About the Undergraduate Associates Program
Building knowledge, skills, and networks for political, government, and community engagement
Application deadline for the 2024-2025 cohort is October 23rd, 2023 at 5 pm. If you have questions, please contact Sarah Kozak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program is an interdisciplinary certificate program for all Rutgers juniors interested in American politics and government. Associates spend parts of their last three semesters linking the study of politics to its real-world application, building knowledge, skills, and networks for political, government, and community engagement. This program is a cooperative educational endeavor between the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the School of Arts and Sciences/Department of Political Science.
Eagleton Undergraduate Associates take a series of three unique courses (one each semester) and complete a summer or fall internship in American Politics, government, policy, or advocacy. They learn about political power and decision-making while honing their leadership and professional skills.
“A few years ago, I didn’t know that a hijab wearing woman could be in the political field. I had no role model to follow. I felt invisible and unheard. So having a group of individuals ready to listen, but also encouraging me to speak, is something that I never experienced before and will value forever.”
Yasmine Hafez, Class of 2021 UA Representative
“The best thing about Eagleton was being able to be freely interested in politics and be intellectually challenged by your peers in a friendly way. The discussion and variety of perspectives, it is so rare to be around people you have a like interest with low stakes.”
Oluwatobi Omotoso, 2021 UA Class Representative
“Learning how to navigate the ambiguity of politics has been incredibly eye-opening. Government is not as dichotomized as I previously thought. There are policies and decisions that I would agree with on both sides of the aisle. More than anything, the Undergraduate Associates program has taught me my role in American politics. After experimenting with and learning about many different industries involving politics, I have finally discovered what I am most interested in: constitutional rights, media, and civic engagement.”
Caleb Kuberiet, 2021 UA Class Representative
Eagleton Undergraduate Associate Program Learning Objectives
Through a three-course series, public service internship, and experiential education sessions, students in the program will:
- Understand power dynamics, decision making processes, policies, and structure of American political and government systems.
- Demonstrate knowledge of how to positively impact government, politics and communities to improve American democracy.
- Cultivate positive behaviors and attitudes towards democratic values and good governance.
- Develop core personal, professional and advocacy skills necessary to be engaged citizens, and adaptable public service leaders who address pressing social needs.
- Explore the role diversity in identity, beliefs, and political perspectives play in democratic discourse.
Spring Junior Year
Practice of Politics
Course #: (790:428:01)
Day/Time: Wednesdays 10:20 am‐1:20 pm
Location: Wood Lawn Mansion, Douglass Campus
Professor: Saladin Ambar
This course examines the role of power in the practice of politics, with a primary focus on American institutions and political behavior. What is power? How does it work in our political system – and what makes it an at once critical, but also troubling aspect of governance within a democratic system? These questions will be explored with an emphasis on theories of power and its function throughout American history. Our approach will incorporate critical works in American politics and political science – while culling visions of power from the literary and artistic world that inform the practical sphere of government in unique ways. It is the human experience of power, after all, that matters most – and for that insight, we will seek out the assistance of William Shakespeare, Sylvia Plath, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin – and others – looking for guidance and answers less discernable through the lens of the social sciences alone.
Fall Senior Year
Course #: (01:790:481:02)
Day/Time: Mondays 5:40‐8:40 pm
Location: Wood Lawn Mansion, Douglass Campus
Professor: Francine Newsome Pfeiffer
This seminar is designed to complement Undergraduate Associate internship field placements in government and politics with readings, discussions, guest speakers, and papers to foster a deeper understanding of both the institutions and the individuals that shape public policymaking. In addition to learning about a variety of careers in the political realm, the class will examine organizational dynamics and the elements of leadership which impact the workplace. As a group seminar, students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions, offering perspectives drawn from current or previous internships/work experiences, readings, and guest speakers to shed light on the knowledge and skills needed to succeed, and lead, in a variety of positions and institutions. Students will also have many opportunities to hone their strategic thinking, communications, and professional networking skills during the course.
Spring Senior Year
Process of Politics
Course #: (790:429:01)
Day/Time: Tuesdays 10:20 am‐1:20 pm
Location: Wood Lawn Mansion, Douglass Campus
Professor: Elizabeth Matto
This final course of the Undergraduate Associates program, “Processes of Politics,” is designed to help students deepen and apply their understanding of politics and governance by providing windows into how “the system” works and how decisions are made. Building upon the exploration of political power from previous semesters, this course centers around the notion of “politics as a choice”. Politics is a world of limits and alternatives. Everyone in the world of politics – from voters to presidents – faces difficult choices. As such, much of our time will be spent considering political decision-making and the political actors and institutions producing political decisions. Each week, students will analyze political decision-making and will give special consideration to the ramifications of the processes and ultimate decisions on democratic ideals – how and when do processes and decisions uphold the ideals of American democracy and when do they fall short?
