Gain Valuable Experience

Political Science at North Dakota State University offers undergraduate field-oriented learning opportunities. Possibilities include working in a full or part-time position in government, a political party, a political campaign, or a private organization engaged in activities associated with politics or government. Academic credit for field experiences may range from 1-15 semester hours at the discretion of the department. Generally, a 15 credit hour load requires that the intern spend 40 hours per week on internship duties. These positions require a preplanned assessment of the experience, prior departmental approval, and evaluation after the internship is completed.

At least two months prior to their internship, students are required to submit a short proposal to the department. This proposal should include a discussion of the following items: The title of the position for which credit is requested.

  • The length of the proposed internship.
  • The number of credits being requested for the experience.
  • A thorough discussion and description of the duties to be performed
    during the internship period.
  • A statement of what the student intends or hopes to gain from the experience.

The internship or field experience must be supervised by a professional staff member of a governmental institution, campaign or legislative office, or private organization. The student is required to submit a letter from the intended supervisor confirming the details of the proposed position and agreeing to oversee the intended experience. This is not necessary in instances where the department has developed a long-standing working relationship with an organization or agency. For example, for a number of years North Dakota Senators and Representatives have sponsored undergraduate internship positions and have worked closely with this department. The student should consult the department's Internship Coordinator well in advance of the intended activity to confirm whether or not such a letter is necessary in his/her individual case.

Departmental Approval
The student's written statement and supervisor's letter of confirmation (if required) must be submitted no later than two months before the proposed starting date to the department's  Internship Coordinator. To be accepted and awarded academic credit the student's proposal must meet the following criteria:

  • The duties and responsibilities of the position must include such activities as research, performing constituent services, or management and supervisory functions. As such, the responsibilities must require judgment and skill beyond such routine duties as filing, answering the telephone, running errands and so forth. In sum, the position must require decisions which will have substantive consequences to the organization for which the person is working.
  • The department awards academic credit for field experiences only at the 496 level for undergraduates. As a result the duties for the position must involve intellectual skills equivalent to or higher than those required to complete a junior or senior level class at NDSU successfully.

The successful completion of field experiences is determined by the following:

  • Feedback to the department from the student's supervisor.
  • A term paper (in proper format and written in Standard English) which is approximately one-and-a-half times the credits to be awarded in length. For example, a 12 credit field experience would be documented in a paper which contains no fewer than 18 pages. It is recommended that students keep a daily journal which can be the basis for their paper.
  • All academic credit is awarded on a Pass/Fail basis.

If you have any questions concerning these requirements or other issues relating to undergraduate field experiences please contact our  internship coordinator.

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