Policy Research Internship

The Unruh Institute of Politics is committed to bringing the academy and the public square together. As such, the Institute offers a Research Internship course that allows students to conduct extensive research and analysis on policy issues facing local, state, and federal government.

More about the internship

Students will have the opportunity to work directly with partnering organizations. Examples of partnering organizations from previous semesters include the NALEO Education Fund, Green Dot Public Schools, Los Angeles City Council Offices, and California Strategies.

Students take part in a team-based research project where they will work to develop solutions in their respective policy areas by conducting interviews with policy experts, review academic and policy reports, and other primary and secondary sources. At the conclusion of the program, each team presents their final product to the partnering organization.

Spring 2021 Research Projects:

"Depolarizing America" with Civic Health Project: USC students will be working with the Civic Health Project (CHP) on the issue of depolarizing the American populous. CHP focuses its work on better understanding what has driven Americans apart and how to bring the country back together again. This crucial project will require students to research the causes of political radicalization and develop intervention strategies. The issue of depolarizing America is one of the most important issues entering 2021 and our research students will contribute to the body of knowledge which will hopefully lead toward a more unified country in the years to come. Civic Health Project is dedicated to reducing toxic partisan polarization and enabling healthier public discourse and decision-making across our citizenry, politics, and media. Through grant making and advocacy, it supports initiatives that empower Americans to reject tribal partisanship and come together to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.

"A Comprehensive Look at California's Wildfire Issues" with State Senator Ben Allen's Office (D-CA): USC students will be working with California State Senator Ben Allen’s Office (D-CA) and conducting a comprehensive review of California wildfire issues. Senator Allen represents California’s 26th State Senate district which covers the Westside, Hollywood, and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County. This project will require students to take a comprehensive look at state and local responses to wildfire damage throughout California’s diverse landscape. As the threat of wildfires is increasing in California and around the world, our research students will be able to make recommendations for best practices in the future.

See past research projects.

To Apply:

Applications are closed for the Spring 2021 semester. The application will reopen in August 2021 for fall opportunities!

Please send any questions about the Policy Research Internship to