Students with one year of management/supervisory experience may apply to the MPA Director to have their internship waived. Please email the MPA Director to have your resume reviewed after you review the Internship Policy below.
For students interested in completing the three-credit internship (PPA 601), a minimum of 20 hours per week of work for 15 weeks, or 300 hours, is required. Students who are unable to complete a traditional internship are required to complete the three-credit professional development seminar (PPA 602). This course is designed to provide students with an equivalent experience to that of an internship in the public sector. Students should consult their faculty advisor to discuss whether the internship or professional development seminar is required.
Students who have additional questions or who would like assistance in securing an internship should contact the MPA Internship Coordinator, Dr. Michelle Wade.
Students will receive emails from the department when internships available.
- Borough of Phoenixville
- Brian’s House
- Chester County Fund for Women & Girls
- Chester County Historical Society
- Chester County Recorder of Deeds
- Chester County Department of Health
- City of Chester
- City of Philadelphia
- Decade to Doorways
- Easttown Township
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Fleck Consulting, Inc.
- Girls on the Run
- iWorkwell, Inc.
- Office of the special envoy for Middle East Peace
- Newtown Township
- Philadelphia Housing Authority
- Philadelphia Police Department
- Phoenixville Area High School summer Bridge Program
- Resources for Human Development
- Resilient in spite of Stressful Events Program--NIMH funded program
- SAP America
- Ten Thousand Villages
- West Chester University Foundation
- West Chester University Office of Residence Life and Housing Services
- West Chester University Office of Organizational Development
- West Whiteland Township
According to NASPAA, accredited MPA degree programs shall have a primary focus, “of preparing students to be leaders, managers, and analysts in the professions of public affairs, public administration, and public policy and only master's degree programs engaged in educating and training professionals for the aforementioned professions are eligible for accreditation.” Furthermore, NASPAA accredited programs will, “ensure that students learn to apply their education, such as through experiential exercises and interactions with practitioners across the broad range of public affairs, administration, and policy professions and sectors.”
While all students entering the degree program acquire professional competency through a number of applied and experiential exercises, pre-service students, those with less than one year of relevant post-baccalaureate work experience, are at such an early stage in their professional development that an internship is necessary to provide a sufficient link between theory and practice. In light of this, the internship program is designed so that students acquire public sector work experience that prepares students to lead and manage across boundaries of the public, nonprofit and private sectors.
Based on the universal purpose of MPA programs, which is to prepare students for careers in public affairs, public administration, and public policy, the internship requirement may be waived for students who can demonstrate more than one year of relevant post-baccalaureate work experience. Relevant work experience is defined as a professional position in the public, nonprofit, and/or private sectors that required significant leadership and independent decision making. Because we are a program committed to educating and training professionals for careers in public service, we find that the public service values found throughout the curriculum provides individuals with private sector experiences as leaders, mangers and analysts with sufficient training to make those private sector experiences relevant and therefore warrant waiver of the internship experience.
For pre-service students requiring an internship, a minimum of 20 hours per week of work for 15 weeks, or 300 hours, is required to successfully complete the required three-credit (3) hour internship course. Because our mission is to provide a high quality accessible public service education, we recognize that not all students will be able to complete a traditional internship where the entirety of work is completed onsite at the placement organization. On the recommendation of the MPA Internship Coordinator and the approval of the MPA Director, students whose work schedules or personal obligations prohibit them from completing a traditional onsite internship, may obtain permission to complete a project based internship where work is conducted off-site. Students seeking this alternative assignment must demonstrate that the project will prepare them for leadership roles in the public sector as well as fulfilling all required internship hours.
Additionally, the PPA 602 Professional Development Seminar in Public Administration, can be completed as an alternative to PPA 601. This course is designed to provide students with an equivalent experience to that of an internship in the public sector. Students will interact with practicing public administrators and nonprofit professionals on a weekly basis and engage in assigned readings of case studies focused on the practice of public administrations. Students are required to spend an intensive two to three-day period of time with a selected public sector or nonprofit organization, and complete a public service project over the course of a semester. Students, however, are strongly encouraged to complete PPA 601 and enrollment in this course requires the permission the MPA director.
