Public Administration Internships

Undergraduate Internships

PA 498 is an intensive one-semester class which includes an internship with a government or nonprofit agency.  The practical experience gained through an internship placement adds a valuable educational dimension to the classroom study of public administration.  Internships are also a proven strategy for gaining relevant work experience, networking with professionals in the student’s field of interest and focusing career objectives.  Internship assignments have been carefully developed with the School of Public Affairs’ agency partners to provide students with the marketable skills required to be competitive for entry level government and non-profit positions after graduation. Placements are available in a wide variety of local government agencies, elected officials’ offices and non-profit organizations. 

To be eligible for the internship class students must have:

  • Senior standing (completion of 90 units);
  • Achieved a 3.0 or higher grade point average in the major;
  • Completed all lower division requirements as well as PA 330 (Public Personnel Administration), PA 340 (Organizational Behavior) and PA 450 (Fiscal and Budgetary Policy) [Note: Concurrent enrollment may be approved on a case-by-case basis]; 
  • Completion of an internship/career consultation with instructor; and
  • Received consent of instructor.

PA 498 Internship Process:

  • Each student meets with the instructor individually, preferably before the start of the semester in which the student plans to enroll in PA 498, to discuss career goals and develop a plan to apply for pre-approved, competitive internship positions.
    Note: Students are not permitted to seek out their own assignments for course credit in PA 498);
  • The student sends a letter of interest and resume to the designated agency contacts to apply for the competitive positions.  The student proceeds through the application processes until a position is secured; and
  • The student provides a minimum of 192 service hours at the agency during the semester, attends periodic class meetings and completes writing assignments as outlined in the course syllabus.

For more information regarding the internship program and eligibility, please contact the Jack McGrory Internship Coordinator and Instructor for PA 498, Patricia Frosio, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (619) 594-5576.

Graduate Internships

PA 796 (internship class) is an important component to the MPA instructional program.  Students are permitted to apply for enrollment in PA 796 after completing their first semester and successfully passing the screening exam. Internships take place in public and non-profit sector agencies. 

The MPA Internship Coordinator meets individually with each student to discuss career goals and research interests.  The MPA Internship Coordinator provides each student with leads for pre-approved internship assignments that are consistent with the student’s career and learning objectives.  Internships will be in government or non-profit agencies and consist of program management, strategic planning, research, data collection and analysis, grant writing and other substantive duties to compliment the student’s coursework and ensure the student has the experience needed to enter the public sector workforce or promote within his/her current organization.  The student will work under the joint supervision of the course instructor (MPA Internship Coordinator) and on-site supervisor.  Students will complete written assignments as required and attend one group meeting during the semester to share their experiences.  Upon completing the designated number of hours for the course, the student’s on-site supervisor will complete a performance evaluation of the student’s work. 

Students who have full or part-time jobs in the public or non-profit sector may be permitted to use the job for the internship requirement upon approval from the MPA Internship Coordinator if he/she takes on new assignments during the required number of coursework hours.  However, past time spent in such jobs may not be used retroactively for internship credit.  Students who have significant work experience in public service should discuss a partial or full waiver of the internship requirement with the MPA Program Coordinator, Dr. Shawn Flanigan at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

For information about the MPA Internship Requirement and Internship Waiver please click here.

Internship Partners (Partial List)

(*please note that these agencies will NOT accept individual student inquiries. All students seeking internships should be in contact with Internship Coordinator Patricia Frosio at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).)

  • Arthritis Foundation
  • City of Carlsbad
  • City of Chula Vista
  • City of Coronado
  • City of Del Mar
  • City of El Cajon
  • City of Encinitas
  • City of Escondido
  • City of Imperial Beach
  • City of La Mesa
  • City of Lemon Grove
  • City of National City
  • City of Oceanside
  • City of Poway
  • City of San Diego
  • City of San Marcos
  • City of Santee
  • City of Solana Beach
  • City of Vista
  • County of San Diego (Board of Supervisors and various departments)
  • CSA, San Diego
  • Glenner Memory Care Center
  • Feeding America
  • SANDAG
  • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • San Diego Unified School District
  • San Diego Unified Port District
  • South County Economic Development Corporation
  • Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
  • Wellness and Restorative Justice Partnership

For more information regarding Masters of Public Administration Internships and PA 796, please contact the Jack McGrory Internship Coordinator, Patricia Frosio, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or (619) 594-5576.