University of Southern California

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics

Von KleinSmid Center 263
(213) 740-8964
FAX: (213) 740-3167

Director: Dan Schnur, B.A.

Chief of Staff: Kerstyn Olson, M.A.

The Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics sponsors events designed to introduce students to the world of practical politics. Each semester, the institute facilitates internships with government, political and advocacy offices in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and beyond. The institute also sponsors numerous discussion series that bring prominent political and governmental leaders to USC to speak to small groups of students in an informal setting. In the spring, the institute organizes the Cerrell Seminar in Political Leadership — a trip to Sacramento at which USC students meet with legislators, lobbyists and members of the media to discuss important issues in state politics.

Political Student Assembly

The Unruh Institute of Politics works closely with the Political Student Assembly (PSA). PSA was formed in January 2006 as a division of the Student Affairs Program Board and seeks to actively involve students in campus, state and national political issues.

Directed Government and Political Leadership Internship

Students volunteer to work in one of over 500 political and governmental offices throughout the Los Angeles area, in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C., enabling them to gain firsthand political experience. As interns, students acquire basic political understanding and skills in government, campaign, media or advocacy organizations. Through their assignments, students have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the many ways in which people are important to politics and politics to people.

By gaining hands-on experience in government and politics, student interns develop real-world political and job skills to assist them in their future careers. Many talented interns are fortunate enough to secure full-time employment based upon their internship experience.

Students enroll in POSC 395 Directed Governmental and Political Leadership Internship, for two to eight units. Students can enroll in POSC 395 during the fall, spring or summer. In the summer, students can apply for institute-sponsored fellowships to help defray tuition and living expenses.