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Politics, Public Policy & Law Track

The late Tip O'Neill, Boston congressman and speaker of the US House of Representatives, was fond of saying that all politics is local—and there is no more interesting mix of local, state, and national politics than in Boston. As the urban hub of the metropolitan region and as the state capital of Massachusetts, Boston plays a major role in local and state politics. It is also the center of federal government for New England, home to numerous federal agencies, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the First District of the Federal Reserve.

Through courses in areas such as international economics, public policy, political analysis and activism, international relations, and diplomacy, you'll prepare for internships at government agencies, think tanks, lobbying organizations, and PR firms, among others.

"My experience with the program was fantastic from the start. The staff and professors at BU were fun to work with and be in class with, and Boston provided an excellent summer backdrop to the academic and professional development I was looking for in a summer program."

Summer 1: The Academic Phase

You'll spend your first six weeks of the Summer Study Internship Program taking two 4-credit courses chosen from offerings in politics and public policy. The courses below were offered in Summer Term 2016 and can serve as a guide to what is typically offered. Courses for Summer Term 2017 will be posted on January 15, 2017.

  • CAS PH 160 Reasoning and Argumentation

    A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students' actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent M, T, R 9:30 AM-12:00 PM Lustila CAS 315
  • CAS PO 111 Introduction to American Politics

    Undergraduate core course. Study of the national political structure; emphasis on Congress, the executive, administrative agencies, and the judiciary. Relations between formal institutions, parties, and interest groups. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent M, W 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Blume CAS B06B
  • CAS PO 141 Introduction to Public Policy

    Undergraduate core course. Analysis of several issue areas: civil rights, school desegregation, welfare and social policy, education and urban housing, energy, and the environment. Characteristics of policy systems in each issue area are analyzed to identify factors which may affect the content and implementation of public policies. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent T, R 1:00 PM-4:30 PM Abi Hassan A PLS 312B
  • CAS PO 315 United States Political Parties

    Detailed consideration of the political party as a functional organization: party leaders and followers, partisanship and electoral strategy, shifts and realignments in party politics. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same title that was previously numbered CAS PO 318. 4 cr.

    Prereq: CAS PO 211.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
  • CAS SO 207 Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

    Social definition of race and ethnicity. The adjustment of different ethnic groups and their impact upon U.S. social life. How prejudice and discrimination create class identities and how caste relations have affected patterns of integration during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Carries social science divisional credit in CAS. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent T, R 1:00 PM-4:30 PM Stone SOC 241
  • COM CM 311 Professional Presentation

    Introduces students to theories and skills of effective public address through an intensive battery of practical public speaking assignments. Course topics include clear, reasoned organization of messages; effective use of evidence; audience analysis and adaptation; skilled verbal, nonverbal, and audio/visual delivery; group communication; principles of persuasion and argument; critical listening and evaluation of public address. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent T, R 1:00 PM-4:30 PM Joseph COM 111
  • COM JO 525 Media Law and Ethics

    Pre-req: recommended to be taken after COM JO357. Required of all journalism majors. An examination of the many ethical issues and dilemmas that face reporters, photographers, editors, and producers and how to resolve them with professional integrity. Legal topics include First Amendment, libel, protection of sources, copyright and intellectual property. 4 cr.

    Prereq: Required of all journalism majors. Recommended to be taken after COM JO357.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent T, W, R 1:30 PM-4:00 PM Lehr CAS 223
  • MET CJ 344 Drugs and Society

    Introduction to the sociology of a wide range of legal and illicit drugs. Examines social definitions of drugs and conditions of their use. Considers deviant drug use and effects of social control on definitions and use. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent T, R 6:00 PM-9:30 PM Cadigan SHA 201
  • MET CJ 510 Special Topics in Criminal Justice

    Topics for Summer 2016:

    Summer 1 2016 -- Special Topic: Criminal Justice Policy & Planning
    Introduces students to the concepts of criminal justice policy and planning. Provides an understanding of the major theories of planning and their applications to criminal justice settings. Teaches the techniques for analyzing problems and developing programs and policies resulting from problem analysis, along with program and policy monitoring and evaluation. Weekly learning modules emphasize the concept of "planned change" and evaluation. Prepares students to become effective managers, decision makers, planners, and policy makers in the field of criminal justice.

    Summer 2 2016 -- Special Topic: Mental Health & Justice Policy
    The intersection of mental health and criminal justice systems has become a major contemporary issue in our society. This course explores the history of mental health policy as situated within the criminal justice system. Both historical and contemporary impacts of justice policy are addressed with an understanding of how justice policy impacts treatment within criminal justice settings. Examines treatment and policy issues within the domains of policing, courts, corrections, and community reentry. Topics addressed include mental health law, the impact of mass incarceration on mental health, and contemporary prevention strategies. Explores ethical issues in the delivery of forensic mental health services. Students gain valuable understanding of these important areas through case studies, site visits, guest speakers, and other active learning assignments. 4 cr.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent M, W 6:00 PM-9:30 PM Mastrorilli CAS 426
  • SMG LA 245 Introduction to Law

    Prereq: (SMG SM 131) or sophomore standing. Sophomore requirement. Provides a broad overview of the American judicial system and fundamental legal issues. Examines dispute resolution, torts, contracts, criminal law, business organizations, employment law, intellectual property, and international law. The goal is to understand not only the basic rules of law but also the underlying social policies and ethical dilemmas. 4 cr.

    Prereq: Sophomore standing.

    Section Type Days Times Instructor Location
    SA1 Independent T, R 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Fazendeiro HAR 312
    SA2 Independent M, W 9:00 AM-12:30 PM Chang HAR 326

Summer 2: The Internship Phase

For the second six weeks of the program, you'll be placed as an intern in a Boston-area organization or business that matches your interests and experience. You should expect to work five days a week for a minimum of 35 hours. Most internships are unpaid.

Politics, Public Policy & Law Internship Opportunities

Internship placement opportunities are available at state, local, and federal government agencies, legal centers and law organizations, international agencies and organizations, think tanks, lobbying organizations and political action groups, and political parties.

Internship Placement

  • Internship placement for 35 hours a week
  • Internship matches are based on your interests, abilities, and experience
  • All internship sites are accessible by public transportation
  • Visit our Placement Process page for additional information

Summer Study Internship Course

The Summer Study Internship Program's 2-credit Internship Course meets on Friday mornings throughout Summer 1 and two evenings in Summer 2. The course explores links between your academic tracks and your on-site professional experience, and provides support and guidance as you prepare for your placement.