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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics

For Students

Why and How to Apply for the Undergraduate Associates Program

Please review the application information below before completing your application packet.

What is the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates program?

The Eagleton Institute of Politics, founded in 1956 with an endowment from Florence Peshine Eagleton, explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. The Institute focuses attention on how the American political system works, how it changes, and how it might work better. Eagleton's faculty, centers and programs specialize in the study of state government and politics; public opinion polling and survey research; women's political participation; minority and immigrant political behavior; governors; campaigns, elections and political parties; ethics; civic education and political engagement; young elected leaders and youth political participation; and New Jersey politics.

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. The program is a cooperative educational endeavor between the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the School of Arts and Sciences/Department of Political Science.

Undergraduate Associates study government and politics through special seminars, a supervised internship, and discussions with governmental officials and political practitioners. The program is open to undergraduate students from all Rutgers schools, departments and campuses. Students apply the fall of their junior year. Those selected for the program take a series of three courses at Eagleton during the second semester of their junior year and each semester of their senior year. Associates also complete a summer or fall internship related to government, public policy or politics.

There are currently more than 900 alumni of the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates program. Some have chosen careers in public affairs and others have applied their knowledge of government and politics to a broad range of careers in the private and non-profit sectors. Many of Eagleton's nearly 2,000 graduate and undergraduate education program alumni maintain strong contacts with the Institute, assisting in professional development and placement and providing an informal support system for new classes of students.
Why should I apply?
Eagleton Undergraduate Associates learn about real-world American politics and government from experienced practitioners. Some of the benefits of the program include: diverse summer/fall internship opportunities; guest lecturers from the political world; many networking opportunities; small seminars with engaging discussions about politics and government; highly selective program; network of more than 1,900 Eagleton alumni; opportunities to participate in special events and great food; and job placement assistance.

When can I apply? Can transfer students apply?
The only time students can apply is September-October of their JUNIOR year. The Eagleton Undergraduate Associates program is a three semester certificate program. Those selected take a series of classes - one each semester: spring junior year, fall and spring of senior year. Interested students must be registered as a full or part time Rutgers junior undergraduate from September 2016 to May 2017. Applicants should be graduating Rutgers in May or December of 2018. Transfer students are also encouraged to apply but must be an accepted student at Rutgers first with a projected graduation date of May or December 2018.

What majors are eligible? 

The Eagleton Undergraduate Associates program is a cooperative educational endeavor between the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the School of Arts and Sciences/Department of Political Science. The program is open to undergraduate students from ALL Rutgers schools, departments and campuses including New Brunswick, Newark and Camden. Recent Undergraduate Associates have represented a wide variety of majors and minors including:
Africana studies, American studies, art history, bioenvironmental engineering, biological sciences, business economics, business supply chain management, cell biology and neuroscience, Chinese, cognitive science, communication, comparative and critical race and ethnic studies, comparative literature, criminal justice, criminology, cultural anthropology, digital communication, information and media, East Asian studies, ecology and evolution, economics, English, environmental and business economics, environmental policy, institutions and behavior, European studies, finance, French, global politics, history, international and global studies, Italian studies, Jewish studies, journalism and media studies, labor studies, labor studies and employment relations, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean studies, mathematics, Middle Eastern studies, modern Hebrew language, molecular biology and biochemistry, music, national security, organizational leadership, philosophy, planning and public policy, political science, psychology, public and nonprofit administration, public health, public policy, religion, social justice, social work, sociology, South Asian studies, Spanish, statistics, theater arts, urban planning, women's and gender studies, and work organization and management.

s there a minimum GPA?
There is no minimum overall GPA to apply, but most Undergraduate Associates have a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

What are the requirements of the program?
Requirements of the Undergraduate Associates program include:
  • Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average while an Associate and remain in good academic standing in their disciplinary program.
  • Series of three Eagleton classes (one each semester) and corresponding internship. Courses meet once a week at Wood Lawn on the Douglass campus. Attendance at and participation in all class sessions is mandatory.
    • spring 2017 - Practice of Politics - Students must receive a grade of B or better in the first class in order to continue in the program during the senior year.
    • fall 2017 - Internship Seminar
    • spring 2018 - Processes of Politics
  • Complete 140-hour internship during the summer or fall semesters.
Undergraduate Associates are also expected to help recruit the next class of Undergraduate Associates, during fall semester, and attend/participate in events:
  • Welcome session (on fall reading day)
  • Graduation picnic (on spring reading day)
  • At least one Eagleton public program or sponsored event each semester.

Upon successful completion of these requirements, associates are awarded a certificate from the Institute and receive notation on their Rutgers transcript.

What are the classes like? When are the classes scheduled? Does credit count towards my degree?
A series of three courses and an internship are required to complete the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates program (see below). Courses are seminar-based, focusing on different aspects of practical American politics, public policy and government through lectures, guest speakers, and a variety of assignments and group activities. Courses meet once a week at Wood Lawn on the Douglass campus. Attendance at and participation in all class sessions is mandatory. All three courses are listed in the School of Arts and Sciences/Department of Political Science and are 3-credits each. Program courses are only open to Eagleton Associates. Detailed syllabi will be distributed prior to the start of each semester.

