Professional Outlets for Writing

Throughout your time in political science courses, you will have produced tens or hundreds of pages of written work. These seminar papers can find new life after a course ends. Discuss with faculty and graduate teaching assistants how your writing can provide fodder for job and graduate school writing samples, fellowship applications, and undergraduate journal submissions.

Job & Graduate School Writing Samples

Many employers require applicants to submit a writing sample, along with a cover letter and resume. The content and length of that sample depends on the employer. In addition, most graduate schools ask applicants to provide an example of their academic writing. Save those term papers and consider how you might revise them into such writing samples.

Fellowships and Further Research

Political science academic writing can inspire future research plans, which you might carry out while at GW or when transitioning upon graduation. Moreover, the academic writing itself can serve as material for grant and fellowship applications.

For research, travel, internship, and work support during undergraduate studies, political science students may use their writing when applying for:

When preparing to transition from GW, contact the GW Center for Undergraduate Fellowships & Research to learn about the Fulbright Fellowship, Carnegie Endowment Junior Fellows Program, and other opportunities for soon-to-be graduates.

Finally, completed research papers can also be honored by the university, sometimes resulting in a small monetary prize, such as the Eckles Prize for Freshman Research Excellence and Kiev Writing Prize!

Publication & Presentation

Political science faculty and graduate students would be happy to discuss how to revise coursework writing so that your work is well positioned for placement in undergraduate scholarly publications. The process of revising your work and communicating with students at another university is a professional experience in and of itself. Moreover, having an academic publication on your resume is a powerful signal to future employers and graduate school admissions committees: you took the time to pursue publication as an undergraduate, and you developed a piece of research and writing worthy of publication. Finally, the published piece (or a selection from it) is a ready-made writing sample for fellowship, job, or graduate school applications.

The following journals solicit undergraduate submissions:

A critical component of political science research is presenting your work to peers and colleagues, for feedback on your argument, research design, and empirical evidence. Like publication, presenting research as an undergraduate is a professional experience in itself. Employers look for job candidates with strong communications skills. One way to develop these skills is to distill a lengthy research paper and complex research project into a presentation, and to give that presentation among a group of colleagues.

Each spring, GW hosts Research Days, during which all members of the GW community are encouraged to present their on-going research. Their website also presents advice for designing presentation posters and writing research abstracts.