All MPA students who have fewer than 2-years of substantive, professional public service experience are required to complete an internship as part of their curriculum. The internship requires 400 hours of work in a government or nonprofit organization. These experiences are extremely important for students without a track record of public service employment.
Courtney Robinson ('09, '10M) gained real-world experience at the Harrisonburg nonprofit Mercy House through the MPA program.
The internship coordinator may be able to provide contact information for some local internship providers. Your best option is to contact directly agencies and organizations in which you are interested. Some entities have formalized internship programs and others may be willing to take on an intern depending on needs and workload. Make sure you are clear about the agency’s expectations from its interns—the level of autonomy and responsibility varies widely from agency to agency, and the most successful internships are ones where there is an explicit agreement between the parties prior to beginning.
Finding an Internship
There are a number of excellent websites that advertise internship vacancies. To see a list of some useful sites to assist with your search, visit our internship links page or the career links page.
Graduate Internship Training Agreement
Student's Evaluation of Internship
Provider's Evaluation of Intern
Waiving your Internship
Internships waivers are granted for students who have two or more years of professional experience in a relevant field. Contact the MPA Director for more information regarding internship waiver documentation.