The Public Sector Studies Program
Purpose of the Program
The study of Political Science includes learning about the history, purposes, and functions of government institutions, the actions of interest groups, the behavior of voters, and other aspects of the political environment in the United States and throughout the world. Public Sector Studies can be thought of as “Applied Political Science.” The Public Sector Studies Program at Santa Clara University offers an introduction to the areas traditionally known as Public Policy, Public Administration, Public Affairs, and Urban Planning. The Program is designed to provide a closer look at the creation, implementation, and analysis of public policies, and the operation of governments and public organizations. Students will examine a range of issues, questions, and decisions that are faced by participants, managers, and leaders in the public sector.
Careers in the Public Sector
Throughout the history of the Santa Clara University Department of Political Science, a significant number of graduates have pursued jobs and careers in the public sector, especially in Washington, DC and California. The Emphasis in Public Sector Studies offers preparation and training for students who are interested in working at the city, county, state, or federal level of government, or in a public agency or nonprofit organization. The Emphasis also provides an excellent foundation for those who would like to pursue graduate studies in public policy or public administration, either immediately after graduation or later. It also offers a very good alternative perspective for students who wish to pursue public law.
Santa Clara alumni, faculty, and friends who have experience working in government and public organizations offer many opportunities for our students, including guidance with research projects, assistance in finding internships and jobs, and advice on career development. SCU Political Science graduates seeking jobs in the public sector have consistently met with success.
Opportunities for Firsthand Study
Consistent with the applied nature of this emphasis, opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the public sector are offered through the Political Science department, and constitute an integral part of this emphasis.
Through the Public Sector Studies program in the Department of Political Science, students have the opportunity to participate in public sector internships, the Washington Semester Program, and the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program. These programs offer preparation and training for students who are interested in working at the city, county, state, or federal levels of government, in a public agency or non-profit organization, or considering graduate level studies in related fields.
Public Sector Internships
Perhaps the best way to understand is by doing—students participating in public sector internships not only see what happens in the “real world” but they are able to take part as well, gaining invaluable experience and knowledge. Placements in the public sector internships have included the San Jose mayor’s office, district offices of Members of Congress and the California Legislature, government relations departments of high-tech corporations, public law offices, political campaigns, and non-profit organizations. Many students end their internships with excellent employment prospects.
- Poli Sci internship courses 197A & B are offered in winter and spring; Poli Sci internship course 198 is offered in summer (must be enrolled)
- Students gain great experience and walk away with excellent employment prospects
Internship students work a minimum of 10 hours per week. Other requirements include regular meetings with the faculty internship director and other interns, weekly progress reports, evaluations by work supervisors, and a research paper on a topic related to experiences at work. Credits earned are based on the number of hours worked, typically five credits per quarter for ten to twelve hours of work per week. Credit for summer internships can also be earned by enrolled students. For a list of internships please click here.
Washington Semester Program
In the Washington Semester Program students combine coursework taken at American University with hands-on experience via internships. SCU students have interned at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI, interest groups, Fox News, various non-profit organizations, and offices of Members of the House of Representatives.
The Washington Semester Program offers students the opportunity to live, study, and work in our nation’s capital for one semester along with other students from throughout the country, as well as from abroad.
Numerous programs of study are available, including American Politics, Public Law, Foreign Policy, International Environment & Development, Economic Policy, Journalism, International Business & Trade, Peace & Conflict Resolution, Israel Studies, and Contemporary Islam.
Students participating in the Washington Semester Program earn 18-24 quarter credits for one semester of study.
Grades and units received at American University will count toward the student’s SCU GPA and course requirements for the department and the university.
Students are encouraged to apply for this unique opportunity; eligibility for the program is based on the student’s class standing (junior or senior when program commences) and GPA, which must be 2.5 or higher at the time the application is submitted (winter quarter prior to program commencement). Students with a GPA between 2.1 and 2.5 may be considered on an exceptional basis.
For more detailed information about the Washington Semester, including answers to frequently asked questions, please check the Washington Semester page.
The Panetta Institute at California State University – Monterey Bay, headed by Santa Clara Political Science alumnus,adjunct faculty member and current Director of the CIA Leon Panetta, offers an opportunity for students to gain an inside look at politics and government through its lecture series and Congressional Internship Program.
Panetta Institute Lecture series during Spring Quarter (Monterey)
- A highly acclaimed lecture series, bringing national leaders, journalists and policy experts to the Monterey Peninsula.
- Students from high schools and colleges are invited to the Afternoon Student Academic Program where they will meet with the speakers, discuss the lecture topic and have the opportunity for Q&A.
