quarter at Aggie Square (QAS)

Quarter at Aggie Square Experiences are themed curricula that bring together classes, internships, and community engagement. For each experience, students will study at our Sacramento campus with a small cohort of about 25 students and dedicated faculty. Students are invited to find a theme that matches their academic interests and counts toward their major or minor. Note that not all QAS Experiences provide credit in POL; please review the course offerings for the QAS Experience you are interested in.

Finding an internship independently

You can search for and secure an internship independently, outside of the above programs. The Internship and Career Center has resources available for students searching for internship opportunities. Visit their page on how to start finding a job or internship here. Check Handshake for posted opportunities. The Department of Political Science will also share internship opportunities with students as we receive them. If you would like to be on our mailing list for POL, PPS, or IRE majors, please email us at


Frequently Asked Questions

  • When is the POL 192 application due? 
    • The application is due at the end of the first week of each quarter during the academic year. You must secure an internship before applying for POL 192 credit for that quarter.
  • Can I receive academic credit for an internship during the summer? 
    • No, we cannot provide POL 192 academic credit through the Department of Political Science during the summer. However, if you are looking for academic credit during the summer, both UCCS and UCDC programs have options for receiving academic credit while interning in the summer.
  • Can I receive academic credit for an internship I have completed in the past? 
    • No, internship credits cannot be given retroactively for past internship experiences. You must be receiving academic credit in the same quarter that you are completing the internship you are filing for credit in.
  • Can I receive credit for multiple internships? 
    • You can complete POL 192A and POL 192B once each, for the appropriate number of units. POL 192A/B are not repeatable for credit. Per the College of Letters & Science, a maximum of six units may be counted towards major requirements.
  • Do internships have to be unpaid in order to be eligible for credit?
    • No, internships do not have to be unpaid in order to be eligible for credit. Both paid and unpaid internships can qualify for credit, assuming the internship meets all other program qualifications (related to public service, not clerical in nature, etc.)
  • Is an internship required in order to graduate? 
    • 6 units of internship academic credit, plus 2-4 units of research units, are required in order for Political Science – Public Service majors to complete their major requirements.
    • An internship is NOT required for Political Science majors, although they may be able to apply internship academic credit to their POL major electives. A maximum of 5 units of internship units can count towards the POL major.
    • Students working towards a POL minor may use POL 192 credits for their minor requirements, but only 5 units of POL 192 can be counted as one course for the minor.
  • Do I have to be a student in the Political Science Department to get POL 192 units? 
    • Students from other majors can apply for POL 192 credits if they meet all other eligibility requirements. Please note that not all majors accept internship units. Please check with your major advisor before taking part in any programs that may affect your degree progress.
  • How do I know if my internship qualifies for academic credit? 
    • The primary criteria for an internship is that intern positions need to be connected to political science or public policy and students must be completing substantive, meaningful work in their field. While not an exhaustive list, some examples of qualifying internships in the past have included working for city or state government, legal organizations (e.g. public defenders, District Attorneys’ offices), non-government agencies including environmental groups and housing advocacy groups), political campaigns, and consumer interest entities. You can also find more examples of internship positions on the Internship and Career Center’s data website. The Political Science Department will inform you if your internship does not meet the general criteria for academic credit per the Academic Senate.
  • Are there other options to receive academic recognition for an internship? 
    • Students who wish to participate in an internship and not earn academic credit may apply for transcript notation through the Internship and Career Center. The ICC’s requirements are different; please refer to the ICC website for more information.
  • Are there other options to do research? 
    • While POL 193 is restricted to Political Science – Public Service majors, there are other ways to take part research on campus. The Undergraduate Research Center has resources for students to get started in finding research opportunities.