Policy Studies offers a program of study that combines the intellectual breadth of liberal arts and science with practical concerns of politics and industry to prepare the next generation of leaders in a globalized society. The internship experience is a critical part of this mission.

At the outset we emphasize that each student majoring in Policy Studies must accept personal responsibility for finding, applying for, and securing an internship that satisfies the Policy Studies degree requirement. This process may be and often is time-consuming. Students are encouraged to start early, check application deadlines, and make full use of the internship-related resources available to Lafayette College students. Throughout the internship application process, the faculty and staff affiliated with the Policy Studies program and the Office of Career Services offer guidance, counseling, workshops, databanks, partnership agreements, and access to a far-reaching alumni network.

Students receive course credit for the internship upon completion of PSTD 400, “Policy Internship and Seminar.” A student may enroll in PSTD 400 simultaneously with actual internship work, or during the semester immediately following the internship work. Students enrolled in PSTD 400 are expected to produce a report that builds on and extends the real world lessons of the workplace experience. The workplace experience and subsequent seminar and report in PSTD 400 are tailored to a student’s specific theme of concentration. For students who qualify for the Honors Program, the work accomplished in PSDT 400 ideally would emerge into an Honors thesis (PSTD 495 / 496).

Policy-Oriented Internship and Report (Policy Studies 400)

A satisfactory policy-oriented internship approved by the Policy Studies program Chair is required. The internship should be tailored to a student’s theme of concentration and typically will take place at the sponsor’s site. Under particular circumstances the internship might be completed on campus or at another location relevant to the project, such as a national capital. Following the internship, students participate in a seminar (Policy Studies 400) to build on the lessons of the internship experience and to prepare a report. This seminar and written report must be completed by the end of the semester after the internship to receive credit.

Internship Options

Policy Studies internships typically adopt one of the models described below.

Internships linked to a Study Abroad Semester

  • Usually one semester during the fall or spring of the junior year
  • Internships can be arranged in addition to the courses.
  • A student may register for PTSD 400 (or the course equivalent at the external institution) during this semester abroad.

Summer Internships

  • Normally between the junior and senior years
  • Student’s coursework must be approved in advance and be supervised by a member of the department as well as by personnel at the workplace.
  • Students would enroll in PSDT 400 in the fall semester following the internship and complete the report based on the summer experience.
  • Summer Internship Opportunity at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C.

On-Campus Internships

  • An applied policy-related project or consulting contract usually in collaboration with a Lafayette professor affiliated with the Policy Studies Program.
  • Under some circumstances, a student may register for PTSD 400 and complete the academic report and the internship simultaneously.

Getting Started

Start early! Application deadlines are months or even a year ahead of the internship period. As an example, a fall semester U.S. State Department internship has an application deadline of Nov. 1 of the prior year.

  • As a Policy Studies major it is recommended that you attend a workshop on résumé preparation. Please browse the Career Services Office to determine a workshop that fits your schedule.
  • Complete a data sheet and send it to 112 Simon Center, Attn: Professor Mark Crain. If you have difficulty downloading this document please contact Julie O’Brien at obrienjc@lafayette.edu
  • Contact the Office of Career Services to obtain a dedicated Gateway Counselor and make an appointment with him or her for a résumé review. Getting an appointment and making changes after consulting with the Gateway Counselor might take a week or two, so keep this in mind when considering internship application deadlines.
  • All credit-bearing Policy Studies internships must be approved in advance by the program Chair, which is currently Professor Mark Crain.

Searching and Applying for Internships

  • Make an appointment with your designated Gateway Counselor for training in the use of Job Vault, a Lafayette database of summer internships, alumni-sponsored internships, and regional and national internship programs.
  • Make an appointment with the Policy Studies Program Chair to make sure that the selected internships qualify for the degree program.
  • Revise and tailor your résumé to the specific internship(s) to which you will be applying,
  • Write a cover letter. Career Services advises that all cover letters should be personalized and customized to each specific internship to which a student applies.
  • Make an appointment with your Career Services Gateway Counselor to review the entire application package, and make appropriate revisions.

Your application may require the following:

  • Official Lafayette transcript, which can be requested from the Registrar’s Office
  • Letters of recommendation: (3) letters of recommendation are suggested, addressed generically “To Whom It May Concern” for multiple use
  • Writing sample

Accepting an Internship

  • Internship data sheet
  • Supervisor agreement letter
  • You do not have to accept your first offer. Talk with your advisor and Career Services staff first.

Completing Your Requirement

  • Hours required by internship sponsor
  • Self-evaluation form within two weeks after your internship ends. This form is available at the Policy Studies Office, 305 Ramer History House.
  • PSTD 400 Report

Contact Information

W. Mark Crain
112 Simon Center
Tel: (610) 330-5315
Email: crainm@lafayette.edu

Career Services
201 Hogg Hall
Tel: (610) 330-5115

View list of companies that offer internships