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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics

For Students

About the Undergraduate Associates Program

The Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program was established in 1974. During the one and one-half year certificate program, Associates learn about real-world politics and government from experienced practitioners. Rutgers students, from all schools and campus locations, are welcome to apply the fall of their junior year and selected students begin the following spring. The program is a cooperative educational endeavor between the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the Department of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

The Undergraduate Associates journey at Wood Lawn begins with the Practice of Politics course, where they examine "politics as a choice". Each week, students analyze different political decisions such as the Constitutional Convention, jury verdicts, voting outcomes, budgets, public education systems, legislative actions, campaign strategies, presidential programs, and American foreign policy.

Over the summer and fall, Associates complete internships in a variety of offices focused on American politics, government and public policy. Placement locations range from congressional offices and federal agencies in Washington D.C. to state, county and local government positions in New Jersey and New York, along with some of the top political consulting and public affairs firms in the state to name a few. The accompanying Internship Seminar in the fall examines the art of leadership and builds on concrete ways for the students to "make a difference" as they pursue careers after graduation.

The final course, Processes of Politics, is taken during the spring semester of senior year. This class focuses on the search for better and more trustworthy political processes and government operations. Through weekly news reports, numerous guest speakers, group and individual projects, the Associates enhance their knowledge of the mechanics of government and politics. They work on opening their minds to different perspectives and aspire to "make it better" (in the words of Eagleton's 60th anniversary motto) by envisioning positive change and taking steps to realize it.

There are currently more than 925 alumni of the Undergraduate Associates program. Some have chosen careers in politics and public affairs, while others have applied their advanced knowledge of government and politics to a broad range of careers in the private and non-profit sectors.