Study Abroad Program Overview
This is a unique, full-time internship program offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the political, charitable and legal culture of another country. The Scottish Political Internship provides students with exclusive internship opportunities that allow them to combine work experience with their studies of the UK and Scottish political system, and the work of the International NGO (non-governmental organisation) community.
Specifically, this program allows you to further your political, cultural, and research knowledge and experience by working closely with a member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), The Director UN House Scotland, or the Team w o report to the Director of Law Reform at the Law Society of Scotland; all while living and studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. Students of all disciplinary backgrounds are welcome in this unique program.
Since 1998 , The Scottish Parliament has had the power to legislate on domestic matters that are specific to Scottish civil society (these are known as "devolved issues") the parliament also scrutinizes the work of the Scottish Executive, the Sottish Government in Holyrood , the seat of the Scottish Parliament . You’ll be part of the parliamentary team working with individual MSPs and their staff. You will be dealing with matters from constituent concerns to parliamentary questions and motions; aiding your MSP in preparing for issues on national legislation.
The Law Society of Scotland's aim is to lead legal excellence as a world-class professional body within the legal profession, while protecting the public interest in Scotland. You will be working as part of a research team who report directly to the Director of Law reform on issues such as human rights, constitutional reform, economy and representation.
The UN House Edinburgh, works with a variety of local and international civil society groups with representation from UN agencies, civil society organisations and charities, working to support UN values. At UN House a core team works in ways which engage Scottish Expertise, the public, and youth. You will be working directory with the Director of UN house to organise events, disseminate information on current affairs and international issues and work closely to promote and raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Students should be prepared to work independently and take on a wide range of tasks in a variety of areas. Job duties as an intern vary greatly depending on the organization’s mission and goals.
The Scottish Parliament passes laws on issues delegated by the UK Parliament ("devolved issues") and scrutinizes the work of the Scottish government. You’ll take part in meaningful hands-on work with individual MSPs and their staff. You will be dealing with matters from constituent concerns to parliamentary questions and motions; and aiding your MSP in preparing for issues on national legislation.
The three Non-Governmental Organizations provide opportunities in research, law, communications, business, international affairs, political science, and education. Students should be prepared to work independently and take on a wide range of tasks in a variety of areas. Job duties as an intern vary greatly depending on the organization’s mission and goals.
Orientation in Edinburgh: There is a comprehensive, mandatory UCEAP orientation on topics such as health, safety, and academics, where you will also meet your tutor and receive the course textbook. The Scottish Parliament has a separate orientation for new interns. You are required to attend all sessions at both orientations.
Later in the semester, UCEAP organizes a 2-day trip to London where you will visit the Houses of Parliament and Scottish Office. You’ll attend presentations and workshops on British and Scottish politics before experiencing debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
You are also invited to join us for UCEAP’s fabulous Thanksgiving event in November! This event rotates between the three capital cities of Edinburgh (Scotland), Dublin (Ireland) and London (England). With around 200 UC students attending, your Thanksgiving abroad will be one to remember!
During both the Fall and Spring semesters the UK Parliament takes a two week recess. Students can expect their program break to coincide with the parliamentary recess. These dates vary and will be provided upon arrival in Scotland.
Scholarships are available for this program! See the Cost page for details.
Students attend classes with UC students only.
Language of Instruction
Go to the Participants
section to see current or past calendars.
September to late December
January to late May
You have the option to rent either a flat (apartment), a room in a private home, or a room in a long-stay hostel. You must make your own housing arrangements, deposits, and payments (even if you are on full financial aid).
You can make housing arrangements either before departure or after arrival while staying in a hotel or hostel. Looking for a place to live in a city you have never visited (and in a different country) can feel overwhelming. However, if you follow these steps, your house-hunting should be easy.
Most letting agencies will require that you sign a year lease, so it is important that you communicate with the landlord the exact number of months that you will be there. Prices for flats vary depending on which area of the city you choose. The average room in a flat will cost around £80–£85 per week (roughly £320–£340 a month). Heat and other utilities are not usually included and will cost another £20, approximately. It is not very common to share rooms in the U.K., as some of them are rather small, but you must check with the landlord if you plan on sharing a room with a flat mate.
UNITE is privately owned, dorm-like housing in different locations throughout the city. You can opt for a room with a bathroom (ensuite) or a studio with or without meals provided. Laundry, Internet, and common rooms are provided. The prices range from £128 per week to £197 per week.
The Budget Backpackers hostel is located in the heart of the city center and offers a long-stay option at a weekly rate of around £50. Showers and bedding are free, and the bedding is changed once a week. There is a laundry facility that takes coins, common rooms, and a kitchen on each floor. This hostel offers a 4-person, 2-person, or single room. Internet is not included, but the library is directly up the street and many cafés have free Wi-Fi.
