Purpose of the Internship
The purpose of the public management internship is to provide pre-career students with an opportunity to gain administrative experience in a public or nonprofit organization.The internship is a key educational component of the MPA program and provides students with an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and develop professional skills that will lead to a successful career. Moreover, the internship frequently becomes the entre to a permanent position.
Internships must be paid and at least 440 hours of employment. (Pre-career international students for whom an internship is inappropriate must complete three additional hours of course work.) If an internship is less than the minimum number of hours, an additional internship must be completed to receive three hours of academic credit.
Pre-career students must register for PADM 5800, Public Management Internship, in the first semester of the program and before beginning an internship appointment. This course prepares students for the internship with aptitude testing, resume and interview preparation, and discussions of professional and ethical conduct. Students receive an Incomplete (I) for PADM 5800 until the internship appointment is completed and all the requirements for 5800 are submitted. If the student does not successfully progress through the in-class portion of PADM 5800, approval of internship appointment will be delayed until appropriate progress is demonstrated.
The Internship Coordinator will assist in placing students in an appropriate internship position. However, ultimate responsibility for finding an internship is the student’s responsibility. The following conditions apply when approving an internship.
- All internships much be approved by the Internship Coordinator prior to the beginning the appointment. The Internship Coordinator must be provided with a written job description before approving the internship for course credit
- Every effort is made by the Internship Coordinator to match student preferences to the internship appointment. However, preference is given to internships that promote the educational objectives of the MPA program. The Internship Coordinator has final discretion on approving internship appointments.
- Internships must be paid positions. Normally, the compensation is on an hourly basis, with no other benefits, and varied depending on the capacity of the employer. The Department of Public Administration has some matching funds available to provide qualifying public or nonprofit employers. A few internships may qualify for matching federal funds through the College Work-Study Program. Students interested in this option must complete the FAFSA as early as possible.
- Interns receive their work assignments from the employer. Interns generally work up to 20 hours per week when enrolled in classes. Full-time internships may be arranged in semesters when a student is either not enrolled or has a reduced course load.
Responsibilities of the Intern
Interns must comply with the policies and procedures of the sponsor. Interns are also expected to comply with the following policies and procedures.
- In order to receive a satisfactory grade for PADM 5800, interns must provide the updates and evaluations specified by the Internship Coordinator.
- Interns represent UNT and the MPA program and as such should demonstrate integrity and professionalism at all times. Interns should view their appointment as a regular position, report for work at the assigned times, and complete the assigned tasks by the prescribed deadlines. Interns should notify their supervisor if they cannot report for work due to illness or other factors. The intern should create such a positive impression that the employer will want to hire a UNT student again in the future.
- If the intern encounters problems with their employer, the Internship Coordinator should be notified who will work with the student and employer to resolve the problem.
- At the midpoint and again at the conclusion of the internship, the employer will complete and submit an evaluation of the intern’s performance to the Internship Coordinator. The intern will likewise complete an evaluation of the employer that is submitted to the Internship Coordinator at the completion of the internship.
- The final grade in PADM 5800 is based, in part, on the timely completion of assignments and the intern’s job performance.