With the assistance of the MPA Internship Coordinator, students should secure their internship prior to the start of the semester. Throughout the semester, the MPA Internship Coordinator will have regular contact with the student and host site to facilitate a productive internship experience. All students will be required to complete an internship portfolio. The portfolio shall consist of an activity log that documents the student’s activities and progress on meeting the goals of the internship program. The portfolio will also require students construct an essay that links theory and practice, with an emphasis on demonstrating the ability to apply public service values.
Upon the successful completion of PPA 601, Public Policy and Administration Internship, students will have:
- Gained experience working in the public or nonprofit sector,
- Made the connection between theory and practice by applying concepts and knowledge learned in the, MPA program during the internship, and
- Developed a professional report to their internship organization outlining a recommendation on how to incorporate public service values into their operations.
MPA and DPA Job Placements
Graduates of the MPA and DPA programs at West Chester University are finding employment in positions that are relevant to their graduate education. All respondents to our recent survey reported that WCU's MPA program prepared them for their professional career, and below are some of their positions:
- Assistant Director
- Assistant Director of Development
- Assistant Regional Director
- Assistant Urban and Regional Planner
- Assistant Township Manager
- Business Analyst
- Clinical Social Worker
- Compliance Fraud Analyst
- Deputy Director of Fundraising
- Director of Athletics
- Director of Human Resources
- Director of Medical Surgical Services
- Legislative District Aide
- Doctoral Researcher
- Employment Manager
- Federal Contracting Officer
- Forensic Targeted Case Manager Supervisor
- Geographic Information System Specialist
- Human Resource Recruiter
- Human Resource Professional
- Human Resources Specialist
- Human Resources Manager
- Legislative Aide
- Major Gift Officer
- Marketing Manager for a nonprofit
- Nonprofit Program Manager
- Operations Manager
- Program Analyst
- Project Coordinator
- Recovery Manager
- Borough Secretary / Treasurer
- Social Media Service Specialist
- Senior HR Systems Analyst
- Student Affairs Generalist
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Workflow Management Coordinator
In addition, here is a sampling of some of the organizations that have hired graduates of the MPA program:
- Borough of South Coatesville
- Chester County Recorder of Deeds
- City of Philadelphia
- City of York
- Crestwood Area School District
- Federal Reserve
- Department of Public Policy & Administration, Rutgers University - Camden
- Human Achievement Project
- Morris County Department of Planning and Development: Division of Transportation
- Pennsylvania State Legislature
- Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health
- Philadelphia Mental Health Care Corporation (nonprofit)
- The Chester County Hospital
- United States Department of Agriculture
- United States Department of Defense
- United States Department of Education
- University of Pittsburgh
- Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, Inc.
- West Chester University
- West Chester University Foundation
|Job placement w/in 6 months of graduation academic year 2021/22:||Number of placements|
|National or central government in the same country as the program||0|
|State, provincial, or regional government in the same country as the program||1|
|City, county, or other local government in the same country as the program||2|
|Government not in the same country as the program (all levels) or international quasi-governmental||0|
|Nonprofit/NGOs internationally oriented||0|
|Private sector - research/consulting||2|
|Private sector but not research/consulting||3|
|Obtaining further education||0|
|Unemployed not seeking employment||0|
|Unemployed seeking employment||0|
|MPA Students Admitted in Fall 2018||# Students|
|Percentage graduated or retained in two years||74.3%|
|Percentage graduated or retained in three years||74.3%|
|Percentage graduated or retained in four years||71.4%|
Damesha Wells MPA ’20
"With the WCU education I received, I will be equipped to readily handle the issues of this society as a public servant. I am eager to exercise the practices taught especially those regarding program evaluation and nonprofit management. Now being informed of the duty of public servants, I will take heed to ensuring that I exude a servant mentality as a professional in my next position."
Christina Gantt, MPA '19
Christina completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at West Chester University. She graduated from the MPA program in the spring of 2019 and has recently accepted a job in Washington, D.C. as a Human Resources Generalist for Legal Services Corporation. This is a nonprofit organization that provides funding and legal aid programs to low-income individuals, and Christina excitedly states, "I know that being in the MPA program has been a tremendous part of what has gotten me to this point!"
