MPA Internship

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 are available.

Previous Sites for WCU MPA Interns

  • 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.”

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) internship course. 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 requires 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, managers and analysts with sufficient training to make those private sector experiences relevant and therefore warrant waiver of the internship experience.

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 regularly contact 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 to 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 Job Placements

Graduates of the MPA program at West Chester University are finding employment in positions that are relevant to their graduate education. Listed below are some of the positions of recent graduates of the MPA program.

  • Assistant Director of Development
  • Assistant Urban and Regional Planner
  • Assistant Township Manager
  • Compliance Fraud Analyst
  • Deputy Director of Fundraising
  • Director of Athletics
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Director of Medical Surgical Services
  • Legislative District Aide
  • Federal Contracting Officer
  • Forensic Targeted Case Manager Supervisor
  • Geographic Information System Specialist
  • Human Resource Recruiter
  • Human Resource Professional
  • Legislative Aide
  • Major Gift Officer
  • Nonprofit Program Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Program Analyst
  • Project Coordinator
  • Recovery Manager
  • Borough Secretary / Treasurer
  • 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
  • Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia
  • Cerebral Palsy Association of Chester County
  • Chester County Recorder of Deeds
  • City of Philadelphia
  • City of York
  • Comcast
  • Crestwood Area School District
  • EMpower Adolescent Girls and Gender Initiatives
  • Federal Reserve
  • Human Achievement Project
  • Morris County Department of Planning and Development: Division of Transportation
  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Pennsylvania State Legislature
  • Philabundance
  • Philadelphia Community Action Group
  • 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
  • Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, Inc.
  • West Chester University Foundation
Job placement w/in 6 months of graduation academic year 2022/23: 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 0
City, county, or other local government in the same country as the program 6
Government not in the same country as the program (all levels) or international quasi-governmental 0
Nonprofit domestic-oriented 11
Nonprofit/NGOs internationally oriented 0
Private sector - research/consulting 1
Private sector but not research/consulting 1
Obtaining further education 0
Military service 0
Unemployed not seeking employment 0
Unemployed seeking employment 2
Status unknown 3
MPA Students Admitted in Fall 2018 # Students
Initially enrolled 36
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%

MPA Testimonials 

Emilia DelGrasso, MPA ‘22

“The West Chester University MPA program has been integral to my professional development, specifically in my understanding of non-profit management, analyzing data, and providing results to key business stakeholders in an impactful way. Personally, the MPA program has challenged me to think about policies, government programs, and current events holistically and equitably.” 

Hector L. Febo III, MPA ‘21

“I was looking for a graduate program that set itself apart, as well as one that would do the same for me as a graduate, which lead me to the MPA program at WCU. Completing the program 100% online (pre-and post-pandemic) offered an outstanding balance between professional, personal, and academic life. Everyone is highly invested in your success. The department always announces new job openings, internship opportunities and aids in expanding your professional network.” 

Tammy A. Bagby, MPA ‘21

“My decision to be a part of the WCU MPA family was a no brainer. First impressions are everything, and meeting former graduates of the MPA program like Mr. Evan Daney and retired Professor Dr. Eve Atkinson allowed me to see that WCU provides a high quality public service education for people with diverse backgrounds like me. Coming in as a later in life student, with plenty of professional experience, the MPA degree gives me even more versatility in my career.  The graduate faculty have been flexible and understanding, showing that they care as much about the goals you set for yourself as classroom grades.”

Kathleen Fitzsimmons López, MPA ‘20

“One of the things I appreciate most about the MPA faculty at WCU is their broad range of interests and experiences - whether in government, nonprofits, or research, I was able to learn from each of my professors far beyond what was included in the curriculum. This really helped me to pull into focus the otherwise seemingly disconnected pieces of my own work and volunteer experiences of the last two decades to reveal a larger picture as I move into the next phase of my career.” 

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 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.

“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 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 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.”

Graduate Survey

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 Affiliation Place of Employment
Marita Kelley  Director of Finance City of Harrisburg
Michelle Kichline  County Commissioner Chester County Board of Commissioners
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
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


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