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.

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.


Students will receive emails from the department when internships are available.