Internship FAQs

SPA Internship 101 – Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. One qualified internship experience is required of all BS-PSPP and UMS students in order to successfully graduate. Students are encouraged and may participate in more than one hands-on, work-learning experience during their studies and career exploration. *Graduate students (MPA, MPP) may also earn academic credit for internship as elective credit.
  2. It is recommended that students consider participation in internship during their second semester junior year and first semester senior year, and prior to expected participation in the PAF400 Senior Capstone class.
  3. To apply for internship students must first have completed the Research Methods and Statistics courses. Yes, besides making the rest of your studies in public administration and policy easier, more employers seek students and graduates with the marketable skill sets gained in these classes.  Four-year and Transfer students should complete these courses by the end of their first semester junior standing, in order to successfully compete for internship and employment.
  4. The work-learning of the internship coincides with participation in PAF484 or URB484, a hybrid internship course.  That means that work hours are conducted over the length of a semester – 15-16 weeks in fall and spring, or may be performed during 8-, 10- or 12-weeks in the summer.
  5. PAF484 is offered during the C-session of a semester - fall, spring and summer.
  6. BS-PSPP and BS-UMS Students must perform a minimum of 125 work hours during the semester to earn three (3) credits to meet the internship requirement, per University policy. The School of Public Affairs allows students to earn a maximum of six credits through internship, which can be applied toward degree completion. To earn six (6) credits the student must perform a minimum of 250 total hours during the semester. *Graduate students (MPA, MPP) can earn a maximum of 3 credits for internship with participation in the PAF584 Internship course. Graduate level students must perform a minimum of 300 work hours during the semester.
  7. The School of Public Affairs provides assistance in the process of identifying, seeking and securing internship through academic advising and career coaching, recommended resources and practices, and University policies for documentation and awarding of academic credit for learning outside the classroom.
  8. Students should follow these recommended steps in the process, such as,
    1) complete an application for internship referral and partiicpation, then schedule a conversation with the student’s academic advisor, or SPA internship coordinator** regarding the student's career interests, marketable skill sets and work values, or readiness for internship, 
    2) use recommended resources and best practices to identify and seek prospective internships that fit interests and provide career preparation, 4-6 months prior to the semester participation is planned,  
    3) research, apply and interview for multiple opportunities during the search,  
    4) discuss offers with the internship coordinator for pre-approval for participation in the Internship class 
    5) consider and accept the best offer to accomplish individual academic and career goals.
  9. Once selected for internship, students provide the internship coordinator with a position description and student statement of interest and internship fit with career goals, meet with the internship supervisor/agency to complete official documents for an internship agreement, and once approved, register and participate in the PAF484/URB484 Internship course to earn academic credit for internship.
  10. Students must complete the processes for identification, search and securing an internship by the 1st of the month the semester starts, and be approved for Internship course registration prior to the University’s designated “last day to drop/add a class” (without additional signatures required) in order to register and participate in the PAF484 Internship course during any fall, spring or summer semester.
  11. Academic credit is awarded as a pass/fail grade. All course assignments, total hours of work and work projects must be completed satisfactorily to earn a passing grade. 

*Students who have attained graduate level status through the 4+1 advanced degree program or the traditional MPA or MPP degree programs should consider internship and other work-learning opportunities (research assistant, service-learning, volunteer and project work) to enhance their education, when they have no prior experience in public service or their work/career interests, or will be transitioning to a new area of interest in which they hope to build expertise. Graduate students who wish to earn academic credit for internship must perform a minimum of 300 total work hours and participate in PAF584 Internship, during a semester, to earn a maximum of three (3) credits, as an elective course in pursuit of the MPA or MPP degree.