Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

La Follette students are encouraged, although not required, to obtain professional policy‐related work experience during the course of their degree programs. Students are encouraged to seek paid or unpaid internships in any organization that offers significant experience with a government policy or program. La Follette School students have interned throughout the United States, as well as overseas, at all levels of government, in non‐profit agencies, and in the private sector. Internships are expected to give students the opportunity to apply skills and insights gained in their academic course work to the issues and projects on which they work in the internship.

The search for appropriate internships involves effort on the part of students, the Career Services Coordinator and faculty. Students perform research to identify opportunities of special interest; the Career Services Coordinator advises students about desirable opportunities and assist them in preparing to pursue these opportunities; and faculty suggest agencies in which opportunities are known to exist. The Career Services Coordinator and faculty initiate contacts with organizations on behalf of La Follette School students interested in internships and are regularly contacted by agencies and other employers offering internships.

Earning Academic Credit for Internships

Students may receive up to three graduate course credits by enrolling in PA 827 Administrative Internship. Enrollment for course credit may be during the fall, spring, or summer terms, and must be approved by the Associate Director and Director. Students assume responsibility for any travel and housing arrangements associated with an internship that requires relocation.

With approval from the Associate Director, students may enroll for 1 to 3 credits of PA 827, meeting the following minimum work hour guidelines:

  • 3 credits: minimum of 320 hours over at least 8 weeks
  • 2 credits: minimum of 240 hours over at least 6 weeks
  • 1 credit: minimum of 160 hours over at least 4 weeks

Approval of a position for academic credit is also based on a number of additional criteria, such as: the student’s satisfactory academic progress, type of agency, project and tasks performed in the position as specified in an agreement with the supervisor, and the relationship of the internship to the student’s degree program and field.

After the Associate Director has determined that the internship meets the above logistical criteria and has the potential to provide valuable experience relevant to the students’ program and career aspirations, s/he will authorize the student for enrollment in PA 827. Then, before the start of the internship, the student must complete the PA 827 Administrative Internship Organization/Student Agreement. This agreement must be signed by the student, internship supervisor, and the La Follette School Director, who is the instructor for PA 827.

Many governmental and nonprofit organizations advertise “internship” positions. Students are encouraged to explore these opportunities but to be aware that such positions may or may not meet the La Follette School requirements for internship credit. Awarding credit for work is entirely a La Follette School decision. Such credit may be given to positions not labeled “internships” by the employing organization, and credit may be denied to positions that are labeled “internships.”

Please see Section 10 of the Student Handbook for more detailed information regarding internship and PA 827 requirements.