Information about the Utah State Legislature Internship
The BYU Political Science Department is pleased to announce the Utah State Legislature Internship Program for the Winter Semester. A limited number of students will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience as they participate in the legislative process. Note that the internship program in 2021 is subject to the status of the COVID-19 virus. It is very likely there will be internships with the state legislature Winter semester. Whether or not they will be on-site or remote has yet to be determined. Interested and qualified students are encouraged to apply. Continue to check with the FHSS Internship Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for updated information. The information below describes the on-site program, but may be subject to change Winter 2021.
Who Should Apply?
The Utah State Legislature Internship is an excellent experience for students interested in the legislative and policy process. Interns work as personal assistants to legislators in researching legislation, attending committee hearings, meeting with constituents and lobbyists, and observing first-hand the process through which laws are made.
This excellent program is open to undergraduate or graduate students of any major who have an interest in the legislative process. Students who are residents of states other than Utah are encouraged to apply. To qualify, an applicant must be a junior, senior or graduate student, have the ability to express himself or herself clearly, both orally and in writing, including the ability to digest, condense, and prepare forms and reports; have a general understanding of the legislative process; be a self-starter and be capable of working with little or no supervision; and have good interpersonal skills. Non-U.S. citizens must have a Permanent Resident Permit ("Green Card") that allows them to work full-time during Winter semester.
To be considered applicants must be juniors or seniors in good academic standing with a minimum 2.7 G.P.A. In exceptional cases, sophomores with previous employment, military, or mission experience may be considered. A student must also be in good honor code and academic standing with the university at the time of application. Because interns will be employees of the Utah Legislature during the Winter semester, all applicants will have to successfully complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Successful candidates must register and pay the associated tuition for a minimum of eight credits (POLI 397 and 399R) that are required of all participants on the program. Candidates must also be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from the beginning of Winter semester until the end of the legislative session (in March). Frequently interns need to work late attending committee hearings or doing other necessary tasks, so applicants who have any obligations in the evenings during the session, including taking other course work at the BYU Salt Lake Center or on the Provo campus will not be considered for the internship.
When is the Internship?
This program is available during Winter semesters only. Participants must be available full-time from the beginning of Winter semester through early March. About the second week of the second block the internship ends and students may enroll in two political science seminars designed to complement the internship experience. Students not accepted as interns with the legislature may be able to arrange for paid or unpaid internship with executive branch offices and other organizations that have an interest in the legislature. Visit the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences (FHSS) Internship Office at 945 SWKT for more information.
Winter 2021 APPLICATION DEADLINE: November 2, 2020
What State Legislature Interns Do
Students are assigned to work with one or more members of the Utah State Senate or House of Representatives and may be able to assist in researching current issues, preparing for committee hearings, drafting legislation, and dealing with constituents and interest groups. Participating students will be involved with the program full-time during the legislative session.
Political Science Credit
Fourteen upper-division credits are available for those participating on the program. Students will receive three to six hours of POLI 399R (which may be counted as elective credit for a Political Science major or minor). Additionally, students may enroll in two, three-credit, upper-division political science seminars to be held at the conclusion of the internship (both of which can count as electives toward a Political Science major or minor). These seminars will be related to the participants' experience with the legislature.
Participating students are required to complete a two-credit orientation course (POLI 397) which will be taught during the first three weeks of Winter semester. Students must be available full-time during those weeks for the course work. Registration for the course is by permission-to-add code, issued by the FHSS Internship Office.
Credit will only be granted to students who are officially accepted on the Utah State Legislature Internship program through the BYU Political Science Internship Director. Students who volunteer to work with a member of the legislature and have not been accepted for the official program may not receive academic credit.
The legislature provides a stipend of $2,775 for participating students. Interns receive half the stipend midway through the legislative session and the balance after the session has ended. Any scholarships, grants or other financial aid students normally receive can be used for this program.
Important Application Information
The following must be included as part of your application.
- Online Application
- One-page statement of intent. Typed 250 to 350 word statement detailing your reasons for wanting to intern at the Utah State Legislature, what work assignments in the internship would interest you, and your abilities and character traits that will make you an asset as a legislative intern. You must include a statement indicating that you will be available to work full-time, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at the State Capitol during the legislative session. Students who cannot commit to this schedule will not be interviewed nor accepted to the program.
- Typed professional résumé no longer than one page. Should include description of work experience (including mission), computer skills (including software with which you are familiar), research tools (i.e. statistics) you can use, volunteer activities (only those relevant to the internship), and campaign or political experience/activities (if any). See the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences Internship Office or University Career Services for suggestions on résumé preparation.
- Two confidential letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a university faculty member who has taught you in a class and can evaluate your academic skills; the other may be from an employer or a second university faculty member who has taught you in class. No letters will be accepted from members of your family. You are not required to waive your right of access to the letters of recommendation. However, most faculty and other individuals will not write them unless you do waive this right.
- Three to five page writing sample. Clean copy of a paper demonstrating your research and writing abilities. You may use a paper, or a portion of a paper, written for a class assignment or other project as long as it is free of instructor's marks. Be certain to retain the original.
- Note that the FHSS Internship Office will print and include with your application the list of courses with grades taken at BYU and other universities. When you submit your application to this program, you are giving permission for our office to print and include this list with your application materials.
All application materials become the property of the BYU Political Science Department and will not be returned to you; this includes letters of recommendation which cannot be transferred to other parties not involved in this internship program.
Materials not able to be completed online are to be submitted to the FHSS Office Manager, 945 SWKT, by the published deadline.
Upon submission of your application, we will schedule an interview for you with the Political Science Internship Director. A letter notifying you of your status with the program will be sent within a few days of the interview.
If accepted, you must confirm your decision to participate by paying a $200 deposit to the BYU online Financial Center. The deposit will be refunded to you at the end of Winter semester, but will be forfeited if you withdraw from the BYU Utah State Legislature Internship Program.
At the beginning of Winter semester, all participants must register for and complete a two-credit course (POLI 397) that prepares them to work at the legislature. Students must be available all day, Monday-Friday, during the three weeks this course is taught.
All participants in this program must register for six hours of upper-division political science internship credit, POLI 399R. Participants have the option of also registering for two three-credit seminars that will be taught second block Winter semester (see the FHSS Internship Office for additional information).
How to Apply
Winter 2021 deadline is November 2, 2020. We encourage early application to help insure that all materials are received by the deadline. However, no decisions about admission are made until after the deadline. For more information, contact the FHSS Internship Office, 801-422-2168.