Henry W. Bloch
School of Management

MPA Internships

Internship Information

The essential purpose of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Internship Program is to offer public administration students who lack previous career relevant public service experience a developmental learning opportunity. Beyond providing professional development for interns, participating agencies also benefit from the program by being able to tap the resources of talented, motivated graduate students to help meet agency needs. The basic objectives of the internship program, then, are:

  • to provide the pre-professional with a valuable learning experience in his or her area of public service interest
  • to provide agencies with talented pre-professionals
  • to strengthen the university/community bond

What is an internship?

The Internship experience is a key opportunity to put into practice the concepts and theories of public administration. It is critical in gaining experience, building credentials and networking for future professional opportunities. A three-credit internship is required of all pre-service students. Interns are expected to:

  • Complete 150 hours of service for their placement
  • Engage in substantive work that addresses real issues
  • Provide professional-quality work product

Bloch School Internship Policy

The Bloch School Internship Program provides an opportunity for pre-service students to gain professional experience and skills that will complement their academic programs and enhance their career opportunities. Every student who does not have at least one year of relevant career experience is required to complete a three-credit internship, PA 5595, which includes 150 hours of service. The internship experience provides students with a dynamic, professional forum in which to apply the analytical and leadership knowledge they acquired in the MPA program. Student will complete the MPA core courses (PA5510, PA5526, PA5528, PA5548, PA5525, PA5541, PA5544) before taking the internship.

Students who have the relevant professional or leadership experience when they apply for admission to the MPA program may be granted a waiver by providing evidence of relevant work or service experience to his/her faculty advisor.

For more information, contact:

Bloch Career Services

Internship FAQ

  • Service, such as Peace Corps or Teach for America
  • Other relevant internship
  • Professional public service at the administrative level in the public, health care, or nonprofit sector

In order to procure an exemption waiver, a student will need:

  • Detailed resume
  • Proof of service or other relevant internship experience

  • A student requiring an internship will be given a list of participating agencies and will contact potential cooperating agencies to set up interviews. No agency is required to take on an intern at any given time.
  • Once an agency and student agree on an internship, the student will request a faculty member monitor the internship, and then the three parties will sign a contract detailing the internship parameters.
  • The student will be enrolled in the internship course, PA 5595, and proceed to fulfill the requirements of the internship contract. Bloch School Career Services will assist students in locating participating agencies and faculty members.

Some agencies may pay interns, but many do not. For paid internships, wages range from $10.00 – $20.00 per hour, with $14.00 being the average wage. Wages are determined by the agency. Agencies are not required by the university to do so.

Our internship program requires a student to work a total of 150 hours for the participating agency. The preference is for an internship period to fall within an academic semester, ie: eight weeks in the summer or 16 weeks in the fall or spring. However, we recognize this is not always possible and we want to accommodate an agency’s scheduling preference. In addition, we ask that interns be scheduled during normal business hours. Classes in which interns are enrolled are generally scheduled in the time frame of 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. This allows maximum flexibility in scheduling intern work sessions.

Listed below are some of the internship organizations M.P.A. students have held over the past few years.

  • Liberty Hospital Foundation
  • Johnson County, Kansas Government Offices
  • Children’s Mercy Hospital
  • City of Gardner, Kansas
  • City of Mission Hills, Kansas
  • Lead to Read
  • City of Overland Park, Kansas
  • St. Luke’s Hospital
  • City of North Kansas City, Missouri
  • International Relations Council
  • City Of Smithville, Missouri
  • Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Fevolve Labs Corporation
  • Avenue of Life
  • Missouri Housing Development Commission
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities
  • HealthEd Connect
  • Kansas City Symphony
  • Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault
  • Kansas City, Missouri Department of Health
  • Kansas City Indian Center

Interns are generally assigned research or administrative duties by supervisors at the agencies for which they work, but always involve a meaningful learning experience. The nature of assignments varies widely depending on agency needs. Our M.P.A.s are graduate students with substantial training in management, finance, and program evaluation and will have taken courses in public policy, research methods and leadership before their internship begins.

The most important consideration is what kind of experience you wish to have. Identifying those skills or experiences you want to learn, placements in areas of practice that you wish to expand career opportunities in, or areas in which you are most interested are generally good places to start. Mostly, being engaged in your work and bringing your intellectual curiosity, acumen and course work to bear on the issues you face will all augment your experience.

  • Interns are responsible for providing their own means of transportation to and from internship sites.
  • Interns are expected to follow policies and dress codes of the agency for which he/she is working.
  • Interns represent UMKC and the Bloch School in our community and are expected to behave as model representatives.
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