Political Science majors/minors please note:
- Either spring Eagleton course (790:428 or 790:429) can count for the required Political Science Seminar course (790:395). The fall internship seminar and placement hours cannot be a substitute for the 395 seminar requirement.
- The fall Eagleton Internship Seminar class can towards political science major/minor credit, except as noted below:
- If a student has already taken two 790 internships in political science, independent study OR research courses, then the Eagleton internship course cannot 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.
“I enjoyed the opportunity of working with other students interested in politics and government along with interesting and enthusiastic professors and staff.”
How to Apply
Application packets include:
- Completed application form (with resume, essay and unofficial transcript attached)
- Two letters of recommendation (emailed directly to email@example.com from the recommender). Eagleton must receive ALL components of your application packet (including letters of recommendation) closed on Monday, October 23rd, at 5pm. Recommendation letter deadline closed on Monday, October 23rd at 5:00 pm. Incomplete packets will be sent to the selection committee “as is”.
Please review the instructions and fields in the application form before you start the application process.
Applying to the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program is a three-step process:
1. Attach application packet documents to application form resume, essay and unofficial transcript (.doc or .pdf only)
2. Complete all fields on the application form. Click submit application at end.
3. Academic letters of recommendation are emailed from the recommender directly to firstname.lastname@example.org before deadline. Letters of recommendation can not be confirmed until students submit their application, so please submit your application well in advance of the deadline.
When you submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen and you will receive a confirmation email. You will also receive an email from email@example.com when your application is processed and with recommendation letter status.
Eagleton must receive ALL components of your application packet by Monday, October 23rd at 5:00 pm. Late applications will not be accepted. Students must submit an application BEFORE recommendation letters are processed. Receipt of recommendation letters will be confirmed with applicants via email after their application is submitted. All recommendation letters must be received by Monday, October 23rd at 5 pm to be included in this application packet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I apply?
- Engage in small seminars with diverse political and policy concepts, speakers and classmates
- Develop leadership and professional skills to promote political and community change
- Gain experience through broad internship opportunities
- Learn from guest speakers and faculty with real-world expertise in politics, government and advocacy
- Expand your network through events and connections with more than 2,100 alumni and other political practitioners
- Job placement and career counseling assistance available
How to apply
Eagleton must receive ALL components of your application packet by Monday, October 23rd at 5:00 pm. Late applications will not be accepted. Students must submit an application BEFORE recommendation letters are processed. Receipt of recommendation letters will be confirmed with applicants via email after their application is submitted. All recommendation letters must be received by Monday, October 23rd at 5:00 pm to be included in this application packet.
Who is eligible to apply?
Rutgers undergraduates from New Brunswick, Camden and Newark campus locations and all departments/majors/schools apply during the fall of their JUNIOR year. This is the only time to apply! Interested students for the 2025 cohort must be registered as a full or part time Rutgers undergraduate from September 2023 to May or December 2025. Transfer students are encouraged to apply, but must be an accepted student at Rutgers first with a projected graduation date of May or December 2025.
Is there a minimum GPA?
There is no minimum overall GPA to apply, but most Undergraduate Associates have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students with grade concerns are welcome to upload a narrative explanation in secondary or additional transcript field on the application.
What are the requirements of the program?
One program course each semester. All meet once a week at Eagleton Institute, Douglass Campus of Rutgers-New Brunswick. Students earn a total of 9-credits for the three-course series and internship.
- Spring 2024 – Practice of Politics every Wednesday from 10:20 am-1:20 pm
- Fall 2024 – Internship in Political Science on (9) Monday classes from 5:40–8:40 pm
- Spring 2025 – Practice of Politics every Wednesday from 10:20 am-1:20 pm
- Grade of B or better in all three program courses
- Maintain a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and remain in good academic standing in degree-granting school.
- 120-hour internship in politics, government, policy or advocacy during summer or fall.
- Can be combined with other internship opportunities, paid or unpaid, in NJ or other state.
- Welcome Meet & Greet (December 14, 2023)
- One program session each semester at Eagleton (spring) and State House, Trenton (fall)
- One networking event or career panel each semester.
- Program Graduation (May 2025)
Associates receive a certificate from Eagleton and official program notation on Rutgers transcript.
Do Eagleton classes count toward my major?
Program courses are 3 credits each, listed in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers-New Brunswick. 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 and minors from School of Arts and Sciences can apply courses 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 count toward 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 William Field in the Department of Political Science at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I do study abroad and still be an Undergraduate Associate?
