Internships in Politics, Advocacy and Public Service

Internships are an opportunity for students to gain real-world, professional experience. The right internship can jumpstart a student’s career and clarify what they want to do after graduation. Internships are also a means to build a professional network and establish references for future employment.

This page and its links contain a range of internships in various political science fields, e.g., public service, issue advocacy and community engagement.

The Department of Political Science provides two for-credit internship courses that students register for and then complete under faculty supervision, namely PLSI 603/604 and PLSI 610/611 (see below for more information). We also offer other classes that may include community service learning components. Please note that not all internship courses are offered every semester.

Many of these resources are from outside organizations that are unaffiliated with San Francisco State University. Some, but not all, of these organizations offer paid internships.

Students are responsible for all internship applications. Likewise, the Department does not guarantee any student an internship. For internship classes, students should inquire with presiding faculty members. Students should apply to outside organizations directly.

The U.S. federal government offers many paid and unpaid internships. Interested students should consult with USA Jobs website.

Students with Representative Jackie Speier and all holding political sign

SF State PLSI grad Samanthan Logan interns with Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

Disclaimer: These listings are an assortment of political science-related opportunities within the greater Bay Area community. Inclusion of any particular internship does not connote Department or University support for that organization, representative, candidate or cause. Not all listed organizations will have current internship opportunities, and some organizations will accept student interns even if they don’t advertise the positions. The Department encourages students to reach out to organizations that interest them; it never hurts to ask!

PLSI 603/604

PLSI 603/604 is an opportunity for students to earn academic credit by interning in political or political adjacent fields, such as government, non-profit issue advocacy and community organizing.

In conjunction, PLSI 603 and 604 are worth four Political Science elective units:

  • PLSI 603 (three-units) is the internship. Students are responsible for searching for and obtaining their internship placements. Participants will work 12-15 hours per week at instructor-approved organizations.
  • PLSI 604 (one-unit) is an on-campus seminar comprising several mandatory meetings and internship-related written assignments.

Before registering for the course, students must attend an orientation meeting with the presiding instructor. Those who cannot attend the orientation should promptly arrange to meet with the instructor individually.

Students who attend the orientation will be granted priority registration status for the course.

As stated above, students are responsible for securing their internships. However, there are resources elsewhere on this page that will help guide them in their search.

PLSI 603/604 is conditional on instructor approval. Students who have not locked down an instructor-approved internship by the first week of the Spring semester will lose their registration in the course. Please note that you may not receive credit for this course after you have already worked for or interned at an organization.

For more information, please contact Prof. Jason McDaniel by email at mcdaniel@sfsu.edu.

Internship students together smiling and holding certificate

PLSI 610/611

PLSI 610/611 is a four-unit judicial internship that pairs undergraduates with San Francisco Superior Court Judges. This internship is especially valuable for students planning to apply to law school. It is divided into two parts:

  • PLSI 610 is the internship itself, a weekly ten-hour commitment at the courthouse, working directly with an SF judge and their staff (three units).
  • PLSI 611 is the class, a weekly fifty-minute group meeting on campus with the presiding instructor (one unit).

Interested students should not register for the course in advance but instead email a PDF to Professor Nick Conway at nickconway@sfsu.edu before the end of the semester prior to the internship. The PDF should contain the following:

  1. A one-page resume with your current contact information, and
  2. A brief statement addressed to coordinating Judge Gail Dekreon on why you want to participate in the program, what you hope to gain from this internship, and how serving the San Francisco Superior Court fits in with your post-graduate careers. You should also indicate which court division(s) (criminal, civil, family, drug, veterans’, traffic, housing, juvenile, young adult) you want to work in and why.

Please note that PLSI 610/611 has limited seats and is generally competitive--no student is guaranteed an internship. Selected applicants will receive an add code during the first week of the semester when the internship takes place to register for the course. Students must apply by the deadline to be eligible for consideration; check with Prof. Conway for the specific deadlines.

For more information, please contact Professor Nick Conway by email at nickconway@sfsu.edu.

In partnership with the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, the Political Science Department offers several courses that include the possibility of earning service-learning credit. To earn service-learning credit, students undertake a community service learning (CSL) project with an approved organization.

CSL courses are designed to help students apply theoretical classroom knowledge to structured, hands-on community-based experiences. CSL courses provide structured critical reflection and opportunities for professional development. CSL offers structured opportunities for professional training and supervised skills-building. Community partners benefit in myriad ways as well.

For additional information, visit the CSL website.

PLSI courses with service learning options:

