Carefully read the following guidelines regarding academic credit for Political Science related internships. 

The on-line credit application can be accessed from the link at the bottom of this page. Only complete the application if your internship meets the requirements outlined below AND you have fulfilled the required prerequisites.

Department of Political Science Policy on Academic Internships and Application Form

The Department of Political Science grants internship credit to students in order to help them accomplish three important goals:

  1. To enhance and build upon study in the discipline;
  2. To help build skills useful for future course work and eventually, professional life; and
  3. To encourage students to explore career possibilities and enhance their prospects for future employment.

Retroactive Credit

No credit will be given retroactive of or after any aspect of the internship work experience has started.

Prerequisites and Requirements

Only declared political science majors or minors will be considered for political science internship credit. One of the following courses (or an equivalent) must have been completed before a student will be considered for political science internship credit:

  • POLI 110 or 210 for internships dealing with U.S. (including state and local governments) political, policy or legal internships.
  • POLI 150 or 250 and 170 or 270 for overseas or foreign affairs internships.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) credit does NOT meet the elective requirement.

It is strongly recommended that all students seeking internship credit have completed POLI 200. It is also recommended that those wanting to work for a state or local government entity complete or be currently enrolled in POLI 311. 

A student must also have a minimum 2.3 GPA and be in good honor code and academic standing with the university. It is recommended that a student have completed at least 60 hours of university level course work before participating in an internship for credit. However, exceptional sophomore students may be considered. Under no circumstances will students with less than 30 hours of graded credit (graded credit does not include credit earned through advanced placement examinations) on their transcripts receive internship credit.

Washington, D.C. Internships

Students wishing to receive credit for an internship in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Virginia and Maryland suburbs around D.C., must be accepted to the Washington Seminar. Information about that program can be found here.

Overseas Internships

In addition to receiving Political Science Department credit approval (see the application link below) all overseas (international) internships must be approved by the International Internship Office in 101 HRCB, 801-422-3683, Students considering an overseas internship should contact this office as early as possible. The deadlines to apply for overseas internship approval are:

  • Fall semester: 1 July
  • Winter semester: 1 November
  • Spring and Summer Terms: 1 March

Students completing overseas internships are required to complete the ISP pre-departure seminar.

Nature of the Work Experience

Acceptable internships must be relevant to the political science discipline and require some substantial writing. The work experience must involve the student in the political, policy, or judicial process. Students may not receive credit for experiences resulting from formal course work, i.e. teaching or research assistant, training at a police academy, etc. or for work that is conducted from home or on the BYU campus. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic while BYU has suspended regular internships, as an exception students may receive credit if the internship is being done remotely and meets all other requirements for the credit. Students may only receive 3.0 POLI 399R credits for these remote or virtual internships. Additionally, students may not receive credit if they are working for organizations in which a member of their family will supervise them or have oversight over their work supervisor, or if the organization promotes causes in conflict with the values or standards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Upper division credit may not be received for experiences in which more than one-third of the internship duties involve clerical work, i.e. filing, photocopying, errands, etc.

Students interning for a political campaign may receive three credits if their work assignment is substantive and will expose them to the campaign's management and operations. It is important that the work assignments allow the student to observe and, ideally, work with the campaign's strategy, fundraising, media relations, and organization of volunteers. Credit will not be granted for students who are just working as volunteers at a low level in the campaign structure. Political campaign internships do not qualify for more than three credits. Students considering an internship with a political campaign are encouraged to discuss their assignment with the political science intern coordinator before completing the application for credit.

Credit and Grading

The amount of credit received for the internship is determined by the length, quality and anticipated learning from the experience. Work assignments must include assignments that will substantially increase the student's understanding of the political, policy or judicial process. Additionally, the work must be done in the internship provider's office or a related work site, not from the student's home or on campus. So called, "virtual internships," do not qualify for credit. An exception to the virtual internship policy  is possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 3.0 credits may be earned for these internships regardless of the time spent working on internship related projects.

Credits Total Work Hours Projects
Three 200 to 300 One or more
Six 300 to 450 Two or more
Nine 450 or more Three or more


When completing the application for internship credit, be certain to calculate your total work hours (hours/week x total weeks). Before applying for credit make sure you and the internship provider have agreed on the start and end dates and hours per week. This must total at least 200 hours. Internships involving less than 200 work hours will not receive credit. No more than three credits may be received for campaign internships regardless of the time spent on the work assignment or the projects involved.

All credit is letter-graded. Participating students should avoid the mistaken assumption that internship credit is an "easy A," resulting from just having done a good job in the internship. The academic work submitted for the credit has a major impact on the final grade, is carefully read, and expected to be of the highest quality. This work will involve written reports, a research paper, and other similar assignments that are submitted to the political science intern director. These assignments will require significant effort on the part of the student outside of the work experience.

Regular BYU day school tuition is required for all credit.

Faculty Supervision

Students receiving nine credits will be assigned to a member of the Political Science Department faculty who will be responsible for supervising and evaluating a research paper. The Political Science Department Intern Director and the supervising faculty member monitor the internship and determine the final grade for the credit. If a faculty member of the Political Science Department with a research or teaching background in the subject matter of the internship cannot be found or is not available, then the student may only receive three or six credits for the internship.

Academic Internship Credit as Political Science Electives

Up to six hours of academic internship credit can be counted as electives toward a major in political science. Students should be aware that university policy does not permit more than 12 hours of academic internship credit (combined from all departments) to be counted toward graduation.

Financial Aid

Students with existing scholarships and/or grants will generally be able to use them during the period of enrollment in the internship if they maintain a full-time enrollment.

Students may wish to consider applying for May Lou Fulton or Marjorie Pay Hinckley Internship Grants, if their major is in the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences. Instructions to apply and online applications can be accessed at FHSS Internship Grants.

Students can also apply to the Department of Political Science for a grant to assist them in cover internship costs. For additional information and application instructions click HERE

Internship Credit Application

Students wishing to apply for political science internship credit should be certain their experience will meet all of the above criteria and then complete the on-line application form. 

Note that the following forms listed at the above site MUST be received and the credit approved well prior to the beginning of the work experience.

  1. On-line credit application form
  2. A signed Internship Master Agreement (IMA) if one is not already on file with the BYU Internship Office. You can review the Internship Master Agreement database to see if your internship provider already has one on file with BYU here. Call 801-422-6029 to if you can't find it. 

After your completed application has been received, you will be contacted by the Political Science Department Internship Director for a meeting to discuss if your internship qualified for credit and the course requirements.