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Other Internship Opportunities

POLS 291 and POLS 491 internships place students with professionals working in political parties, government agencies, or other public organizations. Interns work closely with both the field supervisor in the public organization and with the faculty instructor. Internships allow students to observe how professionals and professional organizations operate on a daily basis and afford to students multiple opportunities to apply academic skills and knowledge while contributing to an organization’s operation. Through an internship, students have the chance to learn through experiences, insofar as the workplace, office, or agency becomes a text for analysis and reflection.

Interested? Here’s what to do, in four simple steps:

STEP 1: Meet with Professor Michael Rocca (msrocca@unm.edu) to discuss internship opportunities, and to identify a few that look interesting to you.

STEP 2: Send an email or call the contact(s) for the internship(s) to express your interest in the internship opportunity.

STEP 3: If you receive an internship, contact Professor Rocca immediately to receive an override to register for either POLS 291 or 491.

STEP 4: Register for POLS 291 or 491, depending on whichever makes more sense given your graduation trajectory. When you register, be sure to choose the appropriate number of credit hours, based on the time commitment you and your immediate internship supervisor agree upon. Here is the breakdown:

  • 1 credit hour = at least 64 internship hours during the semester
  • 2 credit hours = at least 120 internship hours during the semester
  • 3 credit hours = at least 160 internship hours during the semester

Important Information on Internships

Do I need to be a political science major to register for POLS 291 and POLS 491?
Nope! POLS 291 and POLS 491 are open to all majors.

Can these credit hours count towards graduation?
Yes, but with some important stipulations. First, no more than three (3) hours of internship credit in POLS 291, and no more than a total of six (6) hours of internship credit in POLS 291 and POLS 491 combined, or POLS 491 alone, may be counted toward the major in Political Science. Second, no more than three (3) hours of internship credit, either POLS 291 or POLS 491, may be counted toward the minor in Political Science.

How is POLS 291 and POLS 491 graded?
An intern will receive Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC). Credit will be awarded if all required internship hours are completed in a satisfactory manner. Every two weeks, interns are expected to submit a timesheet signed by their internship supervisor to Professor Rocca via the course's UNM Learn website. In all, interns are expected to:

  • Arrive at work as scheduled, ready to work, and stay for the agreed upon time
  • Present themselves in a professional manner at all times, including being appropriately dressed for the workplace
  • Communicate any concerns with their supervisor and the internship coordinator in a timely and respectful manner
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm and interest in what they are doing; ask questions and take initiative as appropriate
  • Complete and submit assigned tasks by designated timelines. Meet all deadlines.
  • Keep track of and accurately report internship hours worked 

Will I receive a salary for my internship?
The internship emphasis is on learning through supervised interactions with professionals, and Political Science interns do not ordinarily receive salaries. Insofar as internships are designed to place students with professionals, internships are not the equivalent of volunteerism.

How often do internship opportunities change?
The number and range of internship placements varies each semester and is dependent on the needs/preferences of public agencies. That is, while UNM’s Political Science Department seeks to provide numerous internship openings each Fall and Spring, whether particular campaigns, offices, and agencies ask for interns is beyond the ability of the Political Science Department to control.

Can I receive internship credits during the summer semester?
Yes, POLS 291 and POLS 491 are offered during the summer. However, students are required to set up summer internships and register for 291/491 before the end of the preceding spring semester. New internships will not be formalized during the summer session, as Professor Rocca will not be available to meet during summer break.

Contact

Dr. Michael Rocca, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Internship Coordinator
Department of Political Science
University of New Mexico
msrocca@unm.edu