The Center for the Political Future’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics awards more than $100,000 in scholarships annually. USC students are invited to apply for these political internship scholarships and awards, which are generally available for the Summer semester (not Fall or Spring). Award amounts vary. Details about the scholarship winners, award categories, and eligibility requirements are listed below.



All awards are open to undergraduate students of all majors currently pursuing degrees at USC with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must be USC students through the Summer 2024 semester and not graduated. Internships must be unpaid or low-paid and students must work a minimum of 15 hours per week, totaling 200 hours for the summer semester.

While it is not required to have an internship confirmed when submitting an application, students should have applied to a number of possible internships and have a strong area of interest or specific internship placement in mind. As these are competitive awards, in addition to exemplary academic work, candidates should demonstrate an interest in politics, government or public service, as shown through:

  • Attending and/or organizing political events (especially on-campus events)
  • Prior political volunteerism
  • Political internships
  • Politically-related student activities
  • Attendance and/or participation in CPF/Unruh Institute events
  • Having completed and/or enrolled in POSC 395/IR 391

How to Apply

Application Instructions:

Step one: Complete the Google form for the Summer Scholarship application

Step two: Submit the following documents on the form:

  • Unofficial Transcript (Downloadable by printing your “Completed Course Summary” at
  • Resume
  • 250-500 word essay explaining what you hope to gain during your political internship this summer and why the scholarship is important to you.

Finalists will be invited to participate in a 15 minute interview with the selections committee during the week of March 25th.

The 2024 Summer Scholarship application is now open! The application deadline is Sunday, March 17, 2024 at 11:59PM PT.

Direct all questions regarding scholarships, awards, or selection process to Steph Domond at


2023 Summer Scholarship Recipients

2023 Summer Scholarship Award recipients group photo
2023 Summer Scholarship Award recipients group photo

Join the Center for the Political Future’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics in honoring our 2023 SCHOLARSHIP AWARD RECIPIENTS. These USC students have demonstrated excellence in the classroom and persisted as inspiring, change-driving individuals in their communities. Learn about each of these amazing 2023 scholarship and leadership award winners, including how their scholarship funds were applied in pursuit of their careers in politics, government, and civic engagement. Fight on!

Get information about previous year’s scholarship and leadership award winners: 2022 winners and 2021 winners.


About the Scholarship Awards

Photo collage of 2022 summer scholarship and awards recipients
Photo collage of 2022 summer scholarship and awards recipients

Diana Chudacoff Levin Award

The Diana Chudacoff Levin Award provides support to outstanding students who would like to explore the real world of politics through an internship experience. Students who demonstrate an interest in the political process and whose aspirations include future civic engagement are most likely to be successful in the highly competitive selection process. Interns may take positions in political and governmental offices in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Washington D.C. and other locations throughout the United States. All internships must be unpaid. Those selected will enroll in POSC 395: Directed Governmental and Political Leadership Internship, and must fulfill the course requirements. Award winners will receive a generous stipend and/or 2 units of tuition credit to be applied to POSC 395.

Kam Kuwata Award for Political Involvement

The Kam Kuwata Award for Political Involvement will offer an award to a student or students whose academic work, political involvement, and civic engagement has prepared him/her for the valuable experience of working on a political campaign. The award will be given to a student or students who have demonstrated a strong interest in campaign politics and provide them with financial support to work on behalf of a candidate or ballot initiative that inspires them.

Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Award

The Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Award will provide a stipend for a student or students who are pursuing internship opportunities working to promote social, racial, gender and political equality in underserved communities. Students with an interest in working for non-profit organizations or public agencies that provide resources to historically marginalized groups will be highly competitive for this award.

Elizabeth Garrett Leadership Award

The Elizabeth Garrett Leadership Award recognizes a graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in their academic work, political involvement, and extracurricular endeavors. The Elizabeth Garrett Award is offered to a student leader whose experience demonstrates an interest in working to motivate future leaders to pursue leadership roles in public service, politics and government.

Gloria Molina Award

The Gloria Molina Award provides financial support to outstanding USC student leaders who are pursuing unpaid or low paid internships in Los Angeles or California politics.


Learn more about CPF’s Internship Programs and Scholarships from this video highlight.