Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about the POSC 395 and/or IR 391 internship courses, the intake process, or course requirements that are not answered below, please contact Unruh Institute of Politics at

What is an internship?

An internship is an unpaid or low-paid position that allows you to get experience in a professional field. Interns are assigned a supervisor by the office in which they work. At the beginning of an internship, the supervisor and the intern agree upon the intern’s duties and work schedule. At the end of the internship, the supervisor evaluates the intern’s performance.

The Unruh Institute offers internship placements with elected officials, political consultants, non-profit organizations, state and local government agencies, environmental organizations, political parties and campaigns, interest groups, political media and more.

How do I apply for an internship?

If you are interested in obtaining an internship during the academic year (during the fall, spring, or summer semester), please contact the Unruh Institute via email ( to schedule an interview with the Unruh Institute Manager. Ahead of the meeting, please fill out the current Student Interest Form (Spring 2024 Student Interest Form). During the appointment, the Unruh Institute Manager will provide you with some available internship opportunities based on your political and public service interests.

Students: All provider correspondence is handled through the Unruh Institute Student Programs Manager.

Can I find my own internship?

Yes, you can secure an internship on your own. However, the internship MUST be political in nature. Approval prior to the course registration is required. In order to gain approval, please email Professor Iva Bozovic, the professor for the course, with a description of the internship provider organization or firm and a brief overview of your responsibilities. Professor Bozovic’s email address is

Can I receive course credit through the University of Southern California for my internship?

Yes. The Unruh Institute of Politics offers supplemental internship courses, POSC 395: Directed Governmental and Political Leadership Internship and IR 391: Directed International Relations Field Study. Students can earn credit for political internships by enrolling in POSC 395 or IR 391. The course requires D-clearance. Before the Unruh Institute is able to grant students D-clearance, they are required to apply, obtain the internship, and fill out the required paperwork (to view more details on how to apply for an internship, please review the “how do I apply for an internship?” section).

The required paperwork includes an internship student agreement form (filled out by both the internship supervisor and the student).

How many hours do I have to intern?

The amount of credit available depends on the number of hours that students work at their internship in total. Students are required to fulfill their number of hours by the last day of classes at 5pm. Please see below for the required number of hours per unit:

Credit Units and Hours

  • 2 units – 120 hours
  • 3 units – 180 hours
  • 4 units – 240 hours
  • 5 units – 300 hours
  • 6 units – 360 hours
  • 7 units – 420 hours
  • 8 units – 480 hours

*Hours must be completed by the last day of classes of the academic calendar.

Do the units count toward my major?

Up to 4 units of POSC 395 can be applied to the Political Science major or minor & up to 4 units of IR 391 can be applied to the International Relations major or minor. POSC 395 units are also sometimes required for International Relations minors. Units may count toward major degree programs in many fields, or may count toward your upper-division university requirements for graduation. See the Unruh Institute Manager or Internship Director for more information.

Is there a set meeting time for the class?

No. POSC 395 nor IR 391 meet on a weekly, set basis. Events throughout the semester will be arranged prior to the start of the class.

What are the requirements for POSC 395?

Orientation is a an hour long meeting held on the 4th week of classes to review course requirements and set interns up for success in their internship placement.

The written requirements for the course include a two-page research proposal, an outline and annotated bibliography, and a final research paper. Students are also required to attend two political events and compose one page memos for each event. Students submit these written materials to the Blackboard system for grading.

Students are also required to attend two professional development events throughout the semester. All students are required to attend at least two events every semester enrolled in POSC 395.

What are the requirements for IR 391?

The written requirements of this course include a research proposal, an outline and bibliography, and a final 8-10 page research paper. Students are required to attend one pre-professional session and must complete one career development assignment.

Is POSC 395 required for an internship placement?

Yes, students are required to take POSC 395 if they are being placed in an internship through the Unruh Institute, unless the internship is during the summer or, in very rare cases, during the fall/spring semesters.

Does the Unruh Institute provide an on-campus internship course?

Yes. The Unruh Institute administers an on-campus policy research internship. This course allows students to conduct research on major political and public service challenges facing local, state, and federal levels. To learn more about POSC 395 Policy Research Internship, please contact the Unruh Institute via email (

Does the Unruh Institute offer any awards or scholarship for students?

Yes, but only for summer internship opportunities. The Unruh Institute offers a variety of summer awards that are open to undergraduate students of all majors currently pursuing degrees at USC. To learn more about the Summer Scholarship and Awards, please contact the Unruh Institute via email (

The 2023 Summer Scholarship application is now closed. Please check back in March 2024 for the 2024 Summer Scholarship application.

Does the Unruh Institute offer any fellowships for students?

No, not directly through the Unruh Institute. However, we have put together a list of political fellowships offered through prestigious outside organizations.