You will need to register as an intern (not as a student) with the local council authority. It is your responsibility to find out from the local council whether you are required to pay the local council tax in addition to the rent you are paying to a landlord.
Spring 2016: If you work at a constituency office during the final 2-3 weeks of the program, note that some offices will be outside Edinburgh and you may need to move to another town. You will be responsible to find your own housing and to make the appropriate arrangements regarding your vacated Edinburgh housing.
More Information on Housing
Participants are encouraged to take part in cultural and extracurricular activities while abroad. The internship and coursework will require you to balance you time to make sure you have time to enjoy the city of Edinburgh and the U.K. The University of Edinburgh provides a number of extracurricular opportunities that participants can access as an SPI intern. Participants can join sports, music, theater, or art groups; volunteer with social organizations; participate in athletic events and religious activities; and attend lectures, discussions, and receptions in academic and community circles.
Being in Edinburgh, you have the opportunity to see a number of cultural and social events in the city and around Scotland. Past participants say The Knowhere Guide
has great insider information for events and locales around the U.K.
This program is overseen by the EAP Study Center in Edinburgh. A UC faculty consultant, local staff, an academic coordinator, and an internship coordinator at the Scottish Parliament all help interns understand and enjoy Scottish culture and provide assistance with academics, safety, health, and other needs.
See the UCEAP Program Guide
for program-specific details about host institutions, program structure, and courses; academic culture and conduct; internships, research, & independent study; units, exams, and grades; orientation; housing; and information about the intensive language program (if applicable).
You enroll in the following three courses (21 quarter/14 semester UC units):
Special Study Internship (12 quarter/8 semester UC units) - during the internship, you are working closely with your organizational mentor for a minimum of 25 hours per week.
International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO) (4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units) -explores the activities of INGOs as subcontractor, educators, technical assistance providers, humanitarian aid providers, and policy advocates. You investigate the role of INGOs in civil society and how they shape, and are shaped by, world politics, state, and economic forces.
Subject areas: Political Science, International Studies
You prepare an essay and a presentation; participate in a group project; and complete a final exam.
Parliamentary Studies (4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units) - an overview of the working practices of the U.K. and Scottish Parliament. You compare the functions, powers, and responsibility of both parliaments facilitating an understanding of devolved and centralized politics in the U.K.
Subject area: Political Science
In consultation with the instructor, you prepare an essay, a case study, and a presentation for your final grade.
Subject area listings do not indicate that these units will satisfy specific major or other degree requirements at any particular campus. All students must work with their home campus academic departments to identify potential requirements that could be fulfilled through these units, and any criteria necessary to satisfy that requirement.
Use the following resources to learn about courses on EAP:
You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad: 21 quarter/14 semester UC units per semester.
Research and Independent Study
Internship is the focus of the program. Concurrent additional internships, research, or independent study are not possible.
UC Center Edinburgh
The Edinburgh Study Center (ESC) supports the University of California EAP students in the year and semester programs at various universities based in Scotland, Ireland, and Northern England. In addition, the ESC coordinates the UCEAP Scottish Parliament Internship program. ESC works closely with the London Study Center to coordinate exchange programs in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
ESC is located on the University of Edinburgh campus in central Edinburgh, in an area famous for its academic tradition and history. The center acts as a liaison point between the University of California EAP and host universities in the U.K. and Ireland.
Test Drive Your Future
Internships abroad are a great way to enhance your resume for today’s competitive job market. Stand out from your peers, gain hands-on experience, and develop your global professional network.
1. Political Party internship (fall and spring) - you work with individual Members of Scottish Parliament and their staff. You tasks range from constituent concerns to parliamentary questions and motions; and aiding your MSP in preparing for issues on national legislation
2. UN House Scotland (fall and spring) - a shared facility with representation from UN agencies, civil society organizations and charities, working to support UN values.
3. Law Society (fall) - the professional body for all Scottish solicitors. This internship would be an ideal fit for a pre-law major.
4. Scottish Youth Parliament (fall and spring) - the democratically elected voice of Scotland's young people. See the job description.
5. Children's Parliament (fall) - Scotland's Centre for Excellence for Children's Rights and Participation. See the job description.
Setting Up Your Internship
You will submit preliminary information regarding your internship interests at the time of application.
If you are interested in the UN House Scotland or Law Society internship, you should submit a cover letter and CV addressed to the Parliament AND a supplementary letter specific to these two organizations.
Your internship acceptance/placement will be finalized prior to departure.
