Undergraduate Studies

The Montgomery Experience

How to Apply

Montgomery Experience Application


Frequently Asked Questions

What is it?

The Montgomery Experience is an intensive, five-week internship 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, and some (optional) educational events, speakers, and and/or tours.

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 for First Summer Term.

Where do students work as interns?

We are in the process of arranging a number of interesting work sites. 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. Still others have worked for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, or Secretary of State (note: these officials require their interns to undergo an internal competitive application process rather than accept our recommendations). A list of possible placement locations is available on this website. Student preferences and qualifications are considered in the process of matching students with jobs. Students who are accepted are guaranteed a good placement somewhere; but we cannot guarantee any student a particular assignment.

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 5-week 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.

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.

What extracurricular activities can I participate in?

In the past few years, students have gone on optional tours of the Hyundai plant, Kilby state prison, various state agencies, and the State Capitol. We also had a group outing to a Montgomery Biscuits game. We are hoping to be able to plan similar events and/or speakers in 2020.

Where would I live in Montgomery?

In past years, Auburn University’s Montgomery campus (AUM) has made short-term dormitory housing available for our interns; however students are free to live anywhere they choose in the Montgomery area, as long as they provide their contact information to Dr. Borrelli and their employers. 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.

Does my internship HAVE to be during the first half of summer?

As long as students are willing to tolerate a temporary “I” on their transcript for a month or more, if their employer is agreeable, they can begin their internship before or extend it beyond first summer term. Details would have to be worked out among Dr. Borrelli, the student, and the employer. Of course, students who did not begin their internships until before or after the first half of summer might miss out on interaction with the other students and extracurricular activities.