The MA internship offers students six months of paid, practical work experience in a public policy, public administration or political position. The internship gives students the opportunity to complete the program through a work experience that allows them to apply knowledge to practice, enriching classroom learning by combining academic research with practical professional experience.
Students engage in relevant graduate coursework for their first two semesters in the program, laying the foundation for their placement. Students then apply their knowledge in a six-month internship placement (during the summer and second fall semester of their degree), during which they will also participate in regular seminars. Themes or questions arising from their placement will form the basis for an Internship Report and Presentation to be completed during the last two months of their degree program (in the second fall semester), requiring students to synthesize the theory and practice of their internship experience. The presentation of the paper takes place at the end of the second fall semester and includes an audience of fellow students, employers and prospective employers.
Laura Robinson worked in the Chief Administrative Office at the City of Windsor in 2013. During this internship, Laura was involved in project and risk management, policy writing, performance management and reporting as well as several research initiatives.
There is no separate application for the internship option. Students who begin the MA program in September are given the opportunity of applying for an internship position once in the program but placements are not guaranteed. This is an elite option and only the students with the highest academic averages and who succeed in an interview process will participate in the internship. Students who are successful in procuring a placement will be required to be registered under course POLS 8950 during the inter-session/summer and fall semesters in order to complete the internship stream. Please note that all students who complete the program, by whichever option, will graduate with an M.A. in Political Science.
Students apply for an internship early in the winter semester. The graduate committee selects the successful candidates who subsequently interview with employers in order to secure a placement. It is expected that there will be approximately 10 positions available for students entering the program in September.
Students who successfully secure an internship placement complete three further graduate courses in the winter semester. They then begin their full-time internship in May. The exact placements vary each year but potential employers include municipal governments such as the City of Windsor; local, provincial and national politicians; and non-governmental agencies such as the Alzheimer Society. Periodically during the placement, students participate in seminars at the University that cover academic issues and job-finding strategies.
Placements run for approximately six months and are paid positions. Students remain in the placement until November. Once the placement is completed, students write a research paper (approximate length 25 pages) under the supervision of a faculty member that is assessed on a pass/fail basis. The papers are presented at a public event in December that marks the completion of the degree.
Please note that students starting the graduate program in January cannot complete the internship option in their first year because of the timing of internship placements.