Associates must be on campus for the spring semester of junior year, and fall and spring semesters of senior year to be eligible. All Eagleton classes must be taken in sequence and in person. Study abroad CAN be done during the fall of junior year or summer before senior year if internship placement is done during the fall semester of senior year.
What internship options are available? Are there research awards available?
Students complete a minimum of 120 hours in a public service internship during the summer before their senior year and/or the fall semester of their senior year. All internship hours must be completed by the end of November. Prior relevant college-level internships can be considered to fulfil the internship requirement. The Eagleton Institute of Politics focuses on American politics and government engagement, so the required internship should enhance a student’s understanding of and experience in these areas. Students may intern with a wide range of government agencies or elected officials, non profits, interest groups, political parties or campaigns, policy and advocacy-related groups. Internships can be in New Jersey or across the country, and can be paid or unpaid.
Additional internship options for Undergraduate Associates include:
Kathy Crotty Legislative Internship Award (summer or fall). Annual award offered to Undergraduate Associates in honor of Kathy Crotty, a leader on the staff of the New Jersey Legislature for 35 years. Recipients are placed in the New Jersey Legislature at State House and receive $500 to help pay for travel expenses. Contact Sarah Kozak for details.
Rutgers-Eagleton Washington DC internship award (summer only). Open to Rutgers University undergraduates on all campuses and class years, recipients receive up to $6,000 towards living expenses while complete an unpaid nonprofit/government sector internship in Washington DC. Learn more here Learn more here.
Rutgers Scarlet Service-DC (summer only). Open to Rutgers sophomores and juniors. Earn a $3,500 stipend and free housing to complete a public service internship at non-profit or government office in Washington DC. Also includes 3-credit in-person course. Learn more here
Rutgers Scarlet Service Internship (summer only). Open to Rutgers sophomores and juniors. Earn a $5,000 stipend to complete a public service internship at non-profit or government office in New Jersey or surrounding area. Also includes 3-credit online course. Learn more here
Additional research opportunities for Undergraduate Associates include:
Eagleton-NJPRO Business and Policy Undergraduate Research Award which provides $1,000 award for undergraduate student research focused on how state or federal politics and public policy impact New Jersey’s business community. Contact Sarah Kozak for details.
John and Ann Holt Endowed Undergraduate Applied Research Fund in American Politics
, up to $1,200 financial award available to juniors and seniors to conduct research. Details here.
Do I need to have an official transcript to apply?
No. Upload your UNOFFICIAL transcript(s) to your application as Adobe pdf or MS Word document only. Please include your current fall semester class list. You can submit up to three transcript documents. Transfer students should attach unofficial transcript from previous college and Rutgers fall semester class list.
What should my essay focus on?
In 500 words or less, please describe the following four items in paragraph form:
- your interest in American politics, government, policy and/or advocacy
- previous related experience, or relevant lived experience
- career goals and why you are applying to the program
- what you hope to get out of the program
Descriptions of relevant passions and policy interests are also welcome. Your essay must be attached to your online application as MS Word or Adobe PDF file. Make sure to include your name at the top of the first page.
Can I save my application progress?
Yes. Click “save” at the bottom of the application form to save your progress. You should receive an email confirming that your application progress has been saved.
I submitted my application, now what?
When you submit your application you will see a confirmation screen and you will also receive a confirmation e-mail. You will also receive emails from email@example.com when your application is processed and status of your recommendation letters. All students will be notified of selection committee decisions via email in November.
Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
Two academic letters of recommendation must be submitted in support of your application. Letters should be written by those who have taught you in the classroom and can speak to your academic qualifications for the program, preferably in political science or a related discipline. Transfer students can use professors/teaching assistants from previous college. A third supplemental letter may be submitted from internship supervisors or other professional experiences.
Letters must be addressed to the “Undergraduate Associate Selection Committee” and emailed as MS Word document or Adobe pdf directly from the recommender to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters sent directly by the applicant will not be accepted.
Students should submit application before letters of recommendation are sent. All recommendations must be received by 5:00 pm on deadline date in order to be considered. Late recommendation letters will not be forwarded to the selection committee.
Applicants will be notified by email when letters of recommendation are processed by Eagleton.
All students will be notified by email of selection committee decisions in late November.
“The best aspect of the Associates program was the internship placement. It was great to enter an internship as a representative of the Associates program and … be able to network with other Eagleton alumni in the Governor’s Office.”
–Eagleton Undergraduate Associate Alum
There are currently more than 1,100 alumni of the Eagleton 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.
Current Undergraduate Associates
CLASS OF 2024 EAGLETON UNDERGRADUATE ASSOCIATES
– Cohort list
– Associate bios
– Associate internship placements