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:

"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 “off-campus experience.”

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 and beyond.