Nicholas Schlegel, MPA '19
Nicholas Schlegel, (class of 2019), used his time at WCU to cultivate an internship with the municipal government of Newtown Township, where he assisted the Finance Director with preparing the annual budget report/presentation, as well supported the meticulous work of Township Manager.
The internship was certainly fruitful, as he now works full time for the Township as the Finance and Administrative Support Coordinator, continuing many of the projects he started during his internship, including the annual Budget Report, handling accounts receivable, attending to community issues, as well as coordinating meetings for the township’s various boards and commissions.
“Not knowing exactly how I was going to fit in the field when I began, it was Dr. Wade’s Foundations of Public Service class that made me want to get involved in local government. With the volatile political climate, my time at WCU inspired me to change what it means to be a true public servant. Budgeting may not seem like the most glamorous part of being a public administrator, but it is so vital, and rewarding to be able to make sense of the complexities of municipal management for our citizens.”
Daria Williams MPA ’18
Daria Williams, (class of ’18), channeled her MPA studies at WCU into an internship with Philadelphia 9th District Councilperson Cherelle L. Parker, where she assisted the Director of Community and Economic Development with constituent services, coordinated commercial corridors and business development projects, and helped form a steering committee, leading meetings to address homelessness in the District.
She parlayed that work into a full-time position with the City of Philadelphia as an assistant operations manager on an initiative called Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), that invests in upgrading and improving in parks and playgrounds.
West Chester University not only prepared her but inspired her. “Dr. Wade was always an incredible motivator; she was passionate about public service and the good that we could do in that field and that really encouraged me to find work in local government. Now that I am working in a place where I can really see the impact, I’m that much more grateful for that inspiration.”
Tom Konen MPA '14
"I wanted to let you all know I was promoted to Regional Coordinator with the PA House of Representatives. I cannot thank you all enough because I know it was the great instruction given to me at WCU that's made the difference for me."
The MPA "helped me secure a job and I've since more than doubled my salary since getting my degree in 2015".
Earning my MPA "helped me develop more management skills, learn about government-funded budgets, and how to develop strategic plans".
"Understanding dimensions of decision making, governance and operations have improved my ability to translate academic prospectives into workable solutions" in the real world.
"My MPA gave me many lenses with which to evaluate a situation or organization and form a … course of action for improvement."
Our MPA program is creating this board as a part of our reaccreditation process. The Network of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) is the global standard for accrediting public administration graduate programs. The purpose of our External Advisory Committee is to provide insight and guidance from the field to help us enhance our curricular and co-curricular activities. For example, the committee will collaborate with us to market our MPA program, assist our students with obtaining internships and jobs, and serve as guest speakers and mentors.
|Name||Title/Organization Afilliation||Place of Employment|
|Marita Kelley||Regional Director||PA Department of Community and Economic Development|
|Michelle Kichline||County Commissioner||Chester County Board of Commissioners|
|Stephanie Okuniewski||Public Affairs & Member Services Specialist||PA Rural Electric Association/Allegheny Electric Cooperative|
|Rob Teplitz||Special Counsel||Pennsylvania Governor's Office of General Counsel|
|Emily Yates||Chief Innovation Officer||SEPTA|
|Name||Title/Organization Affiliation||Place of Employment|
|Joanne Craig||Vice President for Programs||The Foundation for Delaware County|
|Grace Herbert||President & Co-Founder||Finding Shelter Animal Rescue|
|Lisa Schaefer||Executive Director||County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania|
|Chaya Scott||Chief Aspiration Officer||Chaya Scott Consulting, LLC|
|Joseph Sherwood||Executive Director||Chester County Library System|
|Name||Title/Organization Affiliation||Place of Employment|
President & CEO
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry
|Alex Charlton||Former State Rep & Senior Manager State Government Affairs||Exelon|
|Andrew Dinniman||Former State Rep||Retired|
|James Lee||President & Founder||
Susquehanna Polling and Research