Public Administration Internships You Can Find in 2024

Public Administration Internships You Can Find in 2024-image

Hands-on experience. There’s nothing like an internship to help connect the dots of what you learn as a Master of Public Administration student. 

Internships are an important part of many degree programs. But, this is especially true for MPA programs, because they place an emphasis on experiential, hands-on learning. Internships provide a chance to take what you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to your real-world professional experiences. 

Read on to learn more about why an internship should be part of your MPA experience and options that could be a fit for you

The Value of College Internships in Public Administration

As we already mentioned, one of the primary reasons to participate in an internship is to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities you’ll encounter once you’ve entered your career.   

Here are some additional ways you’ll benefit from the experience: 

  • Industry Insight. Working in a real-world setting provides you a deeper understanding of the challenges and trends in the field of public administration. For example, internships expose you to the realities of working in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, think tanks, or other relevant sectors.
  • Professional Networking. You’ll network with public administration professionals, which can open doors to future job opportunities and mentorship.  
  • Skill Development. You’ll develop and practice skills that will be important in your career including project management, data analysis, policy analysis, communication, leadership, and teamwork.  
  • Career Exploration. You’ll explore different job roles and organizations, which will help you make better decisions about where you want your career path to go in the future.  

Internships for Master of Public Administration Students

From opportunities in government to international organizations, there are a variety of industries with internships for MPA students. As you start your research, here are some options to consider.   

Government Internships

Students seeking internships in government can work in roles at the federal, state, and local levels. For example, at the federal level, you can choose from internships at the White House and the U.S. Department of State. At the state level, there are programs such as the California State Summer Internship Program. And at the local level, you might participate in a program like the New York City Mayor’s Office Internship Program. 

Interns might be involved in conducting research to inform policy decisions, assisting in program implementation and evaluation, engaging with stakeholders to address community needs, and collaborating with government officials.

Nonprofit Internships

These internships offer MPA students a way to engage with nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) committed to addressing social issues, advocating for human rights, and delivering important services to communities in need. 

For example, both Amnesty International and the Red Cross offer internship programs. In these roles, interns might be involved in conducting research for advocacy campaigns, organizing community outreach events, assisting with grant writing and fundraising efforts, and collaborating with volunteers and stakeholders. 

International Internships

International internships provide an opportunity to work with organizations like the United Nations and the World Bank. In these internships, students learn about international policymaking processes and gain exposure to global governance.

Interns working at international organizations may engage in research, analysis, and project management related to issues like sustainable development, poverty, human rights, and peacekeeping. They might have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of international development goals, support the implementation of programs with a global impact, and foster collaboration among nations. 

Corporate Social Responsibility Internships

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important, with many corporations incorporating sustainable and ethical practices into their strategies. Internships in this area might include participating in the Google Policy Fellowship or Microsoft Internship Program's CSR projects.

These interns focus on promoting sustainable practices, addressing social issues, and upholding ethical standards within corporations. They might be involved in projects related to environmental stewardship, community engagement, diversity and inclusion, supply chain management, or responsible governance. 

Think Tank Internships

Students involved with think tank internships might have a chance to contribute to research and participate in policy discussions. Some examples of think tanks with internship programs include the Brookings Institution and the RAND Summer Associate Program.

In this type of internship, interns might play a role in supporting research projects, conducting data analysis, and contributing to policy papers. Interns work closely with senior experts and researchers, gaining insights into the think tank's areas of focus which might include economics, international relations, public health, or social policy.  

Finding the Right Public Administration Internship

Once you’ve done your research and found an opportunity that fits with your professional goals, you’ll want to approach the application process like you would a job interview. To take the guesswork out of preparing, we’ve created an actionable list of steps and tips to help you secure your dream internship. 

As an MPA student, you’ll also have access to resources to support your internship search. For example, students in the Cornell Brooks School MPA program are supported by the Brooks Office of Career Management team, which assists with everything from practicing interviews to editing resumes. 

Now, are you ready to take the first step in finding an internship that could set the stage for your  career in public administration? 

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