Internships build real-world experience and career connections

The value of experiential learning—and the importance of creating positive change in the community—is built into the Fels curriculum. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) requires students to complete an internship to gain experience addressing real-world problems on a day-to-day basis.

At Fels, we work with you one-on-one to help you identify internship opportunities that align with your career goals: to put your classroom knowledge to work, to deepen or diversify your skill set, to expand your professional network, and to make an impact in the public sphere. To ensure that every MPA student has the opportunity to pursue meaningful opportunities with government agencies and nonprofit organizations anywhere in the world, Fels offers the Public Leadership and Service Fellowship (PLAS) to provide financial support during internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Colleen Bonner

"As a Fels student, you receive support at every step in finding and securing an internship that aligns with your interests—from helping build your connections to application and interview assistance, and even financial support."

Colleen Bonner, Associate Director of Career Services

Internship organizations

Through your internship experience, you have the unique opportunity to collaborate and learn with local, regional, and national organizations. In the past, students have worked with the following organizations:

  • African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia
  • City of Philadelphia (including the Mayor’s Office and Managing Director’s Office)
  • Gartner Consulting
  • ImpactED
  • PFM Consulting 
  • Philadelphia City Council 
  • Philadelphia Energy Authority
  • Research for Action
  • School District of Philadelphia
  • The League of Women Voters
  • US Economic Development Administration
  • US Government Accountability Office
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission
  • World Affairs Council

Partners: Do you have an internship to share with Fels students? Submit an internship opportunity »

"I interned at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Division of Economic Risk and Analysis. I had little-to-no previous data analytics experience, so interning with the SEC expanded my knowledge of the programs and methodologies that help drive federal policies. I assisted economists with data collection and analysis and conducted market research, utilizing many of the same skills I was learning in the classroom. Interning for a federal agency was incredibly additive to my academic and professional development and was a key reason I was able to secure a federal job after graduation."

Cameron Ashton, Master of Public Administration ’22

Early Internship Track

Most students typically fulfill their internship requirement in the summer. However, Fels offers an Early Internship Track (EIT), allowing students to begin fulfilling the mandatory internship within the program’s first two semesters (fall and/or spring). Students need to apply for admission into the EIT track as soon as they secure their internship.

Students interested in EIT must submit their applications through the provided form. Successfully admitted applicants into EIT must maintain good academic standing, enroll in GAFL 8990, register their internship, and obtain prior approval before officially commencing their internship.

International students (F-1 visa holders) must also obtain part-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval to comply with regulations governing international student participation in internships. For more information on how to apply for CPT, please visit Penn’s International Student and Scholar Services.

In exceptional cases, where students can demonstrate full-time employment in a degree-related job, there is a provision for administrative approval through the Internship Waiver Petition Form, acknowledging the practical experience gained in alternative professional settings. For any questions or clarifications, contact Colleen Bonner, associate director for career services, at This ensures a smooth communication channel for students seeking guidance throughout the process.

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