As a student in the Department of Political Science, you can take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities such as internships, community-engaged learning and undergraduate research partnerships with our internationally known faculty. Eligible students can also earn departmental distinction by writing a senior honors thesis.
Our goal is to provide you with a well-rounded learning experience that gives you the skills you need to address real-world problems.
Are you looking for a challenging conclusion to your political science degree? Interested in graduate work or law school? Consider an honors project!
There are three routes to earning distinction in the major, two of which are student-initiated projects.
(1) a year-long thesis project (reserved for students pursing an academic graduate program);
(2) the revision of a significant course paper in the major for publication in an undergraduate academic journal;
(3) nomination by the student’s Capstone professor.
The first two of these options are student-initiated, so if you plan on pursuing distinction in the major, consult your political science advisor about the thesis and the article project at least four quarters before graduation.
The honors thesis is open to all qualified majors with a 3.7 GPA in political science and a 3.5 overall GPA. Political science honors students must complete a total of 44 credit hours in political science coursework.
Why Complete an Honors Project?
If you're planning to attend either graduate school or law school, this program is highly recommended. Graduate program and law school admission committees understand and value the discipline and advanced critical thinking skills required to complete a substantial independent research project such as an honors thesis.
What Does an Honors Project Involve?
We now offer two student-initiated means to earning distinction in the major—an honors thesis that culminates in an oral defense of your project with your thesis advisor and two faculty committee members, or the revision of a significant course paper in the major for publication in an undergraduate journal. Talk to your political science advisor as early as possible—well before your senior year—if you are interested in either project.
How Do I Start the Process?
Talk to your Political Science advisor about doing an honors project.
- Other Honors Options at DU
Recent DU political science seniors who participated in internships reported that they:
- Learned more about possible career areas.
- Developed practical skills that helped them in the major.
- Became more confident about pursuing a career in the area of their internship.
- Met people who could help them find a job after graduation.
Internships don't just offer a chance to build practical skills in a hands-on environment; they also offer opportunities to network with people in your field of interest. Whether you're interested in international politics, political organizing or law, internships can also help you decide whether a particular career path is right for you.
Where Can I Do A Political Science Internship?
Our department offers academic credit to students who intern in the American politics and law areas if they simultaneously enroll in an internship seminar. Locally, there are opportunities to intern with political campaigns and the state legislature via PLSC 3982. Students can also complete a legal internship in the location of their choosing during the summer with our online internship seminar, PLSC 3985.
How Do I Find An Internship?
You can sign up for our departmental student listserv to receive the latest news about available internships, or check the office bulletin board in Sturm Hall, Room 466. Your political science advisor may also be able to direct you to other internship opportunities.
The DU careers network is a great database of internship and career opportunities. It pulls information from local and national sources as part of the University Career Action Network. Career & Professional Development is another good resource. You need to log in with your DU ID and password to access these resources.
What Do I Need To Do To Receive Academic Credit For An Internship?
Political science majors are eligible to complete an internship after taking at least one course in the relevant sub-field. Students also need to take the concurrent internship class noted under "How Do I Find An Internship?" For each credit hour you intend to earn, you should plan to work four hours at your internship. This equates to 16 hours a week in your intended internship and related class.
How Do I Earn Academic Credit For An Internship?
We offer a Campaign Internship Seminar during fall quarter of even-numbered years and a State Legislative Politics Internship Seminar during winter quarter of even-numbered years. We regularly offer the online Legal Internship Seminar in the summer.
Finally, keep in mind that it is not always possible to get academic credit for your internship. Whether or not you decide to pursue academic credit, we hope you will consider doing an internship for the valuable skills you can learn.
Political science students have many opportunities to engage with their local communities through their work at DU. In most of these instances, our faculty members partner directly with DU's Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL). We are proud that a number of our students have gone on to win university-level awards that reflect their meaningful engagement and the learning that this work engenders.
Through our department, and through CCESL, students have numerous opportunities to learn from our communities and to contribute to shared projects. In political science, our students have participated in community-engaged learning through participation in:
A research methods course taught in partnership with an organization facilitating post-incarceration reentry.
Internship courses that allow students to become active learners and workers on "The Hill" in Denver.
A community-engaged learning course that involved DU students in a broader educational project in partnership with Denver's public schools.