The Master’s Degree – Internships

Political science is a practical field. Experience in the actual practice of politics, working in a political setting with practitioners, is a basic element of the political science curriculum. Experience is not disassociated from classroom leaning, but is cultivated in light of what is studied, read, discussed, and reflected upon. A maximum of 8 credit hours of internship can be applied toward the Political Science Master’s Degree as elective hours.  Four credit hours of internship are required for the Graduate Certificate in Practical Politics.

Students are responsible for arranging their own internship placements; however, Dr. Calvin Mouw, the internship coordinator assists students in making arrangements and finding internships.  A student who wishes to enroll in an internship should contact Dr. Mouw ( or 217-206-7884). Dr. Mouw must sign a ‘WPI’ (With Permission of Instructor) form before the student will be allowed to register for one of the internship courses. Before a student can receive a WPI, they must complete an internship contract.


UIS’s location in the state capital provides our graduate students with a variety of internship opportunities. Students may seek an internship placement with any branch of state government, lobbying organizations, election campaign, and non-profit organizations. Students currently employed in areas that would be suitable as internship opportunities may arrange to have projects they undertake at their jobs serve as their “internship placements”.  Students can also undertake teaching internships working with faculty at either UIS or Lincoln Land Community College.

Additionally, UIS sponsors two of the most prestigious internships in Illinois state government; the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program (ILSIP) and the Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI). Normally, students apply for these two programs when they apply for admission to UIS. ILSIP interns are placed on majority, minority, and committee staffs in the Illinois General Assembly for one year. GPSI interns work under a two-year, half-time contract with an agency of Illinois state government.

There are a great variety of special internship programs sponsored by agencies of state government. A brief listing includes:

  • James H. Dunn, Jr. Memorial Fellowship Program (year-long), Office of the Governor
  • Vito Marzullo Internship Program (year-long), Office of the Governor
  • Secretary of State Academic Year-Long Fellowship Program, Office of the Secretary of State
  • Lt. Governor’s Fellowship Program (year-long), Office of the Lt. Governor
  • Michael Curry Internship Program (summer), Office of the Governor
  • Secretary of State Academic Summer Internship Program, Office of the Secretary of State
  • Rules Analyst Internship (9 Ω months), Joint Committee on Administrative Rules
  • Illinois Regional Archives Depository Internship (10 months), UIS Archives

Internships often crop up during the year, providing opportunities for graduate students already in residence. Internship opportunities are more abundant during election years, when campaign organizations need the sort of skilled help that graduate interns can offer. The first step to getting an internship is to decide what kind of experience will be most valuable in your political education. And that subject, of course, is just the thing you will be discussing with your adviser early on. After talking with him or her about the sort of internship that’s best for you, consult the internship coordinator, Dr. Calvin Mouw ( or 217-206-7884) on where you should look and whom you should call.