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2024 Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu

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Host Organization:    Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu

Website: or

Organization Profile: The University of Tartu is Estonia's leading institution of research and higher education. Founded in 1632, it is one of the oldest universities in Northern and Eastern Europe. Today, the UT is the only Baltic university ranked among the best 250 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022). It is also ranked as the best university in “New Europe” – the 13 nations that have joined the European Union since 2004 (Times Higher Education New Europe Ranking 2018). The UT’s competitive edge stems from research excellence and impact, as well as the quality of its learning environment. 

The UT has about 14, 000 students (including over 1000 international students from 70 countries) and about 3000 employees (including 1500 academic staff members). It has four faculties, including the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Science and Technology.  The UT has about 1300 doctoral students and awards more than a half of all doctoral degrees issued in Estonia. The UT has 72 partner universities in 26 countries. It offers a wide range of support services to its international students and staff.

City: Tartu

Internship Format:   In-person

Internship Department:     Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies

Department Profile: The Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu combines top-level scholarly research with a dynamic, international learning environment at all three levels of higher education. It offers a Political Science BA program at the Bachelor’s level (in Estonian), five MA programs (International Relations and Regional Studies, Politics and Governance, EU-Russia Studies, European Studies, Central & East European, Russian & Eurasian Studies) in English and in Estonian, as well as a Political Science PhD program (in English). The institute has over 430 students and about 30 academic staff members, in addition to researchers and analysts working on applied projects. The Skytte Institute is one of the most international units of the University of Tartu, both in terms of staff and students. The Institute is ranked as one of the top three political science departments in the new member states of the European Union (QS University Ranking by Subject 2019).

Research conducted at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies encompasses the main subfields of political science (comparative politics, international relations, and political theory), as well as area studies (Baltic, Russian, East European and EU politics) and, more recently, research on the usage and impact of information and communication technologies. The main research directions of the Institute include:

The Institute is a member of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR). The Institute has been successful in obtaining competitive research grants, including from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, the Estonian Research Council and other domestic and international funders. Since 2011, the Institute has been very active in hosting and supporting foreign visiting scholars, post-docs and PhD students, and has developed a reputation as a reliable organizer of large-scale international conferences in political science and area studies.

Project description:  

We offer three possible ‘tracks’ for the internship (which can also be combined, depending on the interests and competences of the intern):

1) Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe track. The intern would contribute to research and applied projects as well as summer schools run by the Centre for Eurasian and Russian Studies and/or by the University of Tartu Ukraine Centre. This could include a variety of research, communication and
dissemination tasks, as well as event organization and reporting.

2) E-governance and e-democracy (including internet voting) track. Main activities include assisting the ERA Chair in E-Governance and Digital Public Services (a large EU funded project, implemented by a multinational team of researchers) with a range of activities, including research on e-governance and e-democracy, outreach activities, preparation of teaching and learning tools, event organization, and preparation of funding proposals. 

3) Comparative European politics track. Main activities include providing research assistance to a team of researchers focusing on elections, voters, and parties in Europe. Topics covered could include voting behavior, democratic backsliding, the rise of populism and extremism, and political polarization. Specific tasks could include finding and summarizing relevant academic literature, compiling datasets, and conducting basic statistical analysis. The intern could also be asked to contribute to preparing grant proposals focusing on these and related topics. 

Number of Opening(s):     2         

Work Hours and Internship Start/End Dates: (Monday to Friday, June 24 –August 16, 2024) Five days and 35-40 hours a week (flexible working hours)

Work Attire:     Casual

Local Language:     Estonian. Not required. English and Russian are also widely spoken.

Additional desired intern qualifications: 

- has very good communication and writing skills (in English);

- is motivated, punctual and reliable, and able to work effectively both independently and as part of a team. 

- has an interest (and at least some background) in one of the internship tracks described above.

- is interested in learning about Estonian, Baltic or possibly Russian cultures and societies.

City or Cities:
  • Global Studies minors in European Studies will receive preference.
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  • Stanford strongly recommends the Covid-19 vaccinations for students. Policies regarding travel (domestic or international) and international internships will be updated as University policies evolve. Visit International Affairs Health Advisories for the most current travel guidance and restrictions for international travel.
  • Travel Reservations : All interns are strongly encouraged to utilize Stanford Travel, a centralized booking program, when booking airfare, hotels, or rental cars for their internship experiences.
  • Students must be enrolled at Stanford in the quarter when they apply for an internship opportunity (Winter), and will need to be enrolled in undergraduate study in the quarter when grant funding is disbursed (Spring). Applicants participating in off-campus Stanford programs are welcome to apply, but it is the responsibility of the applicant to compile, collate, and submit a complete application.
  • Internship participants must certify that they are in good academic standing, and may not participate in the program or receive or retain internship stipends if they are on suspension.
  • International students must consult with Bechtel about interning in the U.S. or traveling out of the U.S. in the summer.
  • ​ The Program is open to all undergraduate students. Seniors or co-terms are eligible as long as they do not confer their undergraduate degrees until after they complete their internships to remain eligible. Coterm students must still have undergraduate status. Positions in South Asia and Iranian Studies are also open to Master's students in all majors. Positions in East Asia are open to MA students majoring in East Asian Studies. Note:  Only seniors who will be returning to coterm for all of next year, are eligible to apply for positions in Belgium and Estonia. 
  • Participants must be current Stanford students during the internship period. Seniors and graduating Master's students must postpone graduation paperwork until the internship ends, but may participate in commencement. For summer graduation requirements, including details regarding enrollment requirements and information about participation in the June commencement ceremonies, students should contact their major department's student services office and Registrar's Office for graduation quarter petition.
  • Local language skills are based on the internship description requirements.
  • Global Studies minors receive preference for the program.
  • Preferably, before beginning their internships, selected candidates should have taken at least one course regarding the internship region. The course can be taken in the quarter prior to the internship. 
  • Interns must commit to full-time work (a minimum of 35 hours per week) for at least 8 weeks. 
  • To be eligible for a stipend, students must maintain health insurance for the duration of their internship.
  • Violations of Global Studies Internship Program policies are also violations of the Fundamental Standard and may be referred to the Office of Community Standards. Students who fail to abide by the policies set forth by the Global Studies Internship Program, Stanford Global Studies, and Stanford University will have low priority or no longer be eligible for future Stanford Global Studies funding opportunities and programs. The Global Studies Internship Program reserves the right to rescind funding at any given point and time should they be apprised of any policy violations as outlined above.
  • Stanford reserves the right to cancel or modify the program before or during its operation for any reason, including natural disasters, emergencies, or compliance with the University travel policy: “For undergraduate students, Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips are prohibited to countries or regions and locations within a country where International SOS risk rating (either the medical risk or travel risk) is “High” or “Extreme,” or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks  for either the country destination, or for the particular region or location of intended travel within the country destination, or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks. To determine a location’s International SOS medical and travel risk ratings, click “Risk Ratings” and select the destination country (immediately below and to the left of “Learn About Your Risks”).
  • No university funds or resources may be used, university sponsorship provided, or academic credit awarded, in support of travel to these locations. All individuals engaging in university-sponsored travel must comply with all applicable travel policies.”

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