The Political Science Department at Rice University recognizes the value of supplementing the classroom learning experience by encouraging students to acquire field experience in political situations. We encourage students to pursue and complete internships to interact with professionals in their chosen area, acquire applied knowledge of important political questions, appraise potential careers, ascertain their professional and educational strengths and weaknesses, and advance their civic and professional responsibility. To this end, the Department provides moral support to students seeking out and completing internships during the school year or summer period. In limited cases, the Department also offers academic credit for such experiences, conditional on the completion of rigorous academic requirements supplementing the internship.

So you want an internship? Locating Opportunities:

  • As part of national consortium, Rice's Center for Student Professional Developing maintains a web site listing thousands of internships. Go to

  • Organizations occasionally send notice of internship opportunities to individual faculty members. For the most part, faculty members pass these opportunities along to the Internship Director; this faculty member is your best source of information about possible internships.

  • Be proactive. If you want an internship with a specific organization, write to the head of the organization and sell yourself. Many organizations recognize their need for an intern only after a promising intern contacts them.

Are you eligible for internship credit? Answer the following questions:

  • What is the area of your internship? The Department requires that students complete at least two courses in the appropriate political science subfield (American politics, comparative politics, or international relations) prior to the work component of the internship experience, regardless of their major. What two appropriate political science courses will you have completed by the time your internship begins?

  • You must contract with the Internship Director to receive academic credit prior to beginning the internship experience. Have you discussed your proposed internship with the Internship Director in the Department? (The current Internship Director is Dr. John Alford. His contact information is listed below.)

  • Can you enroll in Political Science 307 in a term prior to beginning the work component of the internship experience (e.g. spring, if you are planning for a summer internship)?

  • Have you completed a contract with the Internship Director detailing the location, organization, and supervision of your internship? (See the Internship Director for the Contract form.)

  • Does your planned internship involve coursework processed by the American University internship program? Credit for the American University experience is awarded on a transfer credit basis. Please review the guidelines for obtaining transfer credit and make arrangements through the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

In limited cases, the Internship Director may grant waivers to components of this set of requirements to accommodate special circumstances, conditional on the agreement of the Chair of the Political Science Department.

What you must do to obtain internship credit?

In order to receive internship credit, students must complete a set of academic requirements. The awarding of credit is conditional on the academic content of the internship and not solely on the number of work hours the internship involves. These requirements include:

  • You must consult with the Internship Director prior to agreeing with an organization to complete an internship. Together, you, the Rice Internship Director, and the Internship Supervisor of the internship organization will produce a complete description of your duties during the internship.

  • You must enroll in and complete Political Science 307 prior to beginning the work component of the internship. The Internship Director will appoint a Faculty Supervisor for the duration of Political Science 307. In Political Science 307, you will complete two sets of readings. One is a set of standard readings issued to all students completing the first internship course. The second list of readings is tailored to the projected demands of the internship by the Faculty Supervisor. You may aid in the construction of this second list. Political Science 307 is a two-credit course. This course is offered on a letter-grade basis, and includes both a paper and a test.

  • You must enroll in Political Science 308 either concurrently with or following the work component of the internship experience. This course is offered on a satisfactory-unsatisfactory grade basis. Maximum credit is two hours; the actual amount of credit received is conditional on the hour-burden of the internship. To obtain credit for Political Science 308 you must: Submit a weekly briefing on activities during your internship by email to the Internship Director by 5:00 PM CST on Friday. If you miss 25 percent or more of the required weekly briefings, you will receive no credit for the course.

  • Complete the duties detailed in the internship contract; whether academic credit will be awarded will be re-evaluated throughout the internship conditional on the duties you complete.

  • Submit a portfolio that includes examples of work completed while an intern, supporting materials, and a written evaluation of the internship experience at the end of the internship.

  • Have your Internship Supervisor complete both midterm and end of term evaluations (forms to be provided by the Internship Director).

  • Complete an exit interview with your Faculty Supervisor at the end of the internship.

Please note, neither Political Science 307 nor 308 is a repeatable course.

For further information, please contact the Internship Director:

Dr. John Alford
204 Baker Hall
(713) 348-3364