Skip to main content

Government Department

Government Department Internships

The internships in government and politics offered through the Government Department create opportunities for upper division and graduate students at CSUS to gain direct experience working in state legislative offices, with lobbying groups, in state executive agencies and at various locations in city and county government.

This experience provides valuable "active learning" to supplement academic classes in government and politics. Moreover, it is an especially useful way to network and explore career possibilities in government. Each year several students move from internships into full-time employment in various sites in state government and elsewhere.

The Government Department Internship Program (GOVT 195A)

Government 195A Internship Procedures
Government 195A Internship Syllabus

The upper division internship course is available each semester (including summer). To qualify, students must meet all of the following requirements;

  • Be at least a junior (preferably a senior) who has completed 74 units. In terms of career-exploration and job opportunities, the later you do the internship (perhaps your last semester is best of all) the better able you are to take advantage of such possibilities.
  • You should have had at least 12 units of upper division course work in Government before undertaking the internship; one of these courses must be Govt. 180, California State and Local Government, unless you are planning on doing the Sacramento Semester Program (see below).
  • You must have passed the Writing Proficiency for Juniors Exam (WPJ). No exceptions
  • Your overall GPA must be at least 2.5.

Do not assume you will receive credit for something you have set up for yourself. See the Internship Coordinator, Professor Wadlé, as soon as you contemplate an internship. The department will be as cooperative as possible in working with you to accommodate an internship opportunity you have found on your own; however, this is not always possible.

Internships must be supervised by the government department in "real time." We do not award credit after the fact for a work experience you may have had.

Govt. 195A, can be taken for 1 to 6 units. Generally, the student intern must work 60 hours for each unit of credit; thus a 6-unit internship requires about 360 hours of work in the site. This is approximately 24 hours a week for a semester, more in summer. We strongly urge students to commit themselves to more time in the internship site rather than less. The more time you are in the office the more responsibility you are likely to be given and the more you will learn.

For Government majors, 3 units of the internship may be counted in the 33-unit upper division requirement. An additional 3 units of internship credit may be used to fulfill the remaining six units of the major. In any case, Govt. 195 units may be counted toward the 120 units required for the B.A. degree.

Students in the graduate program in government may apply 3 units of Govt. 295 to their 30-unit requirement, with the approval of the graduate adviser, Professor Jim Cox, if one of the fields they are offering is California state and local government.

The internship course is graded Credit/No Credit. When, in the opinion of the faculty and job supervisor, an intern's work is "passing" but of sub-standard quality, a reduction may be made in the number of credit hours earned. Ask for a copy of the course syllabus for all requirements of the internship course.

The Washington D.C. Internship 

CSU Sacramento is affiliated with the Washington Center, a non-profit educational organization in Washington, D.C. which operates internship programs for over two hundred colleges and universities across the country. Through this affiliation, our students may undertake an internship in Washington, and earn 12 units of academic credit. The drawback of this program is its cost. Students must pay a substantial program fee to the Washington Center as well as pay for housing, transportation and incidentals. Limited opportunities for scholarships are available, especially for minority students. Students who think they are interested should see Prof. Wadlé.

What To Do First

In the current situation, there are more internship openings available to students than we have a hope of filling. Students do not have to recruit their own positions!

See Professor Michael Wadlé, whose office is in Tahoe Hall, 3101. You must fill out an application for the internship course and talk with him about your interest. It's best to talk with him during the semester before you want to do an internship. Call him at 278-4012 to make an appointment or e-mail him at

Complete a resume. Before you set out on interviews, you will need to have an up-to-date, no-frills resume that details your education and any work experience you have had.

Cover letter. It would be helpful to accompany your resume with a cover letter. A sample is available from Prof. Wadlé.

Writing sample. Some offices may request a writing sample. Others won't. Have one handy. And be prepared that some offices may ask you to sit down and do a writing sample on the spot. This might take the form of answering a letter.

Tips for Being a Successful Intern

Plan your internship well ahead, at least by a semester, in order to give yourself time to accommodate it in your academic and/or work schedule and to have time to make a proper selection.

Interview a minimum of two or three offices so you will have the chance to choose from more than one. Generally, there are more offices available than interns so you should be in demand. Take the opportunity to seek the best possible site.