MPA Internships

General Information

Internships are an important part of the Master of Public Administration's curriculum. Internships offer students a chance to work in an area of interest and allow them the time and experience necessary to evaluate their future career opportunities.

Internship Benefits

  • Increase your ability to find employment
  • Opportunity to "test drive" a career
  • Accumulate new skills
  • Gain experience in your field
  • Develop a network of professional contacts

SGPP Requirements

  • Master of Public Administration students are REQUIRED to complete a 3 unit internship (200 total hours). 
  • Internships may be in government agencies or non-profit organizations, and in rare cases, with for-profit organizations

Earning Internship Credit

SGPP credit is typically given for approved internships with either a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or a government agency.

PA 593 is the internship course for your MPA program. Please speak to the Graduate Programs Manager, Diane Darling, for further information on how these credits apply toward your program of study. After finding an internship, the internship application (below) must be turned in to Diane in order for her to enroll you in the appropriate internship course.

  • For a 3 credit internship, 200 internship hours need to be completed in one semester.

10 Steps to Find, Secure and Enroll in an Internship: 

Finding an internship is similar to the process of securing employment. Students need to contact organizations of interest and apply for an internship in the same way that they would a job.

Initial 5 Steps: Secure the Internship

   1.  Plan ahead! Depending on location, apply 2-12 months before your start date.

   2.  Understand internship eligibility and requirements, see above.

   3.  Prepare resume and cover letter (UA Career Development office can help).

   4.  Research internship options and apply to multiple organizations (at least 5).

  • View pre-approved SGPP internships (may need to sign in with U of A NetID and password to view)
  • View the UA Career Development information.
    • Many internship hosts (to include public and non-profit sectors) use Handshake to post internships for UA students. 
  • Search online for 501(c)(3) non-profit or government agencies in your interest areas

   5.  Internship Approval and Acceptance

  • Internships found at organizations on the SGPP website are preapproved.
  • If you have found an internship NOT on our website, you must get approval for the internship by emailing the Graduate Programs Manager, Diane Darling

      *International students must apply for and receive Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval from International Student Services (ISS) before participating. More information can be found on the ISS website under F-1 Student Employment: Curricular Practical Training.

Final 5 Steps: Earn Internship Credit  (PA 593)

   6.  Complete the INTERNSHIP APPLICATION with your site supervisor once you have been offered an internship and it has been approved - this must be turned in to Diane Darling before the start of classes for the semester you wish to complete your internship. 

   7.  Deliver completed and signed application to the Graduate Programs Manager, Diane Darling, by scan/email or bring to her office in Social Sciences, rm 315. 

   8.  The Graduate Programs Manager enrolls you in 3 units of PA 593.

   9.  Pay UA course tuition and check your UAccess schedule for enrollment accuracy.

  10. Complete internship by turning in the following forms to the Gradaute Programs Manager by the last day of classes for the semester (not the last day of finals). 

Additional Information

Internship Hours:

  • must be completed within the designated dates of your course enrollment.
  • will be tracked by the site supervisor and the intern.
  • will be reported by the site supervisor at the end of the internship.

Internship Waivers are available to career students, working full time, with THREE years of managerial/supervisory experience.

  • Students seeking an Internship Waiver must provide proof of work history and managerial/supervisory experience.
  • Students who receive the Internship Waiver must complete an additional 3 credit concentration course in lieu of the 3 credit internship requirement.

*Please note that if you are an active Coverdell Fellow, you will be allowed to use your Fellowship as an internship replacement. This simply means that you may take a replacement 3-unit graduate elective class instead of an internship, and you will not be enrolled in 3 units of PA 593, the internship course. You will still be required to complete 42 total units to graduate. You may also choose to take an additional 3-unit internship adhering to all of the guidelines above. 

Tuition, Fees, and Registration Deadlines

Internship credit is regular academic credit. Therefore, all regular university tuition rates, fees, and deadlines apply.