Students who have limited or no work experience in the public or nonprofit sector are encouraged to do a four credit hour internship as part of their elective course work for the MPA degree. Students employed full time are generally not eligible for academic credit for an internship.
Internships for online students are available through the departmental internship option (see below).
Goals of Internships
The main goal of the internship is to help prepare students for professional careers in the public and/or nonprofit sectors. Internships provide an opportunity for students to integrate theory and practice and to apply what they are learning in their classes to a work setting. Internships also help students develop a network of professional contacts.
Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI)
Many student internships will be with the GPSI program at UIS. The Graduate Public Service Internship program is designed to provide a professional development experience during a 21-month period for graduate students interested in pursuing careers in Illinois government. For more information on Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI) visit Graduate Internships.
Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI) students may receive four hours of academic credit for their GPSI internship. This includes the one hour course required for the GPSI program and the three hour regularly scheduled PAD 580 course required to get academic credit for the GPSI.
Illinois Legislative Staff Internship
This program provides outstanding master’s students with firsthand experience in the operations of the Illinois General Assembly and opportunities for academic studies and research in legislative politics and policy analysis. For more information on Illinois Legislative Staff Internship visit Illinois Legislative Staff Internship Program.
Legislative staff interns may count four of their ILSIP credit hours toward electives in the MPA.
Non-GPSI students are encouraged to identify a nonprofit or public sector organization that is a good match for the student’s interests and career plans. The student or a faculty member will need to contact the organization to see if the organization is amenable to having an intern and, if so, to identify someone in the organization who will be willing to be the internship site supervisor. Information for agencies interested in supervising a departmental intership is linked here.
Departmental Internship Pay
For departmental internships, the issue of internship pay and the actual arrangements for payment are to be discussed and agreed to by the student intern and the organization that sponsors the internship. The Public Administration program encourages paid internships; however, this not a requirement for the internship.
Departmental Internship Hours of Work Required
A full-time internship should last a minimum of ten weeks and a maximum of 12 months. Students are required to work a minimum of 160 hours and take four hours of internship class work to obtain four hours of internship credit. In the fall or spring semester, for example, an intern may work 10 hours per week for 16 weeks. In the summer, students might work 20 hours per week for 8 weeks. More than twenty hours per week would be discouraged.
Departmental internship students should take the three hour regularly scheduled PAD 580 class and then a one hour enrollment with a faculty member who will support them in this to receive four hours toward MPA electives.
Getting Started on Departmental Internships
Students who are ready to set up a departmental internship should contact the department chair for help.