Political Science Education and the Profession

Evaluating Alternative Designs of Internship Programs

Art Auerbach University of Southern California
Yael Wolinsky-Nahmias University of Southern California
College degrees used to be evaluated primarily by their academic content and intellectual depth, when graduating from a university was sufficient to ensure gainful employment. However, as the economy has changed, so too have the requirements for entering the working world and graduate professional schools. Internships have become a key for post-graduation employment, and often an important means for improving the quality and significance of early professional placement. Internships give students an opportunity to acquire useful work experience, and perhaps more importantly, an understanding of the type of career they might wish to pursue after graduation. Although most undergraduates tend to think of all internship programs in similar terms, not all internship programs are the same. This paper examines three different internships programs offered at the University of Southern California, compares the organizational and process components of the programs, and assesses the impact of the programs on the student participants.