Experiential Learning Opportunities
Experiential learning opportunities are integral to the political science program. Political science majors can earn credit through internships, independent study projects with faculty, and tutoring their fellow students.
The most common form of experiential learning completed by political science majors is internships. These range from part-time local internships completed as part of a full-time course load to semester- or summer-long full-time internships. Some possible internships include:
Local internship possibilities:
- Plattsburgh Mayor’s Office
- Plattsburgh City Council
- Plattsburgh District Attorney’s Office
- North Country Legal Services
- Clinton County Board of Elections
- U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik’s Plattsburgh Office
- Various political campaigns
Albany internship possibilities:
- New York State Assembly Internship Program
- New York State Senate Undergraduate Session Assistants Program
- New York State government agencies
New York internship possibilities:
- SUNY Global Engagement Program — New Paltz: Helps students find internships with a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations, the United Nations, and the New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs
- Local offices of state and national politicians
Washington D.C. internship possibilities:
- SUNY Washington Internship Program — Brockport: Helps students find internships with a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations including government agencies, trade groups, and lobbying organizations.
- Washington Internship Institute — Helps students find internships with a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations including government agencies, trade groups, and lobbying organizations.
Political science students have the opportunity to do independent study projects with faculty members. These can consist of an independent study project, co-researching with a faculty member, or be a customized course. Independent study projects involve the student doing original research on their own, under the supervision of a faculty member, and producing an extensively researched paper as the final product. Students engaged in research with a faculty member may be doing research in support of the faculty member or they may be doing an original research project with the faculty member with a goal of producing a co-authored paper. Customized courses are independent studies of a topic that is not currently covered in detail in an existing course. As such, they involve a professor creating a reading list and assignments like they would for a regular course. Some recent independent study projects include:
- An independent research project on the political role of the Zimbabwe defense forces.
- An independent research project on U.S. educational policy (as an advanced honors thesis).
- An independent research project on the threat posed by biological terrorism to the U.S.
- An independent research project on punk and metal music as a form of political thought.
- A customized course on identity politics in the U.S.
- An independent research project on the history of Puerto Rican women’s political activism.
Students with strong academic records in their political science courses are sometimes invited to do a teaching practicum for a specific course or set of courses. These students are able to earn credit towards their degree by serving as a tutor for their fellow students and helping them with class-related challenges like understanding the assigned materials, gathering and analyzing data, and composing well-written essays.