PDF documents for the Internship Work Plan, Student Intern Responsibilities, and Agency/Organization Responsibilities & Best Practices can be found at the end of this webpage.
The Purpose of an Internship
The primary goal of an internship is to give students an opportunity to apply lessons learned in the classroom to a real-world experience set in a professional practice-oriented environment, with the intern’s work preferably overseen by a professional.
In addition to offering students the opportunity to demonstrate and develop their technical skills, it allows students to develop professional skills such as teamwork, effective communication, social interaction and professional networking, an understanding of business procedures, leadership, and critical thinking.
Finally, it should provide students with work experience within a semi-formal academic framework that carries with it official course credit from the University of Arizona.
Definition of an internship: An internship is a guided learning experience offered by an organization with the student’s education and preparation for future employment in mind. An internship is a temporary practical assignment, usually lasting only 1-2 academic terms, with no guarantee of ongoing employment. When internships are pursued for academic credit, the academic unit is responsible for assessing assignments and awarding credit.
Concurrent enrollment: All hours of work at an internship for credit must take place on or after the first day of the term in which the student will register and for which the student will receive credit and be completed on or before the last date of the same term. Retroactive requests for credit will not be granted - no exceptions.
Complete UA Internship Policy
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 the time and experience necessary to evaluate future career opportunities. Internships provide an opportunity to:
- Accumulate new professional skills
- Gain experience in a chosen field
- Develop a network of professional contacts
- Increase your ability to find employment
MPA Internship Learning Outcomes
In an internship setting, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to do at least 3 of the following:
- The ability to lead and manage in public governance
- The ability to participate in and contribute to the policy process
- The ability to analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems, and make decisions
- The ability to articulate and apply a public service perspective
- The ability to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry
Students may use the above examples as a loose guideline in searching for appropriate internships.
- Master of Public Administration students are required to complete a 3-unit internship (135 minimum total hours) within the span of one semester.
- Students should be in good academic standing participate in an internship.
- An internship must be with a non-profit organization or government agency to receive academic credit.
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.
- Plan ahead! Depending on location, apply 6-9 months before your planned start date.
- Understand internship requirements (see above information).
- Research internship options and apply to multiple organizations.
- Search online for non-profit or government agencies in your areas of interest.
- Many internship hosts (including public and non-profit sectors) use Handshake to post internship opportunities for UA students.
- View list of pre-approved MPA internships
- If you find an internship of interest and it is NOT listed on the pre-approved list or the Jobs and Internships webpage, please contact the Graduate Programs Manager. Please clearly describe your interest in the organization and how you believe it will be applicable to your future career. Students are welcome to search the pre-approved list of SGPP undergraduate internships as well.
- Prepare resume(s) and cover letter(s).
- View the the Graduate Center's Career Support website for resources and career counseling services.
- View the Office of Student Engagement & Career Development website for additional resources.
- Internship Approval and Acceptance
- Prepare Internship Work Plan with Site Supervisor.
- International students must apply for and receive Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval from the International Student Services Office (ISSO) before participating. More information can be found on the ISSO website under F-1 Student Employment: Curricular Practical Training.
- Complete the INTERNSHIP WORK PLAN with your site supervisor once you have been offered an internship and it has been approved - this must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Manager at least 1-2 weeks before the start of classes for the semester you wish to complete your internship (see semester/term deadline dates below).
- Submit the completed work plan to the Graduate Programs Manager via email for faculty assignment and final approval.
- After instructor assignment and approval, you will be enrolled in 3 units of PA 593. An email confirmation will be sent to the student along with information on their faculty supervisor.
- Progess through internship according to Internship Work Plan.
- Regularly correspond with faculty supervisor and complete any additional assitnment(s) requested.
- By the last day of classes of the semester/term, submit internship evaluation forms. The Graduate Programs Manager will provide both links to the student at least 2 weeks in advance prior to the last day of classes.
- Student Internship Evaluation Form (to be completed by the student)
- Internship Supervisor Evaluation Form (to be completed by the internship supervisor)
Internship Work Plan Submission Deadlines:
- Summer 2023 - June 1st
- Fall 2023 - August 14th
must be completed within the designated dates of your course enrollment
should be tracked by the site supervisor and the intern
will be reported by the site supervisor at the end of the internship
Tuition, Fees, and Registrar Deadlines:
Page updated 11/2/2022.