The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Current Intern FAQ

I don't know what kind of position I want. What should I do?

Only you can decide what interests you and what fits into your future plans. Think about what interests you in the political system, and use this to guide your selection. If you can't think of anything you want to do, it may be that you shouldn't be doing an internship, and it may be better if you defer your internship until you are more focused. At the same time, you don't need to have the next decade of your life planned out. Internships often help students decide on the first steps of a professional path; but the experience may also help to eliminate options. The most important thing in the decision making process is to reflect on your choice of internships and to have a clear idea of why your are choosing to explore a certain type of work.

I have a pretty good idea about what kind of internship I want, but haven't obtained a slot anywhere. How should I go about finding an internship?

Part of the internship experience is finding and obtaining your position. You will probably need to some research to identify opportunities, and then to take some initiative to apply for and obtain a spot. There are links on the class website that may help you to do this, depending on what kind of position you want. Most government offices have a section for prospective employees that contains internship information. Most political organizations with web sites will contain similar information. But you shouldn't hesitate to pick up the phone and make a call to inquire about opportunities. This will often save you time and get you valuable information.

I've looked on the web, on bulletin boards, and asked around, but I still can't find a slot. Can I get help from the coordinator?

Yes. Contact the intenship coordinator via email or telephone.

How many hours should I work?

Interns for the standard 3-hour course should work 9-12 hours per week over the regular semester.

I'm having trouble finding information that helps me think about my particular position for the purposes of writing the papers. Where can I find help on this?

Start with a current textbook on Texas government and politics. If you can't find helpful information there, try doing some research in the library (using books and/or academic journals) on the office you're working in and on the roles it and institutions like it are expected to play in the political system. And don't forget that if you are working for a well-established organization (like a government agency), you can utilize the organization's institutional memory in the form of records and longtime employees to help you gather information and think about the organization and your role in it. And don't hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Henson -- it's expected that interns will use office hours and email extensively.

I don't understand what the instructor is looking for in the writing assignments. What can I do?

Interns are encouraged to come to Dr. Henson's office during office hours or to email him to make an appointment. Because there are fewer class hours in order to accomodate your work hours, everyone is expected to spend some time consulting with Dr. Henson one-on-one or in small groups about the writing assignments.

  • Department of Government

    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
    Austin, TX 78712-1704