MPA Internship Guidelines

Introduction to the MPA Internship Experience

The MPA internship is primarily designed to provide practical experience to pre-service students and in-service students wishing to gain experience in the public/not-for-profit sector. The experiential component consists of a part-time (paid or unpaid) employment in a public service, not for profit sector, or related private sector organization. 

The academic portion of the internship consists of the completion of one or in some cases 2 semesters of PA 5389. The internship course can satisfy a required background course requirement for MPA students with no public or non-profit sector experience. It can also satisfy one or in some cases 2 of the students, MPA courses for students that have had public sector on non-profit sector experience. 

Normally a student intern will work an average of 10-15 hours per week for the 3 hours of PA 5389 credit. The work can be on-site, virtual or a combination of virtual and on-site activities. The academic component of the public service internship includes a required practical project/research paper and the completion of assigned readings.

Course Description

The MPA Internship is primarily designed to provide practical on-the-job experience to pre- service students. The academic component consists of part-time (paid or unpaid) on-the-job experience in a government-related office or a non-profit or private sector organization. The purpose of the internship is to provide MPA students with an immersion-learning, integrative practicum. Ideally, the internship experience provides professional experience and an opportunity to integrate theories learned in the classroom with practical experience. In addition, the student intern is exposed to the daily routines, processes, procedures, and expectations of work life in the public and non-profit sectors.

Course Objectives

The internship is a structured educational work experience, where students take a responsible role and contribute to a public administration organization. Through the internship, the student should learn new skills, expand their knowledge of an area, of management or policy. The student should also be able to explore career options and apply academic knowledge in a “real- life” situation. The internship should also facilitate the development of professional skills such as finance, planning, organizing and leadership.

Course Requirements

Prior to registering you must contact the Internship Director, Dr. Howard Balanoff, to obtain permission to register. 
The student is expected to work a total of about 120 - 180 hours over the course of the internship. This usually averages 10 to 15 hours a week for about 12-14 weeks. The student is required to turn in 3 monthly internship activity reports which document the work and research activities that the student has conducted as a part of their internship experience. The intern’s organizational supervisor will be required to turn in 2 reports on the duties, responsibilities, work, and research activities of the intern that they are supervising. In addition to the required activities reports the intern is required to complete a 12 -15-page project/research paper on a management and/or policy area related to the area of the internship.

Meetings with the Internship Director

Over the course of the internship the student should have at least two meetings with Dr. Balanoff. One meeting will be on the site of the Internship and will be with the Intern and the Intern’s Supervisor/Mentor. A second meeting will be held toward the end of the semester and will be a joint meeting with all the Interns registered for the PA 5389 course in that semester.

Financial Support for MPA Interns

The William P. Hobby Center for Public Service Government Intern Fellowship Program

Each semester Texas State University’s William P. Hobby Center for Public Service will make available 2-4 Intern Fellowships of $1500 to MPA students that meet the criteria for the Intern Fellowship. For student to receive a $1,500 Intern Fellowship, the Intern’s Organization (i.e., City, County, Non-Profit Organization etc.) normally will agree to rebate back $1500 to the Hobby Center at the end of the MPA student’s Internship. 

Intern Fellowships are stipends that are deposited into the Student’s Business Services (SBS) Account and are used to defray the cost of tuition, fees etc. Stipends are not taxable, and it is important to note that a payroll check will normally not be provided to the student. Interns who are receiving the Hobby Intern Fellowship must also register for the Public Administration Graduate Internship Course which is PA 5389 in the semester that they are doing their internship.

The Hobby Intern Fellows Program has been in existence since the Spring 2015 semester. Cities that have participated in this Program include the cities of San Marcos, Buda, Kyle, Georgetown, Seguin and Round Rock, Texas.

MPA students interested in the Hobby Intern Fellowship Program should contact the Intern Director, Dr. Howard Balanoff for additional information.

Examples of Internship Sponsors

MPA students looking for Internships should consider putting organizations such as those listed below in their web browser and contacting individuals at these organizations about the availability of paid and unpaid internships. Many of these organizations have sponsored Texas State University MPA Interns in the past.

United Nations, New York City

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
US Department of State 
United States Air Force (Brooks AFB, San Antonio, Texas)
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Office of Management & Budget (OMB)

Attorney General’s Office
Texas Department of Public Safety 
State Auditor’s Office     
Texas General Land Office
Health and Human Services Commission

City of San Marcos, Texas
City of Kyle, Texas
City of Buda, Texas
City of Round Rock, Texas
City of Austin, Texas
City of Georgetown, Texas
City of New Braunfels, Texas
City of Seguin, Texas

Texas State University Internship Organizations
Texas State University’s Meadows Center for the Environment
Texas State University’s Institute for Government Innovation

Not-for-Profit Organizations
Friends for Texas Public Schools
Haven for Hope (San Antonio)

Political Internships
Texas Legislature: House of Representatives
Texas Legislature: Senate
Office of the Lt. Governor of Texas
Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB) 

For Employers

Cities, counties, state agencies and other public, not-for-profit, and related private sector organizations wishing to hire an MPA Graduate Student Intern should complete the Employer Intern Request Form.

For Students

MPA students interested in obtaining an internship, or learning more about our internship program, should contact the MPA Intern Director, Dr. Howard Balanoff.