If you are looking for an opportunity to gain real world experience while pursuing your degree, then the Legal Studies Department at the University of Illinois Springfield may be the right fit for you.  The Legal Studies curriculum coupled with an internship can provide qualified students an opportunity to gain governmental, legal, and public policy experience through practical application.

Undergraduate Student Opportunities

The University of Illinois Springfield offers undergraduate students the opportunity to test-drive their career choices and make valuable connections through an applied internship. Applied internships give students the opportunity to gain experience through an internship while gaining college credit. You can find more information on internships on our internships and prior learning site.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Although an internship is not a required of the graduate program, our graduate students have the opportunity to garner practical experience through internships and clinical education.  

The Graduate Public Service Internship Program is ranked as one of Illinois’ premier governmental internship programs, the GPSI program provides graduate students with an opportunity for experiential learning through a public sector internship while completing a master’s degree. Interns earn a tuition waiver, partial fee waiver, and a stipend while interning at state or local government agencies, as well as some non-profit agencies. Upon graduation interns may begin professional careers in the public sector at the federal, state or local levels; as well as in the private sector. Interns can either be placed in offices in Chicago, Illinois or Springfield, Illinois. Legal studies students enrolled in the UIS Graduate Public Service Internship Program (GPSI) may count the GPSI Seminar course towards their non-LES electives.

The Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program is recognized as one of the top legislative internship programs in the United States, the program provides graduate level applicants with a pre-professional experience working full-time with the Illinois legislature. The program offers a paid internship along with graduate credit. Tuition and fees, including student health insurance, are covered by the program.  Legal Studies students enrolled in the Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program (ILSIP) may count the ILSIP: Academic Seminar towards their non-Legal Studies electives.

Graduate Assistantships are a great way for Master’s degree-seeking students to earn a monthly stipend, tuition waiver, and gain real world experience, and UIS awards approximately 60 assistantships to qualified students each year. UIS offers four types of assistantships, including: Graduate Assistantships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, and Pre-professional Graduate Assistantships.  Graduate Assistants work on-campus in Springfield, Illinois.

Clinical Education

Students may also fulfill their general electives through clinical education.  Clinical education offers a self-directed learning and work experience in a legal setting, enabling students to develop skills necessary for success in a legal environment.  Placement options include courts, administrative agencies, state and federal attorneys’ offices, legal aid offices, private law firms, and other public interest groups. Some are paid and some are not. Employment in a law related area, public service and legislative internships may be used for clinical education if the placement meets the requirements. It is possible to earn up to 4 credit hours of clinical education credits, which will be applied toward the student’s Legal Studies electives. Each credit hour is the equivalent of 50 working hours; a 4 credit hour course requires 200 hours in the placement. The course is graded on a Credit/No Credit basis only.  Clinical placements should be discussed with the appropriate faculty at least one semester before the student is planning to take the course.  A Clinical Education Course Form (available in the department office) must be approved by both the department chair and the student's faculty advisor before registration in the course will be allowed.