MPA Internship

MPA students entering the program with less than one year of relevant post-baccalaureate work experience are required to complete either a three-credit internship or professional development seminar. This requirement is waived for students who can demonstrate more than one year of relevant post-baccalaureate work experience.

For students interested in completing the three-credit internship, a minimum of 20 hours per week of work for 15 weeks, or 300 hours, is required. Students who are unable to elect not to complete a traditional internship are required to complete the three-credit professional development seminar. 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. The Department Chairperson makes the final decision.

Students who have additional questions or who would like assistance in securing an internship should

contact the MPA Internship Coordinator, Dr. Michelle Wade.


NASPAA has an exciting virtual internship opportunity available.  Ideal for a graduate student interested in higher education data collection and analysis.  The student chosen for this internship will have the opportunity to develop their policy analysis skills and real-world data analysis skills (including data visualization) at the intersection of higher education and public service.

NASPAA is seeking a master’s student in fields such as public policy, public administration, education, or similar for an internship position for approximately 10 weeks during Summer 2020, starting sometime in June.  Students in master’s programs in related fields, including data science, are also encouraged to apply. 

See full internship announcement here:

The Bicycle Coalition is offering a "Policy Fellow" position for college students who are interested in planning and community development related issues. This is a paid internship with flexible hours. Candidate can work a shorter time full time, or work as little as 15hrs/week for a longer period, until our budget for this position is exhausted.  Job Description

For more information:  Leonard Bonarek | Regional Planner | | 215.242.9253 ext 304 |

Twitter: @BCGPSuburbs

Edgmont Township, Delaware County is looking for a student intern to be available immediately to work as a general administrative assistant and assist with Building Department functions. The schedule can be flexible along with hours per week (typically 20 hours per week, but could be more depending on the Township’s needs) depending on the student’s schedule, as long as it’s during our office hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Edgmont Township’s administrative offices are located very near West Chester University, at 1000 Gradyville Road Newtown Square, PA. Edgmont is a small, affluent community, with approximately 4,000 residents. Edgmont has been expanding rapidly over the last few years, with plenty to learn for a student interested in a future in local government service. This position is paid. Job Description .


Previous Sites for WCU MPA Interns

  • Borough of Phoenixville
  • Chester County Fund for Women & Girls
  • Chester County Historical Society
  • Chester County Recorder of Deeds
  • Chester County Department of Health
  • 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
  • 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 the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), accredited Master of Public Administration (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 3-credit 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.

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.

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. The most recent alumni survey found that our graduates are in the following positions:

  • Assistant Director
  • 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
  • Philabundance
  • 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 2017/18: Number of placements
National or central government in the same country as the program 1
State, provincial or regional governnment in the same country as the program 6
City, county or other local government in the same country as the program 1
Government not in the same country as the program (all levels) or international quasi-governmental 1
Nonprofit domestic-oriented 3
Nonprofit/NGOs internationally-oriented 0
Private sector - research/consulting 0
Private sector but not research/consulting 9
Obtaining further education 0
Military service 1
Unemployed not seeking employment 0
Unemployed seeking employment 1
Status unknown 3
Academic Year 2013/14 # Students
Initially enrolled 36
Graduated within two years 16
Graduated within three years 25
Graduated within four years 28
Total Graduated 28


Tom Konen MPA '14

"I wanted to let you all know I was promoted this past week 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."

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