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POL S 497 A: Political Internship In State Government

Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
* *
John Wilkerson -- Chair of Political Science UW Seattle
John D. Wilkerson

Syllabus Description:

University of Washington                                                                            Professor John Wilkerson

Political Science 497                                                                                       221C Smith Hall

State Legislative Internship Program                                                      email:

Winter Quarter 2018                                                                                       543-2780



Congratulations on your acceptance into this prestigious program! This is usually an immensely rewarding experience.

As an employee of the Washington State Legislature, you will be asked to perform assigned responsibilities reliably and capably in a demanding work environment.

As a student, you will also have academic obligations to fulfill that mostly involve writing. Ten credits apply toward your internship activities (C/NC). Five apply to the academic components described below (graded). Balancing these responsibilities can be challenging (there will be grumbling!), but that’s how it is so please try to stay ahead of the assignments.

We will meet in Olympia several times over the quarter. These meetings are in large part opportunities to share observations and experiences, but also to discuss and work through paper ideas. They are mandatory (and usually worthwhile!) I’m happy to meet individually before or after the group meeting, but please try to let me know in advance.


POLS 497 Course Requirements


Recommended readings: Washington State government and politics are interesting! Sine Die: A Guide to the Washington State Legislative Process. E.D. Seeberger (University of Washington, 1997) provides an introduction to the unique legislative process. Governing Washington: Politics and Government in the Evergreen State by Clayton and Lovrich. (WSU Press 2011) provides insights into the politics side of things.


Research Paper


This is a longer substantive paper (roughly 15-20 pages) on a topic of your choice. It can be about a policy issue or about some aspect of lawmaking or politics. Ideally this paper builds on something you worked on as an intern so that you can take advantages of available resources (including people). We will be discussing potential paper topics during our meetings. Organization, grammar and spelling are important factors in assigning overall grades.


  • Research proposal (10%) is due no later than February 20 (earlier is recommended!)


  • First draft (20%) is due February 27


  • Final draft (70%) is due March 15.


The proposal and first draft will be graded based solely on substance. Have you identified a worthwhile and feasible research question on time? Are you making good progress on your project?


The final draft will be graded based on grammar and spelling as well as substance. Think of this as a writing sample for some future application.


I encourage you to contact me at any time if you have questions about this process. I am also happy to arrange individual meetings on the days I am in Olympia





Additional Details:

W course, 5 credits.

Catalog Description: 
Students serving in approved internship program with state government agencies.
Department Requirements: 
American Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:32pm