The Sacramento Semester Program

More Information | Sacramento Semester Application Form | Scholarship Grant Application | Financial Aid Release Information Form | Sac Semester FAQs | 2013 Students | 2014 Students | 2015 Students | Brochure

Active Learning at Its Best

The Sacramento Semester Program, established in 1976 at California State University,Sacramento, is active learning at its best. As the most populous state in the U.S., California has a large and complex state government that deals with public policy on virtually all the issues that confront the nation as the new century begins. 

"I worked in the State Capitol, in a legislative office, for a legislator. This alone is reason enough to become part of this program."

The Sacramento Semester Program offers you, as a student at one of the 23 California State University campuses or other college or university, the opportunity to work with members of the legislature, departments in the executive branch, or with political associations and lobbyists during a four and one-half month internship. Typically, Sacramento Semester students conduct legislative research, monitor bills, correspond with constituents or grassroots membership, prepare press releases and newsletters, and participate in budget work and campaign planning.

"This program is quite simply the best and only way to learn about state government. The time spent in class reinforces the lessons of the work-place by adding background and depth."

Sacramento Semester alumni are found in top positions in all facets of state government. You'll meet many of them along with other political practitioners from inside and outside of government, including legislators, lobbyists, members of the press corps and constitutional officers at regular seminar/guest speaker sessions. The seminars, held on the CSUS campus and also in the Capitol building, provide background and depth to your internship experience.

Students will also benefit from activities of other programs of California State University, Sacramento-California's Capital University-including the Center for California Studies, the master's program in public policy and administration, and the department of government. The CSUS campus, home to more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students, is located just five miles from the Capitol.

The Sacramento Semester Program helps you:

  •   Acquire valuable skills, experiences and contacts that will enhance your career prospects.
  •   Balance and complement your academic preparation with practical experience.
  •   Meet leading personalities in California government and politics.
  •   Understand what's behind the news headlines about state government.
  •   Contribute to the formation of public policy in California-the seventh largest economy in the world.

Academic Credit

You receive 6 semester units (Credit/No credit) for working 25 hours per week in your intern placement. An additional 6 semester units (letter graded) are awarded for successful completion of the seminar. 

"I learned more during the Sacramento Semester than in any other term during my college years."

Academic units are transferred through the CSU IntraSystem Visitor program to your home campus.  Additional courses may be taken.

Michael Wadlé Recognition

Sacramento Semester & Fellowship Recognition

Financial Aid

If you are a student at one of the 23 California State University campuses, you are eligible for one of 10 state-funded scholarships of $4,000 to help cover costs of relocating to Sacramento for the program. The award is made based on the excellence of your qualifications and demonstrated financial need. Scholarship applications, as well as the program application, are available on-line at this site. 

"The personal contacts that I developed in and around the Capitol helped me land my first job. I was present when my legislator telephoned my future employer on my behalf."

If you are a student at a college or university other than a CSU campus, you are eligible to apply for a smaller amount of assistance from the Sacramento Semester Endowment. Students from San Jose State University may apply for the Truax Scholarship; contact the political science office at San Jose State for details. Most financial aid grants may be transferred from the home campus to California State University, Sacramento for the program.

Application Criteria

Students from all majors are encouraged to apply; state government has need of and opportunity for students with training in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Undergraduate Sacramento Semester students must be in their junior or senior year. Graduate students may also apply. Among selection criteria are grade point average, strong writing skills, employment history, and extra-curricular activities.

"In my member's office, I learned how to work a bill through the whole was fantastic."

Applications are initially screened on your home campus by the program's faculty representative, and then sent to Sacramento for final acceptance. There is a representative in the political science department on your campus who can help with questions and application procedures.


Application deadline is the first Friday in November. Turn in your completed application to the program's faculty representative in the political science department on your campus.

You will receive notification of acceptance into the program in early December. This will be followed by preliminary information about course registration, housing, the Sacramento area, etc.

The program begins with the start of the Spring semester in late January. An orientation is held Wednesday through Friday the week before classes begin. Placement interviews also begin this week.

The program ends in late May.

For more information you may contact the political science department office on your home campus, or the program director at CSU Sacramento. Applications are available on-line at this site.

Maria Sampanis, Director
Sacramento Semester Program
(916) 278-6673
Department of Political Science
California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-6089