What will you do with your Duke political science degree?  POLSCI 279 will prepare you for your (professional) life after leaving Duke, equipping you with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to thrive in your post-Duke career. The class is tailored for those interested in pursuing internships offered in the following summer.

Students who have participated in POLSCI 279 will also have access to individual feedback from a career counselor on resume and cover-letter development. In addition, students who have taken POLSCI 279 and met with a career counselor will be able to meet with the internship placement staff at the Sanford School of Public Policy for recommendations on possible internship destinations.


Students who have obtained an internship will not be given course credit for the internship, but they may enroll in POLSCI 292 for the purpose of writing a substantial paper based on research that was conducted as part of the internship. For more information, please contact Tosha Marshall, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, at

When do I need to apply for internships?

Most internship applications are due in the spring with deadlines ranging from mid-January to late March. Students interested in security-related internships (e.g. FBI, CIA, State Department) must apply in early fall due to the extensive security clearance process.

While most are unpaid, there are a number of good internship opportunities that offer a stipend. For example, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, both top-notch internship programs, offer a stipend AND housing.

Should I apply for internships as a freshman?

Yes, most internship providers accept applications from freshmen. The benefit to securing a less competitive internship for the summer following freshman year is that it will help your application chances at the more competitive internships that require students to apply as sophomores or juniors.

Are all of the political science-related internships in Washington, DC?

No. While most of the internships established by the previous Director of the Internship Program are either in Washington, DC, or in Raleigh, NC, there are still a number of great policy and political internships in major cities like New York as well as in capital cities around the world via the U.S. Department of State.

What types of internships are out there?

There are a number of exciting internship possibilities in different areas. For example:

  • In Political Science – you can find Internships on Capital Hill and at the White House.
  • In International Relations – there are internships working for think tanks like the Brookings Institute and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as for human rights organizations and U.S. security organizations like the CIA and Department of State.
  • In Civil Rights/Women’s Rights – you can find internships with organizations like the NAACP and the National Organization of Women.
  • In International Political Economy – there are internships at places such as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives and the White House National Economic Council.
  • In Legal studies – you can find internships at the U.S. Supreme Court and in the Justice Department.
  • In Partisan Politics – students geared toward this field may want to look for internships at the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
How do I find an internship?

There are several avenue to use for locating an internship:

Do I need a resume to apply for internships?

Yes. In general most organizations will request a resume along with a cover letter, a transcript, two letters of recommendation and a small writing sample. Please check the information in the department's database to see the organizations' application requirements.

The Political Science Department offers workshops in the fall semester to assist students with the application and search process. For resume writing assistance, please contact the Career Center.

Can I receive academic credit for an internship?

Course credit is not given for internships. However, a student wishing to use the internship experience as a starting point for a research project may enroll in POLSCI 291-1 Sophomore/Junior Independent Study Political Theory or POLSCI 290-2 Duke-Administered Study Abroad: Advanced Special Topics in Political Science for the purpose of writing a paper. The internship paper should be a piece of serious research in which data, gathered as part of the student's work, is analyzed and conclusions are reached. The paper should reflect some familiarity with and use of the relevant literature.

If you have obtained an internship for which you intend to seek course credit, you should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies, prior to undertaking fieldwork.

Where do I start?

You can begin the internship process by setting up an appointment with Tosha Marshall, Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Office: 216A Gross Hall
Phone: (919) 660-4325
Email: Tosha Marshall, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, at

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