Frequently Asked Questions
I want to do an internship, but I don't even know where to start. How can I
found about internship opportunities?
Students interested in enrolling in the PLSC department’s internship program should talk
with Dr. Van Aller as soon as possible. In addition, links to various internships with
elected officials and government agencies are available on the internship website page.
Do I have to find my own internship?
The Department of Political Science will assist students seeking academic internships,
but does not guarantee that we will find placements. The Department gives first priority
to students enrolled in the Concentration in Public Policy and Public Administration.
Other students will be accommodated on a first-come, first served basis. The Center for
Career & Civic Engagement can help arrange co-operative opportunities and give advice
on job-seeking, interviewing and resume writing. The Department of Political Science has
standing internship arrangements with the City of Rock Hill, the Town of Chester, and
York County government.
How do I register for PLSC 471, 472, or 473?
Dr. Van Aller is responsible for the administration of academic internships. Students who
wish to enroll in PLSC 471, 472, or 473 must meet with Dr. Van Aller to discuss their
internship assignments and receive enrollement approval. For the vast majority of
internships, Dr. Van Aller will design the assignments and assign the students’ grades.
In some cases, when students arrange internships outside of Dr. Van Aller’s areas of
expertise, students will be directed to another member of the faculty who will design
reading lists and assign grades as appropriate.
What is the difference between a Co-Op and an internship?
A co-op is arranged and managed by the Office of Career Development. The contact
person for College of Arts and Science students is Laura Foster. She can help you find a
job in a related field as well as provide help with resume writing and interview
techniques. While the Department of Political Science does not have a designator for co-
op credit, it may be possible to apply it to another subject, depending on the type of job.
An internship is handled through the individual departments. It has its own course
number and each department has adopted unique policies on the expectations of the
How far in advance should I start preparing for my internship?
You should start thinking about doing an internship for PLSC credit as early as the start
of your sophomore year. It can take up to six months to decide on the area in which you
want to pursue a specific job, meet with the internship coordinator, decide when to
register for the course and finalize the details with your new employer. The earlier the
better! Anyone interested in International internship possibilities or jobs with the CIA,
FBI, State Department of the United Nations needs to start applying at least a year in
advance. All of the government agencies require background checks and must issue
credentials before employment can begin.
Can I work a summer job/internship but apply for the credit in the Fall?
Whenever possible, we encourage students to complete the internship concurrent with
the semester in which they are enrolled. We understand that some students may be on
scholarships or financial aid that do not cover summer school expenses. When
extenuating circumstances exist, please contact Dr. Boylan.
Can I get credit for an internship with a law firm?
PPAD Concentration majors CANNOT receive credit for an internship with a law firm.
Other students MAY receive credit, depending upon their internship responsibilities. We
will not award internship credit for placements in law firms where the students’
responsibilities are strictly administrative or real estate title searching. Students must
have assignments related to the firm’s law practice and must be approved by Dr. Boylan.
What if I don't want to do an internship in Rock Hill?
We encourage students to complete internship anywhere!! While the department has
standing agreements with some local agencies, students may complete internships in
the district offices of members of the South Carolina congressional delegation; with state
agencies in Columbia or with local governments anywhere. In addition, students may
look to internships in Washington, DC. For several possibilities, look on the internship
I have been accepted into the Washington Semester Honors Program through
the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Who do I talk to about credit?
Since this program involves transferring credit hours from USC, please see the
department chair, Dr. Karen Kedrowski.
Can I do more than one internship?
We encourage students to complete as many internships as they desire. However,
students may receive Political Science academic credit only once. This means that
you cannot receive credit for 473 twice. It also means that you cannot receive credit for
both 471 and 473, for example. (Students enrolled in the PPAD concentration must
register for 473.) It may be possible to receive academic credit for additional internships
through the Honors program or another department, depending upon the placement. We
stress, however, that internships are valuable for a variety of reasons, even if one does
not receive academic credit.
What if I fail to complete the requirements for the course (i.e.- the paper, journal, and/or project)?
If any of the components for internship credit are not completed, a grade of “F” will be
given. If you do not fulfill the requirements for the course or withdraw, you receive the
grade of “F”. If you re-register to take the class over to replace the grade, you must
complete another internship project.
What is the PPAD major?
The Concentration in Public Policy and Administration (PPAD) is one of three major
options offered by the Political Science department. The PPAD is designed for students
interested in careers in local government. The major requires several courses in the
public policy and administration subfield, and requires a three-hour internship. For more
information, see Dr. Tim Boylan, Coordinator for the Public Policy and Administration