The University of Alaska Legislative Internship Program strives to integrate a formal and systematic understanding of the legislative process with the practical experience gained from working on the job.
To that aim, students participate in a three credit seminar focused on Alaska and legislative politics. This is a Political Science course at the 400 level. The seminar takes places weekly, in the evenings, typically meeting holding classroom sessions in the Capitol building.
The classroom setting gives interns a chance to reflect on his/her experiences and to analyze the legislative process in Alaska and in comparison with other states and with the U.S. federal government in Washington, D.C. The pre-orientation session, which is part of the seminar, also gives students a basic understanding of the process and makes their integration into their legislative offices as smooth as possible. Then, regularly scheduled seminars help to maximize the learning experience.
Course Credits and Grading
Interns receive 12 credit hours at the 400-level, though other arrangements may be possible, as needed. These are divided as follows.
Nine of the 12 credits are for the placement in the legislative office and are graded Pass/Fail only. In order to be awarded these 9 credits an intern must:
- Work a total of 490 hours during the session;
- Receive at least a satisfactory evaluation on all three occasions on which he/she is evaluated by his/her office supervisor;
- Attend all the pre-orientation session;
- Obtain a passing grade in the Legislative Internship Seminar.
The additional 3 credit hours are for the Internship Seminar. This is graded A-F. See the Internship Seminar course syllabus for details.
All interns, undergraduate and graduate, are limited to registering for an additional 3 hours for the semester. This means they can register for a maximum of 15 hours. However, students are strongly advised not to take an additional course while in the internship program because of the demands of their full-time employment in the legislature and the demanding academic requirements of the program.
The academic supervisor of all interns while they are in Juneau is Glenn Wright, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UAS, who is also the Statewide Program Coordinator. He acts as the interns’ advisor during their internship, conducts the Internship Seminar, and acts as the University liaison with the Legislature and particularly with each intern's office supervisor.