Why Internships?

Internships are perhaps the best way to connect the theory of the classroom with the practice of the field. By engaging in practical activity, and then framing and contextualizing that activity with a theoretical lens, students who work an academic internship have the opportunity to see how the ideas that underlie the study of the field manifest and play out in every day lives. This both enriches the scholastic understanding of what students have studied, as well has help them to discover their own potential contributions when they discover shortcomings or lacunae in what they have learned.

Internships also allow students to pursue opportunities that will enhance their resume for their post-graduate pursuits in the work force on in graduate school. Political science is an impressively diverse field that can lead students in a number of potential career directions. Supervised internships allow students to try out areas in which they are interested to see if the reality of the field matched their preconceived notions. If the student falls in love with the field, it presents the opportunity to get a foot in the door and begin to build professional contacts. If the student finds that the work is not what they imagined, then they can avoid pursing a path they would not enjoy. Either way, the students’ future is enriched by exploring these opportunities.

What are the Internship Opportunities?

In addition to the opportunities posted to the RedHawk network, we maintain a page where internship opportunities will be regularly updated. Students have worked in a number of fields in government, the non-profit sector, in law firms, and on political campaigns. However, the political science currently has a special relationship with one internship program that we particularly recommend to our students:

The Washington State Legislative Internship Program is available only in the winter quarter. Students apply and go through a competitive screening process. Students who are selected take a 15-credit internship course that sees them working full-time as a staff member for a member of the Washington state House or Senate. Students will have the opportunity not only to work in the legislature but will also participate and attend in a specially-developed curriculum focused on the WA legislative process. Applications are due in October, and are followed by in-person interviews. See the link below for more information, or feel free to contact the internship coordinator.

>>More Internship Opportunities

How do I enroll?

For starters, feel free to reach out to Dr. Schoettmer, the internship coordinator for the political science program. He would be happy to help you get started if you don’t know where to start.

The first step, of course, is to find an internship opportunity Dr. Schoettmer is happy to help you in your hunt, but in the end finding the internship is a student-driven process. Once an internship has been landed, however, there is a process to set up the academic component for credit for the internship work.

  • Internship coordinator must approve the internship as appropriate. That requires meeting with the coordinator to describe the internship as well as submitting a paragraph description of the official duties of the position.
  • There are three essential forms that need to be filled out to apply.
  • The three forms need to be signed off on by the student (and, in one case, the employer) and then submitted to Dr Schoettmer.

After submission approval, the registrar will directly enroll you into the course. In order to earn academic credit, the work that you do will need to be accompanied by an independent research project. The scope of the project depends on the number of credits you are taking the class for.

Number of Credits Number of Hours Length of Research Paper
1 30 (~3 hr/week) 2-4 pages
2 60 (~6 hr/week) 4-5 pages 
3 90 (~9 hr/week) 6-8 pages 
4 120 (~12 hr/week) 9-10 pages 
5 150 (~15 hr/week) 11-13 pages 
15* 400 (~40 hr/week) Either 3x 11-13 pg papers,
OR 1x 11-13 pg paper
AND a 20-30 page paper 

*Students are normally limited to 10 hours of internship credit. 15 credits are only available to participants of the Washington State Legislative Internship Program, or a similar state or federal program.

The Political Science Internship Coordinator is Professor Patrick Schoettmer, 206-296-5450. Email him at

You may apply up to five credits of Internship PLSC 495 toward your minimum requirements for a Political Science major.

Additional internship credits may be applied as general electives toward your Seattle University degree. PLSC 495 can be added any time through the second week of the quarter.

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The Washington State Legislative Intern Program brings more than 70 college students to Olympia for a one-of-a-kind educational and professional opportunity. Two Seattle University Political Science students, Demetra Annest and Leslie Burnett, participated in the program during Winter Quarter 2017, supervised by Political Science instructor Dr. Patrick Schoettmer.

Contact Us

Yitan Li, PhD

Patrick Schoettmer, PhD
Internship Coordinator 

Melissa Poquiz
Administrative Assistant