Undergraduate Studies

The Montgomery Experience

How to Apply

Montgomery Experience Application


Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

The Montgomery Experience is a Summer course (PSC 399, 3 credit hours) that combines real work experience (120 hours or more) in a political or governmental office, academic reading and writing assignments.  While the course registration is for both Summer terms (I and II), the internship itself does not need to last the entire Summer, as long as 120 hours of work are put in.  Most internships are in person; there maybe some employers who would be willing to consider remote interns.

Who is eligible to take the course?

Students are selected to participate through an application process. The application is available online; see the link at the end of this page. Once accepted, students will be given information as to how to register. Students who do not apply or who are not accepted through this process will not be permitted to register for PSC 399.

Where do students work as interns?

Past interns have worked for state government agencies such as the Department of Mental Health, ADECA, the Department of Agriculture and Industry, the Department of Corrections, and the Court of Criminal Appeals. Others have worked for advocacy groups such as AARP Alabama, Alabama Arise, and the Business Council of Alabama.  We can provide some assistance, leads, and introductions in finding placements, but ultimately it is up to the student to secure an internship position.  NOTE: The Governor, Lt. Governor,Attorney General,or Secretary of State have their own competitive application processes for interns; the UA does not place students in those offices.

What work will students do as interns?

Each work-site pledges to give students work that will help them learn about the political process and political issues in Alabama, but students need to understand that given the duration of the program, and the fact that it takes place largely after the legislative session is over, the work will not always be as glamorous and dramatic as they might hope. Some offices prefer to assign their intern one large project that will take up most of their assignment; others prefer to give students a small taste of a number of different kinds of tasks, maybe even working in different parts or divisions in the same office. Either way, an observant and open-minded student will learn a great deal both by doing and observing, and will have plenty to write about in their academic papers. Keeping a daily journal or blog will be a must.

I have already done (or am planning to do) a Washington internship, which is also numbered PSC 399. Can I also take the Montgomery Experience for credit?

Students are allowed to take both the Washington Experience and the Montgomery Experience for credit, in the same years or in different years. However, no more than 6 hours total of PSC 399 credit may be applied toward a major or minor in political science. PSC 399 credits do not count as “in residence” upper level credits for the PSC major or minor, but they do count as upper level courses toward the College’s 36-hour advanced courses requirement.

What will the academic assignments be like?

Students will write three 6–8 page papers focusing on:

  • the educational and career paths of their colleagues at work
  • the history, structure, and functioning of the agency or group for which they work
  • the “inside story” of an important issue or event that affects, or is affected by, their employing agency or group.

Additionally, students will submit a daily journal or blog of their work and related activities in Montgomery.

Where would I live in Montgomery?

This is NOT a UA “travel course” (e.g., a UA Study Abroad program); students are entirely responsible for their own transportation, financial, and lodging arrangements.