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University of Edinburgh Political Internship Program

Program Site: University of Edinburgh's main campus in the city center. Internships are located in the Scottish Parliament building near Holyrood Park.

Eligibility: 3.0 cumulative GPA and completion of two years of college before the start of the program. While this program is open to all majors, students should have a demonstrated interest in politics, either through coursework or internships. Students should also have some knowledge of current political issues in Scotland. Students will be required to obtain a Tier 4 Visa for this program.

With a population of about 500,000, Edinburgh is regularly voted one of Europe’s most desirable places to live. The medieval ‘old town’ sits beside the elegant Georgian ‘new town’ creating a unique blend of ancient and modern architecture.  There is something for everyone: from museums and art galleries to a great clubbing and music scene. Over half of the city is covered by parkland and public gardens, making it a perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. London is about four hours away by train, and the city has an international airport connecting it with all of Europe.

Through the University of Edinburgh’s Academy of Government, students can intern with a Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP). The 1998 Scottish Act established the first Scottish Parliament since 1707. This program is designed for students who want to gain meaningful experience in politics while making a contribution to the development of this young institution.

Academics: The first five weeks of the program are spent studying British and Scottish politics and the nature of Scottish society. Students then meet their assigned MSP and determine an area of research; the remaining ten weeks are spent interning full time. Students gain hands-on experience in policy-making and are expected to produce meaningful work that contributes to the development of Scottish political life. At the end of the term students write a research paper; recent topics include Scotland's New Mental Health Act; Youth Crime in Scotland; Scotland and Current EU and NATO Military Policies; Comparative Health Systems; and Women's Representation in Scottish Politics.

Course load and Credit: Students take three courses, for the first 5 weeks, followed by 10 weeks of a full-time internship. Students earn 13.5 units for the semester. During the internship period students are expected to complete a major research paper under the direction of their MSP.

Activities and Other Program Features: Interns participate in various activities designed to better acquaint them with Scottish political life, including meetings with Scottish journalists and members of the European Commission in Scotland, sitting in on Parliamentary Committee meetings, and video nights watching British political satire.

Interns are also fully enrolled University of Edinburgh students, and are invited to take advantage of  activities offered on campus. The University offers about 180 student clubs and its International Students’ Centre runs a program of events throughout the year. The Students’ Association occupies four buildings on campus, comprising bars, libraries, TV rooms, theatres, snooker rooms and more; its entertainment program features debates, regular DJs and live music.

In addition, the USC UK Resident Coordinator leads several excursions in England and Scotland each semester, which are open to all students attending UK universities through USC Dornsife overseas programs.

Accommodations: Guaranteed housing in single rooms in university-owned apartments. Meal plans are not available.

Dates: Fall or Spring. Fall semester runs from mid September to mid December, spring semester runs from early January to late April.

Estimated Semester Cost:
Additional Expenses*............$11,715

Cost Updated: 4/7/15
Text Updated: 8/25/15

*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.

University of Edinburgh Political Internship Program
University of Edinburgh
Scottish Parliament
UK Border Agency - Tier 4 Visa information