- For more information please visit: http://www.panettainstitute.org
Panetta Congressional Internship program each Fall quarter
The Panetta Institute offers an opportunity for students to gain an inside look at the legislative branch of the U.S. Federal Government and Washington politics. This Congressional internship begins with a two-week course at California State University, Monterey Bay, where students work directly with Leon Panetta and other seasoned veterans examining the legislative process and its functions. The remaining two and a half months of the internship will be spent in Washington, D.C. working on Capital Hill in the office of a member of the California congressional delegation. One exceptional Santa Clara University student is chosen each year for this fully-subsidized internship. Units and grades transfer to SCU.
Victor Republicano III, 2012 SCU Panetta Institute Congressional Intern.
Selected study abroad sites offer courses and internships in urban planning, environmental studies and other topics related to the Public Sector Studies Emphasis. Programs in London, Sydney, Madrid, and Hong Kong, among others, allow students to add a comparative dimension to their study of the public sector. Study Abroad courses must be approved by the program advisor prior to enrollment.
Public Sector Studies Emphasis
The Public Sector Studies Program is not a major or minor; rather, it is an emphasis within the Political Science major. Thus, all University, College, and Political Science Department requirements for the B.S. degree in Political Science must be fulfilled. The Public Sector Studies Program “counts” as an emphasis within the Political Science major and will be noted on the student’s transcript. The Emphasis will provide an excellent foundation for those who would like to pursue graduate studies in public policy or public administration.
- Additional required courses: Econ 1 & 2; five (5) courses in & out of Poli Sci Dept.
- Emphasis noted on your transcript
Public Sector Studies Emphasis Course Requirements Checklist NEW Core
Public Sector Studies Emphasis Course Requirements Checklist OLD Core
A. Courses within the Political Science Department:
Political Science 167:
All students completing the Public Sector Studies emphasis are required to complete Political Science 167, “Making Public Policy,” with a grade of C or higher. This course provides an overview of the creation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies, as well as ethical and other issues faced by policy makers. It is recommended that this course be taken in the junior year. Political Science 167 fulfills the Political Science department’s upper division course requirement.
Poli Sci Upper Division Elective-Internship:
All students doing the Public Sector Studies Emphasis are required to complete at least 5 units of a Public Sector Studies Internship (Political Science 197A, 197B, or 198, or equivalent transferred internship credits from Washington Semester). Exceptions to this requirement will only be made under rare circumstances and must be applied for in writing to the Faculty Advisor for the Public Sector Studies Emphasis program. The internship course can count towards the Political Science Department’s elective requirement.
One Upper Division POLI course for Public Sector:
In addition to fulfilling the requirement of 7 U/D courses in Political Science (required of all Political Science majors), which should include Political Science 167 and the Internship course, the Public Sector Studies Emphasis student will take an additional one U/D Political Science course from among the recommended Public Sector Studies Emphasis U/D courses.
POLI 152, 153, 154, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 165, 166, 168
B. Courses outside the Political Science Department:
Required Lower-division: Economics 1 and 2.
2 Additional Lower-Division: Two additional courses chosen from the list below.
POLI 45, ACTG 11, 12, 20, BUSN 71, CENG 5, COMM 2, 20, ECON 3, ENVS 10, 11, 12, 20, MGMT 6, PHIL 8, 9, 10, SOCI 33, 65, RSOC 49 or others as approved
2 Additional Upper-Division: Two of the recommended courses outside the Political Science Department chosen from the list below.
ANTH 151, BIO 171, COMM 120A, 124B, 162A, ECON 111, 113, 114, 115, 120, 126, 127, 129, 136, 137, 150, 155, 156, 160, 166, 173, 181, 182, 185, 190, EDUC 106, ENGL 185, ENVS 120, 122, 147, 162, HIST 176, MGMT 169, 171, PHIL 109, 111, 113, 119, PSYC 134, SOCI 132, 137, 138, 140, 159, 160, 161, 165, 170, 172, 176 or selected courses from Washington Semester or others as approved by Program Director.
In summary, a total of seven (7) extra courses beyond the ordinary requirements for a Political Science major are required for the Public Sector Studies Emphasis:
- 1 additional U/D in the Political Science Department
- Economics 1 and 2
- 2 additional lower-division courses inside or outside the Department
- 2 extra outside the Department, from the list of recommended courses above.
Public Sector Faculty Advisor
It is strongly recommended that the student’s Emphasis courses be chosen in consultation with Professor Elsa Chen, the director of the Public Sector Studies Program and faculty supervisor for Public Sector internships and Washington Semester.
Dr. Chen’s relevant experience includes an undergraduate degree in Public and International Affairs, a Master’s in Public Policy, a doctoral dissertation on policy analysis, and practical experience as an analyst at a policy think tank. As a student, she did summer internships at several public sector organizations, including a U.S. Senator’s office, a Washington, DC lobbying organization, and a nonprofit community group.
Students are always welcome to discuss coursework, internships, graduate study, job prospects, and other topics with Professor Chen (Arts & Sciences 239, x7055).