POLS 270 Campaign Fieldwork Internship

Campaign Semester provides Occidental College students with an opportunity to learn about political campaigns and elections through first-hand experience. Students receive a full semester of college credit (16 units) while volunteering full-time in a Presidential U.S. Senate U.S. House or gubernatorial campaign. The program is offered during Presidential and Mid-term elections. Students can volunteer for a Republican or Democratic campaign or a "minor" party if the campaign is set up to adequately supervise volunteers. The program is open to all Oxy students regardless of major. Students who participate in Campaign Semester take the following three courses (POLS 270, POLS 271, POLS 272) simultaneously. Students will participate in the daily activities of a campaign for United States President or United States Senate in a key "battleground" state. Students will gain experience in the highest level of politics and gain an understanding of how a national presidential campaign or a statewide United States Senate campaign is operated. Students will learn about political strategy voter contact and turnout messaging and polling communications volunteer recruitment and team-building fundraising and other key aspects of campaigns. The internship will involve working full-time (a minimum of 40 hours a week) from the first day of class until Election Day. Following that ten-week campaign fieldwork internship students will return to campus and participate in two seminars as part of Campaign Semester. Campaigns involve long hard days. The staff that students will work with will typically be working at least 14-16 hour days. Although students are required to work at least 8 hours a day they are likely to work more. As part of the Campaign Fieldwork Internship students will be required to read three books-biographies of each major party candidate and a book describing previous presidential campaigns. Students will be required to maintain an internship journal that will be handed in at the end of the 10-week internship. The journal will describe their activities (including the projects they work on campaign meetings and events relationship of the campaign to the media and to constituency groups) the internal dynamics and work of the campaign the different roles and tasks of staff and volunteers in the campaigns the way the media reports on the campaign the students' reflections on these matters and at the end a summary of the campaign outcome. Students will be required to email the supervising Occidental faculty member at least once a week about their activities and reflections. The students will be supervised in the field by a campaign staff member. Students will participate through teleconferencing in a two-hour course meeting with other students and faculty three times during the semester. Students who will be working in different parts of the country will stay in touch with each other as well as with the faculty through Moodle a web-based course management system. The system allows faculty members to post readings facilitate discussions give and receive assignments etc. Students in various parts of the country will thus form a virtual classroom and on-line learning community. Some students may wish to document their experiences on the campaign trail observe events and interview staff and volunteers by making videos. If so these should be posted to the faculty and other students via the internet. Enrollment limited to students participating in the Campaign Semester Program.


8 units

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity