Internship Programs

A special aspect of a Simmons education is our internship program. With Boston providing a rich set of choices, the internship program provides students with a unique opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to actual situations while developing career interests and professional contacts. The Department also administers the competitive Barbara Lee Family Foundation Intern Fellowship Program, open to the entire university. Barbara Lee Family Foundation Fellows receive a stipend and intern with area legislators.

Choosing an Internship

The purpose of an internship in political science and international relations is to provide the student with the opportunity to work in a setting where she will be called upon to apply her knowledge to the policy issues and practices confronting the internship sponsor. Though we recognize that most internships may include some clerical work, the department insists that the main thrust of the internship experience be directed toward the definition, creation and/or application of policies and practices of the internship organization.

All students intending to register for an internship must contact the internship faculty advisor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations before the end of the semester preceding the internship semester. Most students do internships during the spring semester of their senior year; first contact with the internship advisor normally occurs during the first week in November.

The departmental internship advisor maintains a list of prospective internship sites and has the responsibility of contacting individuals at those sites to verify that internships are available. However, students are not limited to the list. The student should feel free to ask the advisor for help in locating an opportunity more suited to her interests. A prospective intern is required to submit a brief description of her proposed internship to the internship advisor before the internship begins. The advisor reserves the right to reject a proposed site if the work does not meet departmental standards.

Interns are responsible for delivering all relevant information about the internship site to the departmental advisor before the internship begins. This information should include: the name(s) of the on-site supervisor(s), phone numbers, addresses, work hours, and copies of any written material received from the on-site supervisor about work requirements.

The departmental advisor will establish contact with the internship organization before the student's interview, as well as immediately prior to the student's first day on-site to ensure understanding by all parties of the intern's responsibilities and the university's expectations. Furthermore, the internship advisor will maintain contact with the on-site supervisor throughout the semester.


It is strongly recommended that students take POLS 212: "Politics Unplugged: How Things Work in Massachusetts" before doing an internship. Work hours are determined by the number of credit hours of a given internship. An 8-credit internship requires 16 hours per week of on-site work. In addition, students are expected to spend at least 5 hours a week on research directed to their final papers. Only on very rare occasions will 16-credit internships be approved.

Interns are required to attend all scheduled internship meetings with the departmental faculty advisor during the semester, as well as to keep her/him informed of the progress of the internship and to discuss the research project. In addition, the departmental advisor will periodically contact the on-site supervisor to discuss the student's progress.

At the conclusion of the internship, and in addition to the research paper, all interns will be required to submit a brief evaluation of their internship for reference use by students in subsequent semesters.

Research Paper

Each intern must complete a research paper focusing on a substantive issue relevant to the internship. The intention of this requirement is to encourage the student to frame her experience in terms of the issues and debates of political science or international relations. The paper must extend the internship experience beyond the daily responsibilities of the site. It must not be simply an account of the internship activities.

The research paper should be 15 pages in length and on a topic approved by the departmental advisor. Students must submit a short written proposal stating the topic and material to be explored. Final papers should be submitted one week prior to the last day of classes.

In general, the research paper should include the following:

  • a clear statement of the issue(s) to be investigated,
  • a review of relevant literature about the issue,
  • a statement of the analytical approach that will be used and the data on which the analysis will be based,
  • the analysis of the issue,
  • conclusion(s).


The final grade for the internship will be based on the evaluation of the on-site supervisor, the student's performance in meeting all obligations of the internship, and the research paper. It is presumed that the student will meet all due dates, will attend all required meetings, and will provide a well-prepared oral review of her research findings; failure to meet these requirements may result in a lowered grade.