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MA Program Internship (POL 597) Guidelines

The Rationale
The internship is intended as a “capstone” experience that will allow a student to work in an organization and apply some of the skills that have been learned in coursework and is expected to be completed in the student's final semester of their degree.  Public Policy is a practical profession and “learning by doing” is important. We also hope that some students may find the internship to be a valuable direct or indirect route to obtaining a full-time position in the field.

 * Students who already have employment in the field should consider the Thesis/ Paper in Public Policy Option for 6 credits (POL 598). 

The Structure
Registration in POL 597 and the actual internship assignment must be approved by the Graduate Director. Credit will not be given retroactively for any internship activity not properly approved.

  • For students in the full-time MAPP program, the internship is expected to be completed over the summer following the 2 semesters of coursework.
  • For part-time MAPP students, the internship is expected to come late in the program, after completion of a minimum of 18 credits of coursework. For part-time students who currently hold full-time positions in the public policy field, the Master’s Paper (POL 598) option is more appropriate. Further information will be available regarding the requirements and procedures for the Master’s Paper.
  • For BA/MA students, the internship should generally be completed during the spring semester of the 5th year. Approval by the Graduate Program Director may be granted for these exceptions when the benefits of a particular internship program warrant special consideration.


Eligible Internships
Internships are expected to be in a government, non-profit or private organization that addresses public policy issues (e.g., in a private organization, one could work in the government liaison office of Computer Associates, but a basic private sector marketing position would not be approved). Again, all internships are subject to program director approval. This form can be found at the bottom of this website.

The internship can be a paid opportunity, but it need not be. It can also be either a full-time or part-time position. The minimum number of hours for the internship is 200 (10 weeks at 20 hours per week - generally, a minimum of 20 hours per week is suggested). This also reflects the fact that a 6 credit course would normally expect 18 hours of work per week including class time, over 15 weeks (18 x 15 = 270).

The Course Element
The internship course represents 6 credit hours of the 30 credits required to earn the M.A. In addition to the time spent in the internship organization, the course will meet at least at the beginning and end of the semester. Students will be required to keep a daily journal of their internship activities and to write a policy analysis paper (15 typewritten double-spaced pages) based on their experiences in the organization.


Internship Approval Form

Internship Completion Evaluation Form