The Applied Politics degree at Bethel College offers a hands-on approach not found in most political science programs. The difference is experiential. Students don’t just read about the political process – they participate in it through internships and other opportunities to network and dialogue with key political constituents. Students will be prepared to analyze political issues from various perspectives and to create effective political and issue campaigns
Bethel is uniquely suited to offer this major and it begins with our location. Situated in the third largest metro area in Indiana – South Bend and Mishawaka – the region is small enough for personal interaction, but large enough to offer rich internship experiences.
The political landscape around Bethel College strengthens the Applied Politics program. Students who elect an internship locally will be working on campaigns with smaller staffs allowing them to work more closely with the major players in local politics.
Since Indiana is on an alternate political schedule, students will have the opportunity to work for three significant campaigns a year. Being close to the border of Michigan also allows students the opportunity to get involved with local politics in that state as well.
Bethel’s Approach to Applied Politics
The Applied Politics major has two critical points of emphasis. The first is academics. Students will be introduced to the basics of developing and implementing successful political campaigns and will study U.S. History and U.S. government at the Federal, state and local levels. In each of these courses, students will have the opportunity to meet local and regional leaders in politics and government and engage in dialog with campaign professionals.
The second emphasis is on internships. Successful students must move beyond the classroom and apply what they are learning in a “real world” environment. Students will have three internships obtaining a variety of experiences to broaden their professional networks. The Department of History and Contemporary Society has an established reputation with local government agencies and political organizations that provide quality programs for our student interns. Providing this foundation is intentional. Students must be able to make the best use of their time in college while providing quality service to candidates, agencies, and organizations.
Bethel students will also have access to internships in other regions of the United States, including Washington, D.C. Some students may choose to work with local or national interest groups, lobbying legislatures, making contacts in the media, or helping raise funds and public awareness.
Bethel expects students in this program will have a positive impact on the quality of student leadership on our campus, be more active in service to the local community and will positively affect the local political climate.
“My areas of study and my internship with the Mishawaka Mayor’s office did a great job preparing me for an internship at the Department of State. By studying economics, I found a niche for myself that is very cross-culturally relevant. Though I’m still learning the details of international investments, I rely on the mental economic framework that I learned in my classes at Bethel. My English courses also prepared me to be an effective communicator, a solid writer and a faster learner. These strengths are a rarity in Washington, DC, and every employer seems to be looking for them. My abilities to analyze investment reports and recount complex meetings comes directly from the classes I took on poetry, the papers I wrote on syntax, and the cross-cultural texts I read in World Literature.”
— Amy Baker ‘14
Department of State Internship