Guidelines for the Political Science Off-Campus Experience
An important part of the political science major is the off-campus experience. This
provides opportunities for students to explore career possibilities, learn more about
their own work styles, appreciate how non-academic organizations work, develop maturity
and leadership skills, and, in the case of Study Abroad, develop the skills need to
live and work in a different culture and society.
The off-campus experience is just that: an experience. It is not a course unit requirement.
Therefore, it may or may not coincide with enrolling in a particular course. Since
the department’s adoption of this requirement over a decade ago, we have allowed students
to satisfy the off-campus experience in the following ways:
- A semester or year of study abroad through:
- An internship for academic credit: PSCI 396 or PSCI 397. For more information, see
PSCI 396 or 397 – Which internship should I take?
- May Term travel courses that are offered through our department.
- Select May Travel courses outside the major (on a case-by-case basis with the approval
of the Chair prior to course enrollment and completion).
"Will activity 'x' count?"
Students often come to us after undertaking interesting but informal summer projects
and ask if this activity will count. The same thing happens with extracurricular activities
and volunteer service a student may be performing beyond regular coursework during
the academic year. These kinds of experiences, while laudable, do not satisfy our
off-campus experience requirement.
Specifically, we expect the off-campus experience to involve all of the following:
- Deliberate prior planning around desired learning outcomes,
- At least 140 hours of structured involvement (for internships), and
- Documented evidence of ongoing reflection on the experience.
Just because a particular activity happens to occur off campus does not make it an
If you have questions about this requirement, be sure to speak to your advisor or
the department chair. We look forward to helping you find a meaningful way to satisfy
this requirement that fits with your learning plan and development within the major