  • PLSI 408/LTNS 670 Mexican Politics and Society
  • PLSI 424/SOC 424/IR 424 Social Movements
  • PLSI 462 Applied Public Opinion Research
  • PLSI 463 The Politics of Immigration in the United States
  • PLSI 472 Civic and Political Engagement
  • PLSI 473 California Politics and Government
  • PLSI 475/USP 485 San Francisco Political Issues
  • PLSI 560/USP 560 Urban Poverty and Policy
  • PLSI 603/USP 603 Public Service Internships
  • PLSI 604/USP 604 Internship Seminar
  • PLSI 512GW Urban Politics and Community Power - GWAR
Internships
Organization Program/Role   Internship Type Paid or Unpaid
Ralph Bunche Summer Institute   Academic    
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein  Student Intern    Elected Official (Federal)  
Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14) District Intern   Elected Official (Federal)    
Assemblymember Matt Haney  District/Capitol Intern    Elected Official (State)  
Assemblymember Evan Low (District 28) District Intern   Elected Official (State)    
Assemblymember Marc Berman (District 24) District Intern   Elected Official (State)    
Assemblymember Phil Ting (District 19) Spring 2023 Intern    Elected Official (State) Unpaid  
Senator Josh Becker (District 13)     Elected Official (State)    
Senator Nancy Skinner (District 9) District Intern   Elected Official (State)    
Senator Scott Weiner (District 11) District Intern   Elected Official (State)    
Senator Steve Glazer (Distirct 7)     Elected Official (State)    
Speaker Pelosi (CA-12) District Intern     Elected Official (Federal)    
Assembly member Buffy Wicks     Elected Official (State)    
U.S Department of Energy  Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program   Government (Federal) Paid 
U.S. Department of State  Student Intern   Government (Federal) Paid
U.S. Pretrial Services  SF Office Intern    Government Federal   
City and County of San Francisco Internships     Government (Local)    
Central Contra Costra Sanitary District     Government (Local) Unpaid  
City of South San Francisco Regional Summer Internship Program   Government (Local)    
Justice Corps     Government (Local)    
San Francisco Ethics Commission     Government (Local)    
San Francisco District Attorney's Office     Government (Local)    
SF Board of Supervisors BOS Intern     Government (Local)    
SF State Environmental Resource Center Student Intern    Government (State)  
Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellowship Fellow   Government (State) Paid  
SFSU Community and Government Relations Intern   Government (State)    
ACLU Nor Cal     Legal    
Bay Area Legal Aid     Legal    
The Sutton Lawfirm     Legal    
Accountability Counsel     Non-Governmental Organization Unpaid    
Asylum Access     Non-Governmental Organization    
Bayview Hunters Point Foundation for Community Improvement     Non-Governmental Organization    
CAUSE     Non-Governmental Organization Paid  
Center for Biological Diversity Climate Campaign Intern   Non-Governmental Organization Paid  
Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program Summer Intern   
  Non-Governmental Organization
Paid 
Coalition on Homelessness     Non-Governmental Organization    
Corpwatch     Non-Governmental Organization Unpaid  
David Brower Center     Non-Governmental Organization    
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights     Non-Governmental Organization Unpaid  
Evolve California College Intern   Non-Governmental Organization Paid  
First Amendment Coalition     Non-Governmental Organization    
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression  Remote Intern    Non-Governmental Organization Paid 
Global Fund for Woman     Non-Governmental Organization    
Hamilton Families     Non-Governmental Organization    
Homeless Action Center     Non-Governmental Organization    
Horizons Foundation     Non-Governmental Organization    
Larkin Street Youth Services     Non-Governmental Organization    
Livable City Open Streets Ambassador   Non-Governmental Organization Paid  
Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority Planning Intern    Non-Governmental Organization Paid
National Center for Lesbian Rights     Non-Governmental Organization    
New Door Ventures     Non-Governmental Organization    
Oakland Rising     Non-Governmental Organization    
Panetta Institute Congressional Intern   Non-Governmental Organization    
Parricipatory Budgeting Project     Non-Governmental Organization    
San Francisco Foundation Multi Cultural Fellowship   Non-Governmental Organization    
Siren Immigrant Rights Organizer   Non-Governmental Organization    
Social Justice Collaborative     Non-Governmental Organization    
350 Bay Area     Policy Unpaid  
50+1 Strategies Fellowship   Political Consultancy    
Baughman Merril     Political Consultancy    
BMWL     Political Consultancy    
New Deal Advisers     Political Consultancy    
SCRB Strategies     Political Consultancy    
Storefront Media     Political Consultancy    
Tramutola Political Strategists     Political Consultancy    
California Calls     Political Organization    
OurFuture     Political Organization    
San Francisco Rising Summer Fellow   Political Organization Paid  
David Binder Research     Public Affairs    
EMC Research     Public Affairs    
Fall Line Analytics     Public Affairs    
FM3 Research     Public Affairs    
Goodwin Simon     Public Affairs    
Kearns and West     Public Affairs    
Novos Consulting     Public Affairs    
SGR Consulting     Public Affairs    
Telegraph PR     Public Affairs    
The Lew Edwards Group     Public Affairs    
APICA CA State Legislature Internship   Non-Governmental Organization Paid  
Supervisor Connie Chan (District 1- Richmond) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Catherine Stefani (District 2- Marina, Presidio Heights) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Aaron Peskin (District 3- North Beach, Russian Hill) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)      
Supervisor Gordon Mar (District 4- Sunset, Outer Sunset) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Dean Preston (District 5- Haight, NOPA, Western Addition) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Matt Haney (District 6- Civic Center, Tenderloin, SOMA) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Myrna Melgar (District 7- Ingleside, West Portal, Park Merced) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman (District 8- Castro, Noe Valley) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Hillary Ronen (District 9- Mission, Bernal Heights) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Board President Shamman Walton (District 10- Bayview, Hunters Point) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Supervisor Ahsha Safai (District 11- Excelsior, Outer Mission) SF Board of Supervisors Intern   Elected Official (San Francisco)    
Women's Earth Alliance Programs and operations intern    Non-Governmental Organization  Paid