If you are a junior or senior student now is the time to be preparing for an internship in fall 2021.  Identifying and seeking are two critical first processes you will engage in to secure and qualify an internship for credit.  On average these search processes require your attention for 2 - 4 months prior to the semester you plan to participate in the PAF 484 required course, so begin now.


The School of Public Affairs (SPA) Internship Program

The Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Public Policy and Bachelor of Science in Urban Management Studies degree programs require that students complete an internship and participate in an internship class, PAF484, earning academic credit for their work-learning experience.  Graduate students pursuing a Master's of Public Administration or a Master's of Public Policy may elect to participate in an internship and may earn academic credit toward their degree.

How to get started:

  • Attend a SPA Internship Introduction Workshop scheduled early in the semester, prior to the semester that you plan to participate in internship and PAF484 course.  UPDATE: The next Introduction sessions (for those planning to participate in required course summer or fall 2021) are:

    Fridays, May 7, 14, 21 at 11:30 am

    RSVP at, for link and materials

  • OR, you can review this site for information on the three phases of the internship—identifying, seeking, and securing—which coincides with the three pages of the SPA Application for Internship Referral and Participation, and follow the next steps.
  • Attend the three Preparation Workshops following the Introduction for best practices in resume building, job search, and interview skills, as needed. The spring 2021 Prep Workshop Series schedule was sent to all junior and senior SPA students, multiple times prior to the Prep Workshop Series.  UPDATE: Spring workshops are concluded.  Schedule a work session with a University or SPA career coach for individual assistance.  PDF icon spring_2021_internship_prep_workshops_for_su_and_fa_2021.pdf
  • Complete page 1 of the downloadable SPA Application for Internship Referral and Participation (located below). Prepare a draft resume (use the outline provided in the resource guide below).
  • Send SPA Application and draft resume to, along with a request to schedule an appointment to meet with the SPA Internship Coordinator (not the same person as your academic advisor).
  • The Internship Coordinator will contact you to arrange an Internship Intake Interview and determine next steps. 
  • Follow up with the Internship Coordinator regularly throughout the three processes of  identification, search, and securing academic approval, for coaching and assistance.


SPA Application for Internship

Internship Timeline and Checklist

Resource Guide


Know your program and interests

The Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Public Policy prepares students for work in government at all levels (towns and cities, county, state and federal) and with nonprofit organizations and community partners, in project, program or policy development, implementation and evaluation, and public and community leadership and management.  For those who have previously engaged in public service and those who now aspire to help others, influence decision-makers, and create social change that makes a difference in the lives of every citizen, preparation is key.  The comprehensive classroom study of policy, leadership, management, and urban governance of the BS-PSPP is enhanced by Solutions-Based Learning, which involves the use of hands-on, service learning, or the application of classroom theory and principles, in the practical, project-based experiences that internship provides. 

BS-PSPP students and graduates of the Bachelor's degree program successfully pursue careers in:

Government Administration and Management – with local (city and county), state and Federal level agencies, providing project, program, department and division administration functions, while working toward executive management

Policy-making and analysis  research, analyze and recommend policy on issues such as criminal justice, public health, sustainability, environment, and technology with relation to government authority

Government Relations and Public Affairs – building relationships within and across public, private and nonprofit organizations and community partners to address public concerns

Political Affairs, Lobbying, and Consultation – researching and writing on legislative, economic and other community issues, and informing stakeholders and decision makers

Nonprofit Management and Advocacy – serving diverse populations, implementing programs and addressing various community issues in local, regional, national and international,  quasi- and non-governmental agencies and partner organizations

Law and Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and Homeland Security - providing policy analysis and implementation to ensure public safety through work with legislative and judicial branches of local, state and federal government, and with nonprofit and private sector community volunteers and partners

Health Policy and Human Services Administration  serving various populations and communities in the assessment, implementation and evaluation of health and human service programs addressing the public's social, behavioral and health, through work with government, nonprofit and private agencies and organizations

Understand the power of internship in your career and professional development

The number of internships completed by U.S. college students has increased over the last 20 years. The uncertain and competitive job market that emerged in the wake of the 2008 world financial crisis refocused public attention on the role of internships in undergraduate education as a way to prepare for career success. High-quality internship experiences are increasingly understood to be an integral part of an excellent undergraduate education, with prominent educational organizations advocating internships as a pathway to career success for college students (NACE Journal, May 2017).

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) research has found a strong positive relationship between a student having an internship and an increased probability of receiving a full-time job offer while searching for post-graduation work prior to graduation.  Recruiting and hiring in the field of public service is no different than other occupations - Everyone wants to hire the best and brightest. 

Competition for management and leadership positions in the field of public service is robust at all levels.  Research, analytical, and communication skills are highly valued.  Experience in project and program management are also preferred qualifications.  While students are exposed to principles and best practices in the classroom and benefit from instruction by experienced professionals, there is no substitute for applying knowledge and skills to real community concerns.

Therefore, as a student of the School of Public Affairs, like all ASU students, you should consider participation in work-learning a powerful complement to classroom and online learning, to enhance education and career opportunities for building a resume and reputation to take you through entry-, mid- and executive-level leadership and management success.

Have questions? Contact Maryjo Douglas Zunk, Manager, Career and Professional Development, (and Internship Coordinator), via email at or at 602.496.0450. 

Ready for the next step? 

Identifying an Internship