MPA Internship Information

The essential purpose of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Internship Program is to offer public administration students who lack previous public service experience a developmental learning experience in the mainstream of public management.

Beyond providing professional development for interns, participating agencies also benefit from the program by being able to tap the resources of talented, motivated graduate students to help meet agency needs. This talent, moreover, is available at a very reasonable cost to the agencies.  The basic objectives of the internship program, then, are:

  • to provide the pre-professional with a valuable learning experience in his or her area of public service interest
  • to provide agencies with talented pre-professionals at reasonable cost and
  • to strengthen the university/community bond

Interns are generally assigned research or administrative duties by supervisors at the agencies for which they work, but always involve a meaningful learning experience. The nature of assignments varies widely depending on agency needs. Interns employed in municipal managers' offices, for example, work on a range of assignments from capital budgeting to handling citizen complaints. In other agencies, interns procure and analyze crime statistics, work on economic development programs, and evaluate the delivery of services in target areas.  Interns have worked at a number of municipalities and nonrpofit organziations.

Students who enter the MPA program without "appropriate professional experience" will generally be required to serve internships. "Appropriate professional experience" can generally be defined as: at least two years of administrative full-time work experience in the student's area of interest in the MPA program. The Chair of the Department of Public Administration makes all final decisions on whether a prospective student meets the criteria. 

Most interns work an average of 20 - 24 hours per week in their agencies while being a full-time student. Interns must work a minimum of 20 hours per week.  Classes in which interns are enrolled are generally scheduled in the time frame of 5:00 - 10:00 p.m. This allows maximum flexibility in scheduling intern work sessions.  Depending on the internship site, interns may be allowed to work full-time over the summer and semester breaks.  See some of our past internship sites.

Wages range from $10.00 - $20.43 per hour, with $14.57 being the average wage. Wages are determined by the agency. Interns are responsible for providing their own means of transportation to and from internship sites. 

Once admitted to the program, the student will begin the internship application process under the direction of the Department. 

If the MPA Internship Program interests you or you have any questions please call the Department of Public Administration office at (815) 753-0184