Internships and Independent Study


MPA students who currently work in public and nonprofit organizations are not required to complete an internship but can pursue an internship outside their organization. Students cannot complete an internship with their current place of employment. However, pre-career MPA students are strongly suggested to work with Ben Hamman to complete an internship. Students can complete up to 6 credits of internship credit. These count as electives towards the 36 credits required to complete the MPA degree. Students who complete an internship enroll in PUAD 598 and complete a learning agreement with the University’s Office of Academic Enrichment. The student is also expected to follow expectations in our MPA internship syllabus, in addition to completing projects/work for internship supervisor. Students can pursue an internship after a year of MPA coursework and should have completed at least four (4) out of the six (6) MPA core classes.

Nonprofit Certificate student internship requirements are also listed on our website. To receive credit, students are expected to perform satisfactorily. 

The Department of Public Administration and Policy partners with Experiential Learning and Career Success (ELCS) to provide job assistance, and the office has numerous resources available to you. Please schedule an appointment with an ELCS career advisor for job assistance and more information about resources.

Current Internship Opportunities

The goal of the Montana INBRE Native American Graduate Fellowship is to provide an opportunity for highly motivated Native American students who have demonstrated leadership potential in the biomedical, social and behavioral health sciences, as well as in the development of STEM programs and research in tribal colleges, to pursue their doctoral degree. In some cases, applications for study at the master’s degree level will be considered, though applicants are strongly encouraged to pursue the Ph.D. as their terminal degree. Native American Graduate Fellowships cover tuition and provide up to $25,000 stipend depending on other funding and scholarships available to the student.

Applications are welcome at any time; priority review will take place at the following dates: 

-Application review for new funding beginning during a spring semester will begin November 1

-Application review for new funding beginning during a fall semester will begin February 15.

The International Public Policy Association (IPPA) is offering a student internship at its head office located at ENTPE - University of Lyon, France. The intern will contribute to the development of the International Public Policy Association (IPPA) by working on:

  • The organization of the International Workshops on Public Policy (IWPP2)
  • Creating Winter/Spring/Summer school sessions: Alps 
  • Managing the association's website and social networks
  • Sending out IPPA newsletters
  • Managing members relations for the association
  • Assisting daily in the administration and management of the association

The internship will run from Sept/Oct 2021 to Jan/Feb 2022. Pay is 550 euros/month for 35 hours/week schedule, in addition to 50% reimbursement of public transit costs and access to the ENTPE cafeteria. Deadline to apply is 6-30-21.

The Congressional Fellowships on Women and Public Policy program is now accepting applications until the deadline on June 3rd. The program places fellows in the Washington, D.C. offices of Members of Congress and congressional committees. Additionally, fellows meet once a week at issue seminars with women’s advocates, congressional staff, researchers, and lobbyists. This program is unique—it is the only graduate-level fellowship program on Capitol Hill focused on women. See this PDF for details on the Congressional Fellowships on Women and Public Policy

The Missoula Food Bank currently has several opportunities, including two food security policy internships (one childhood, one nutrition program), that may be a good fit for students in the Department of Public Administration. Apply on Handshake.

Startup Internships for Accelerate Montana are paid opportunities are a way to obtain real-world experience in business specific to your career interests, develop skills essentials to business and leadership, connect with passionate and innovative entrepreneurs, and open post-graduate career opportunities. To learn more and apply, log into Handshake or contact Accelerate Montana internship manager Sid Paladugu at

Independent Study

Independent studies are for students interested in delving deeper into a research topic or applied project. Students can take up to six (6) credits to count towards their 36 credits required for degree completion. Independent studies can be used to complete a larger work project to apply theory to practice to advance skills in the MPA program. However, if a student opts for an internship and independent study only a total of six (6) credits apply towards degree completion. Meet with the MPA Director who oversees independent study projects for assistance.

Over 70 students have been involved in internships from 2014-2018, and the vast majority agree their skills and abilities have increased due to hands-on learning experiences. A few examples of recent internship placement include:

  • Missoula Parks & Recreation Department
  • County of Missoula
  • Montana Ageing Services
  • Montana Chamber of Commerce
  • Women’s Foundation of Montana
  • Montana New Leadership
  • World Affairs Council
  • City of Missoula
  • Montana University System
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Montana Governor’s Office
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Montana Nonprofit Association
  • Western Region Voter Engagement
  • Salish Kootenai Tribal Government

Internship supervisors from 2014-2018 that believe MPA students’ increased their levels of employability.

Big Sky Poll

Big Sky PollThe University of Montana Big Sky Poll collects and reports information about Montanans' perceptions of local, state, and federal issues. The poll is directed by Sara Rinfret, Associate Dean & MPA Director, and Justin Angle, Associate Professor of Marketing.

This is an applied learning experience for students across disciplines and an elective course for the Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Analytics Programs.

For more information, visit

Student Presentations

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Final Presentation for Organization Theory
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Our Common Unity Podcast
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Our Common Unity