Skills are the key to getting jobs and internships in any field.

The Policy Studies program provides students with the opportunity to develop the 10 Skill Sets both inside and outside the classroom through hands-on coursework and other experiences. Your learning experience will start with PST 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy. This course will give you the basic skills and prepare you to obtain internships as well as introduce you to a range of policy areas you may want to study and do something about. 

The opportunities below are available to all students.

Do these skills truly prepare students to be competitive in the job market? Hear what former Policy Studies Majors say.

Grefé Fellowship

Through the generosity of SU alums Sami ’04 and Justin Grefe ’05 and their establishment of the Justin and Samantha Grefé Energy Policy Internship Support Fund, Maxwell is

able to provide several Grefé Fellowships to support students working at summer internships related to energy policy. The fellowships can be used to help cover

travel and living expenses and are intended to make it easier for students to take energy-related internships away from home.

Learn More >

Be an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

Students who take PST 101 one semester can become an Undergraduate Course Assistant (UCA) the next semester. Roughly 60% of policy studies majors become UCAs. To become a UCA, you need to receive at least an A- in PST 101, have above a 3.0 GPA, get the support of your current UCA when taking the course, and have a group interview with all the UTAs. Non-majors can also be PST 101 UTAs. Up to 20 UTAs are selected each semester.

UCAs benefit in a variety of ways:

  • You earn three credits through PST 409.
  • You work with Professor Barton and students who were in your PST 101 class.
  • You practice the concepts you learned to apply in PST 101.
  • Professor Barton gets to see your strengths and weakness so he can serve as a skills coach and learn more about your goals.
  • You add an impressive leadership position to your resume.  

Be a Policy Studies Consultant

You can be one of the hundreds of students who have completed thousands of projects for nonprofits and government organizations in Onondaga County and throughout the world since 1979.

You begin as a consultant in PST 315: Methods of Public Analysis and Presentation by working with a nonprofit or government client to produce a basic report on data made available by the client.

After the 315 experience, you are ready to work for credit and sometimes pay with staff from all over the university, local government bodies like the City of Syracuse, or nonprofits like Home Headquarters or the Boys and Girls Club. You conduct basic research, develop proposals, write grants, implement new software, or provide general assistance. 

These opportunities are offered through several different sections of courses entitled PAF 410: Practicum in Public Policy as well as experience credit and independent study courses. They are offered through off-campus programs.

Some services we provide include, but are not limited to:

  • Grant preparation: trained students write grants for nonprofit organizations
  • Program evaluation
  • Database design: students help develop databases in Microsoft Excel
  • Design, conduct, and analyze surveys
  • Tax advising under for people to complete their income tax forms

Tutoring, educational programs, and administrative services: students are assigned between 5 and 90 hours to provide services requested by organizations.

Serve the Syracuse Community

The sooner you start working in the local Syracuse community, the better. 

As a first-year student, you will start to practice the skills you need for a professional career and show your commitment to be a responsible citizen. The Policy Studies program offers PST 110: Practicum in Public Service, which is taught by Michelle Walker, director of community programs for Policy Studies. PST 110 meets five times a semester and generates one academic credit.

The classes discuss experience and observations about the Syracuse Community. Ms. Walker also supports internships for other courses and has established several programs at nearby Wilson Park. The biggest program, 'Cuse Spot, is held during the Syracuse City School District’s February week-long vacation. She also works closely with the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Community and Public Service.

Contact Ms. Walker by email at for more information or to schedule an appointment. 

Complete an Internship

Think of internships as playing in the minor league in baseball or on a college basketball team as an important step to making it in the pros. Internships and jobs are important to your career and citizenship success in two very different ways. (Note that while most people talk about internships, jobs in college can be just as important, if not more important, than internships.)

First, an internship or job will allow you to test if you actually like a career that is similar to your internship, and if you have the skills to succeed in the field. Finding out what you like to do and are good at can only happen in an internship or job while you are in college.

Second, you will develop almost all of the 10 skill sets in your internships. You will have stories to tell to your interviewers when you have a job interview. Resumes can list your skills, but you have to convince your prospective employers by your stories of what you have done. Policy Studies majors have several products they can show their interviewers that are much more convincing than listing skills on a resume.

The Policy Studies program provides many avenues to obtaining an internship during the academic year and in the summer. While completing PST 410: Nonprofit Organization and Government, you will gain 90 hours of internship experience.

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