Internships and Waivers
The Department of Political Science & Public Administration strongly encourage internship opportunities for students to gain solid experiential learning experiences within their college education.
MPA Internship Waivers
Our MPA program, as well as our accrediting body, NASPAA, recognize internships as a valuable component of an MPA curriculum. Find out more about NASPAA's internship guidelines.
However, we realize that students begin our MPA program at different stages of their professional careers. Therefore, those MPA students with at least one year of professional experience in a public service sector or other public affairs agency may apply to have the internship requirement for the program waived. Approval of the request for an internship waiver is determined by the Graduate Director and the Core MPA Faculty on a case-by-case basis.
Professional public service qualifying for an internship waiver would preferably be at the administrative level, where duties might include (but not be limited to) working with budgets, completing supervisory tasks (human resources related duties, such as hiring and evaluation, conducting training, etc.), working with entities in the public sector, writing grant proposals, project management, and working with diverse clienteles. Experience should be in the public sector, but faculty will consider experience in health, non-profit, or private sectors where duties have included significant interaction with public sector entities. Students who are enrolled in the Health Administration or Social Entrepreneurship tracks should have experience in a germane sector if seeking an internship waiver.
To apply for a waiver, please submit the following documents prior to completing your first 18 credits of MPA coursework:
1. A cover letter to the MPA Director requesting that the internship requirement be waived. In the letter, students must provide a detailed explanation of why they believe they have met the requirement of having at least one year of professional experience in a relevant organization, referencing the criteria above. This letter will be reviewed by the MPA Director and the Core MPA Faculty.
2. A current resume documenting the work described in the aforementioned letter.
Please note that the cover letter and resume will be retained as part of the student's file and may be examined by a NASPAA Site Visit Team during the reaccreditation process. Additionally, if a student is granted an internship waiver, he/she will be required to complete an elective course in place of POLS 580 (Internship). POLS 580 would not be included on a Program of Study, if the waiver request is approved.
To begin the process of being considered for an internship waiver, please submit the two required documents to the program director, Dr. Paul Sum at paul.sum@UND.edu. If you are approved, a memo will be placed in your file stating that the internship requirement has been waived.
If you have any questions about this process or would like feedback about your professional experiences before crafting your request, please feel free to contact Dr. Paul Sum, MPA Director, or Brian Gutierrez, Graduate Admissions Officer/Advisor.