Internships & Independent Studies

Internship Requirements

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 the MPA Internship Coordinator, Dr. Adam Brewer (adam.brewer@umontana.edu) 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 4 out of the 6 MPA core classes.

Nonprofit certificate student internship requirements are listed here. To receive credit, students are expected to perform satisfactorily. 

Independent Study Requirements

Independent studies are for students interested in delving deeper into a research topic or applied project. Students can take up to 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 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 vast majority agree their skills and abilities have increased due to hands-on learning experiences:

MPA Internship Skills & Abilities Graph

A few examples of recent internship placement:

  • 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 level of employability:

MPA Internship - Employability Graph

For more information about internships, see Careers.