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Internship Information

The internship is primarily designed to provide practical experience to pre-service students. The academic component consists of part-time (paid or unpaid) employment in a public service entity or government-related office. A maximum of three hours credit can be earned through an internship.

Normally the student will work an average of 20 hours per week for the 3 hours of PA 5389 credit. The academic component of the public service internship includes a required research paper and completion of assigned readings.

An internship is required for all pre-service students, but is optional for practitioners. The required internship for pre-service students is in addition to the 39-hour MPA curriculum. Internships for practitioners can be useful for individuals wishing to make a career change. Additional details concerning the internship program can be obtained by contacting: Dr. Patricia Shields 

Course Description

The MPA Internship is primarily designed to provide practical on-the-job experience to pre service students. The academic component consists of part-time (paid or unpaid) on-the-job experience in a government-related office or a private non-profit organization. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with an immersion-learning, integrative practicum. Ideally, the internship experience provides professional experience, an opportunity to integrate theories learned in the classroom with practical experience. In addition the student is exposed to the daily routines, processes, procedures, and expectations of work life in the public and third sectors.

Course Objectives

The internship is a structured educational work experience, where students take a responsible role and contribute to a public administration organization. Through the internship, the student should learn new skills, expand their knowledge of a particular management of policy area, explore career options, and apply academic knowledge in a “real- life” situation. The internship should also facilitate the development of professional skills such as planning, organizing and leadership.

Course Requirements

Prior to registering the student must meet with Dr. Shields and get permission to register.

The student is expected to work a total of 300 hours over the course of the internship. This usually averages to 20 hours a week for 15 weeks. The student should document the hours worked in the Internship Manual.

Forms on File
The student must complete the required paperwork that is found in the Internship Manual. The student should maintain a copy of the signed forms in the Internship Manual and provide a copy to the Department of Political Science. Journal: The student should keep a daily journal in the Internship Manual.

Meetings with Dr. Shields
Over the course of the internship the student should have two meetings with Dr. Shields (one meeting may be over the telephone) and send two email communications that indicate progress. Document the meetings in the Internship Manual. Keep the email communication in the Internship Manual.

Research Paper
15-20 page paper on a management or policy area related to the internship.

Internship Manual
All materials collected in the Internship Manual should be turned in at the end of the internship.