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MPA Internships

MPA Internship Placement

The purpose of an internship is to provide students with an opportunity to gain professional experience with a public or nonprofit organization. Considering that the majority of our regular MPA students are in-service professionals, the internship is no longer a requirement of the program. Nevertheless, the program strongly recommends that pre-service students, regardless of financial need, participate in an internship at some point during their MPA studies. The accelerated MPA students normally do not pursue an internship due to tight schedule and elevated burden of coursework.

The program believes that an internship course could provide an additional benefit to MPA students who intend to gain more field experiences. We offer a 4-credit hour optional internship course, PA 490: Field Experience in Public Administration, which could count toward the MPA requirements as an elective. Students have the option of taking more than one Field Experience course, but only four credit hours of PA 490 will be counted toward the MPA degree. Students who have no prior experience in the public or nonprofit sectors are strongly encouraged to register for this 4-credit hour course. In-service students can also register for this course, but the instructor typically requires substitution of a special project that is substantially different from their regular work duties for the internship requirement.

Field experience is intended to familiarize students with the managerial and policy issues faced in day-to-day practice by a particular government agency, community group, or nonprofit organization. The internship is structured so that students learn to recognize the political, economic and managerial constraints operating in a public environment. Students are also introduced to management strategies used to ensure effective organizational operation. Students must work as paid or unpaid interns for 225 hours (approximately 15 hours per week) to satisfy the course requirement and they cannot enroll in the course until they have completed at least half their coursework toward the MPA degree.

Recent MPA Internships and Special Projects Heading link