  • spring 2017 - Practice of Politics (01:790:428:01) - Wednesdays 9:15 am-12:15 pm
  • fall 2017 - Internship Seminar (01:790:481:05) - Wednesdays 5:35-8:35 pm
  • spring 2018 - Processes of Politics (01:790:429:01) - Tuesdays 9:15 am-12:15 pm
Students should check with their academic school or department advisor as to how Eagleton course credit will count towards major/minor requirements. Political science majors/minors see important information below. Eagleton program courses for political science majors and minors from School of Arts and Sciences count towards degree as follows:
  • Either the Practice of Politics and/or Processes of Politics CAN count for the required Political Science Seminar course (790:395). The fall internship seminar or placement hours CAN NOT substitute for the 395 seminar requirement.
  • The Eagleton Internship Seminar will could towards major/minor credit except if:
    • The student has already taken two (2) 790 internships in political science, independent study OR research courses, then the Eagleton internship course will NOT count towards the major or minor.
    • Political Science MINORS should NOT take a 395 seminar in political sciences even if the instructor gives them a special permission number because it will not count toward the Political Science minor.

If you have any questions regarding the requirements for your political science major/minor please contact Alicia Picone in the Department of Political Science at

Can I do study abroad and still be an Undergraduate Associate?
Associates must be on campus for the junior year spring semester, and fall and spring semesters of senior year to be eligible. All Eagleton classes must be taken in sequence. Study abroad CAN be done the fall of junior year or summer of senior year if internship placement is done during fall semester, senior year.

What internship options are available? When must I do my internship?
Students complete a 140-hour internship during the summer or fall semesters of 2017. Placements can continue from summer into fall.  All placement hours must be completed by December 1st. Internships completed prior to summer 2017, regardless of location, cannot fulfill the Eagleton requirement.

Consistent with the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program's focus on U.S. domestic politics and government, the required internship should enhance a student's understanding of and experience with American politics at the national, regional, state, or local level. Students may intern with a wide range of government agencies, candidates, or public officials or with interest groups or political parties that are involved in some significant way with American politics. Internships can be located in New Jersey or other states such as Washington D.C. Eagleton Undergraduate Associates who intern in the partisan offices of the NJ Legislature are eligible to apply for the Kathy Crotty Legislative Internship Award. This annual award is offered by Eagleton in honor of Kathy Crotty, a leader on the staff of the New Jersey Legislature for thirty-five years. Award money is to be used for travel expenses to and from Trenton.

Most internships focusing on global, international, or comparative politics would not fulfill the internship requirement for the Eagleton program. Nor would most internships with law firms, attorneys, or judges. Previous associate internship evaluations are available for student review if interested. Most internships are unpaid. However, a paid internship opportunity that fulfills the above criteria would be acceptable. 

How do I apply? When is the application deadline?
Apply online at the Eagleton website (see details below). No paper applications will be accepted. Eagleton must receive ALL components of your application packet (including letters of recommendation) by 5:00 pm on October 20, 2016 in order to be reviewed. Incomplete packets will not be considered.  

How do I submit my application form?
The Eagleton Undergraduate Associates application is online. Please review the instructions and fields before you start application process. You must have all application information and supporting packet files ready to be able to submit your application. Once you start the application you will not be able to save and continue at a later time. Applying to the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program is a three-step process:

  1. Attach application packet files
  2. Fill out online application and click "submit application" to finalize.
  3. Two letters of recommendation must also be emailed from the recommender to Eagleton to complete application packet.

All applicants must attach essay, resume and unofficial transcript files to online application. You will receive two email confirmations: first confirmation of receipt when you submit your application, and second when your packet is processed at Eagleton.

Eagleton must receive ALL components of your application packet by 5:00 pm on OCTOBER 20, 2016 in order to be reviewed. Incomplete packets will not be considered. Packets also must include two (2) letters of recommendation which are sent from recommender directly to Eagleton via email. Receipt of recommendation letters will be confirmed with applicants via email. All letters must be received by October 20 to be considered.

Do I need to have an official transcript to apply?
No, an official transcript is not needed. Upload your UNOFFICIAL transcript(s) to your application as Adobe pdf file or MS Word document. Please include your fall 2016 semester class list. You can submit up to three transcripts. Transfer students should attach unofficial transcript from previous college and Rutgers fall 2016 semester class list.

What should my essay focus on?
In 500 words or less please describe your interest in American politics and any previous related experience you may have had. Please also explain why you are applying to be an Eagleton Undergraduate Associate and what you hope to get out of the program. Your essay must be attached to your online application as MS Word or Adobe PDF file.

I completed the online application, now what?
Once you submit your application you will receive confirmation of your submission. You will receive email confirmation when your packet is processed at Eagleton and it is finalized. All students will be notified by email of selection committee decisions in early November 2016.

Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
Two letters of recommendation must be submitted in support of your application. Letters should be written by those who can speak to your academic qualifications for the program - classroom instructors (professors or teaching assistants) who can comment on academic performance, preferably in political science or related discipline. Transfer students can use professors/teaching assistants from previous college. Letters must be addressed to the "Undergraduate Associate Selection Committee" and emailed as Word document or Adobe pdf directly from the recommender to All recommendations must be received by 5:00 pm on OCTOBER 20, 2016 in order to be considered. You will be notified by email when letters of recommendation are received by Eagleton. Students can also submit a third supplemental letter from relevant internship or experience if necessary.

When are the application decisions announced?
All students will be notified by email of selection committee decisions in early November 2016.

I have more questions, who can I talk to?
If you have questions contact Sarah Kozak, senior administrative assistant at (848) 932-8760 or e-mail