- Spring 2015
- Fall 2013
- Oriel Nolan-Smith (Fall, 2012) "I was assigned to work with a Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP), and when I met with him on the first day, I told him about my interests and my Rhetoric minor, and immediately got to work on a press release. My internship was fast-paced and by the third week, I was already writing speech drafts. My time was split amongst press releases, research for memos and briefings, speeches, and shadowing my MSP.
The most rewarding part of my internship experience was sense of accomplishment felt from seeing the results of my labor. Never before have I felt as proud and delighted as when I heard my MSP reading my speech in the Scottish Government Draft Budget Debate on my last day in the internship. I knew that my work was producing tangible results."
Participation in UCEAP is a great value! The cost of studying abroad on UCEAP programs is typically less than that of non-UC study abroad programs. The dollar figures listed in the chart below represent an estimate of: 1) the UCEAP fees for the current year, and 2) the additional amount needed to cover your living expenses in this location. Estimates for personal travel, entertainment and Non-Resident (out of state) Fees are not included.
Keep in mind that on UCEAP you take your financial aid with you. The amount of your financial aid package will take into account the total estimated costs of this experience. One advantage of selecting UCEAP for study abroad is that we facilitate the process by working with your UC Financial Aid Office (FAO), informing them of your UCEAP participation and providing them with your UCEAP budget. Just like your UC Campus billing office, we receive your financial aid and scholarships from your FAO, apply it to cover the UCEAP program fees, and disburse any remaining aid on a set schedule.
Estimated EAP Costs *
* Estimates do not include Miscellaneous Campus Fees or, if applicable, Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition, Graduate or Professional Fees. If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay Non-Resident Fees on UCEAP.
1 UCEAP Fees: This represents an estimate of UCEAP fees for the current year. Actual amounts will vary due to potential changes to UC fees, exchange rate fluctuation, etc. This figure includes UC tuition and fees for undergraduate, in-state residents. For a detailed breakdown of what’s included in this estimate, visit the Participants Portal and select the appropriate program. Non-Resident Fees apply: If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay non-resident fees on UCEAP.
2 Additional Costs: Average living expenses include but are not limited to room and board, transportation, books, supplies, and other incidentals and do not include recreational travel or entertainment. The total cost will vary depending on your personal expenses, exchange rate fluctuation, and the program you attend. For a detailed breakdown of the estimate, visit the “Cost” tab of the appropriate program.
All fees are subject to change without notice.
These expenses are estimated for 2017-18. Actual amounts will vary due to potential changes to UC fees, exchange rate fluctuation, etc. For a more detailed breakdown of 2017-18 payment information, visit the Participants Portal
and select the appropriate program. Estimates do not include non-resident supplemental tuition. If you are subject to out-of-state tuition at your UC campus, you will pay non-resident fees on UCEAP.
Here’s what is included in the estimate:
While on UCEAP, you are covered by UC’s accident and medical insurance, including non-medical benefits, and 24/7 travel assistance anywhere in the world.
- Predeparture expenses (health clearance, student visa, etc.)
- Round-trip airfare
- UC fees
- On-site orientation
- Room and board
- Optional excursions
- Books and other incidental expenses
- Local transportation
- Automatic transfer of credits and grades to your UC transcript
All participants in this program may receive a $2,000 scholarship in the 2017-18 academic year! See which program terms are eligible.
Multiple scholarships can be combined to cover UCEAP costs. Visit our scholarships overview page to apply for additional UCEAP scholarships.
3.00 cumulative GPA at the time of application and maintained through the end of the last term prior to departure.GPA Note
: 3.0 in Major
All applicants must also have:
- Serious academic goals and a clear plan for integrating EAP studies into the student's UC degree program.
- Social, interpersonal, and cross-cultural sensitivity; maturity; willingness to adapt successfully to different living and academic environments; appropriate behavior in a variety of situations.
- A willingness to abide by program regulations.
- Completed all campus- and program-specific requirements and be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
Application Information and Deadlines
Important: If you are planning to participate in back to back study abroad programs (with UCEAP or any other organization), you must notify your campus study abroad office. There are important things to consider when participating in consecutive programs, such as program dates and visa requirements. Not all program combinations are possible.
Application deadlines and information on the application process are available through your Campus EAP Office. Supplemental pre-departure materials will be required for many programs, including, but not limited to, host institution applications, visa and housing applications, medical clearances, etc.
For participation in the program, you must meet all deadlines and submit complete application materials.
These are minimum requirements. After selection by your UC Campus EAP Office, final admission is determined by internship coordinators at the Scottish Parliament.
Visit your Campus Study Abroad website for program-specific deadlines: