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Institute for Public Policy Studies


Value of Internships

There are countless examples of public policy students receiving employment offers as a result of their internship experiences. Some will receive offers at their host organizations, while others will receive offers at organizations that value the experience students gained in previous internship settings. In addition, with the increasing demands of school work and extracurricular activities, many students do not have professional work experience prior to graduation. This experience is crucial when searching for full-time employment either post-graduation or during graduate work. Although internships are not required for graduation in the public policy programs, they are highly encouraged and most students will choose to complete an internship prior to graduation.

Locating Internship Opportunities

Students are able to pursue internship opportunities locally, nationally, or internationally. You may work for government, non-profit organizations, or private business. Click here for a list of possible internship locations. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and there are many opportunities with organizations not listed. In addition, this is not a pre-approved list; you must still obtain departmental permission for all internships if you wish to receive public policy academic credit. You are encouraged to explore a variety of opportunities and choose your host organization carefully.


Institute for Public Policy Studies students who serve as interns are held to high standards of performance and integrity. Prior to receiving public policy internship credit, all policy students are required to agree to the following statement: "I will be a positive representative of the University and the Institute; demonstrate a strong work ethic; behave ethically and responsibly; and make positive and creative contributions to the host organization. We believe in training-at-will, therefore, if your supervisor is ever less than satisfied with your performance or behavior, we would respect his or her right to end the internship and no academic credit would be awarded.

Please review the Internship Conduct and Guidelines

Receiving Academic Credit

All internships must be approved by the Director or Assistant Director prior to receiving public policy academic credit. Only students who have declared public policy as their major or minor may receive public policy internship credit. Please send an email to Debbie Gaylinn at [email protected] that includes the following information 1) organization name, 2) organization website, 3) internship supervisor's name and contact information, 4) description of projects / work you will complete, 5) skills you hope to obtain by completing the internship, 6) how this internship relates to your career goals, 7) begin / end dates for internship and hours per week 8) desired number of public policy credits, and 9) a statement indicating that you have read and agree to the IPPS internship standards (outlined in the section above).

Credit Hours

The maximum number of credits you may receive for an internship is dependent on the number of hours you will work (a student may choose to enroll in less than the maximum, if he / she wishes):

125 total hours, 5 credits
100 total hours, 4 credits
75 total hours, 3 credits
50 total hours, 2 credits
25 total hours, 1 credit

Students may receive a maximum of 5 internship credits to count toward the public policy BA major or the MPP. Students are encouraged to complete additional internships for the experiential value alone, but will not receive additional academic credit beyond the 5 total credits.

After receiving approval and determining the number of credit hours you will receive, then you may register for the appropriate internship:

Graduate Internships:

PPOL 4900, Public Sector Internship
PPOL 4910, Private Sector Internship
PPOL 4920, Non-profit Sector Internship

Undergraduate Internships:

PPOL 3450, Political Internship
PPOL 3460, Legislative Internship
PPOL 3470, Congressional Internship
PPOL 3880, Private Sector Internship

Assign Letter Grade

Prior to the first day of finals, students must submit the following information:

  1. Evaluation form completed by your supervisor and sent directly to the IPPS office
    Note that evaluations are confidential and will not be shared with the student
  2. 5- to 7-page paper that describes what you learned, how public policy courses did/did not prepare you for your internship, how the internship influenced your career path, the skills you gained or utilized, and whether or not you would recommend this internship site to another public policy student
  3. samples of work product, if appropriate and available.

After the director reviews the above information, you will be assigned a grade (A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D, or F).