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Why Public Administration?

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Career Opportunities

Graduates of NIU’s M.P.A. degree program can look forward to excellent job prospects, with career opportunities in federal, state and local government, as well as in the private and non-profit sectors. A recent survey found that 95 percent of M.P.A. alumni obtained full-time employment within six months of graduating.

Internship Program

The essential purpose of the Master of Public Administration Internship Program is to offer public administration students who lack previous public service experience a developmental learning experience in the mainstream of public management.

Beyond providing professional development for interns, participating agencies also benefit from the program by being able to tap the resources of talented, motivated graduate students to help meet agency needs. This talent, moreover, is available at a very reasonable cost to the agencies. The basic objectives of the internship program, then, are to:

  • provide the pre-professional with a valuable learning experience in his or her area of public service interest
  • provide agencies with talented pre-professionals at a reasonable cost and strengthen the university/community bond

Interns are generally assigned research or administrative duties by supervisors at the agencies for which they work, but always involve a meaningful learning experience. The nature of assignments varies widely depending on agency needs. Interns employed in municipal managers' offices, for example, work on a range of assignments from capital budgeting to handling citizen complaints. In other agencies, interns procure and analyze crime statistics, work on economic development programs and evaluate the delivery of services in target areas. Interns have worked at a number of municipalities and nonprofit organziations.

Students who enter the M.P.A. program without "appropriate professional experience" will generally be required to serve internships. "Appropriate professional experience" can generally be defined as: at least two years of administrative full-time work experience in the student's area of interest in the M.P.A. program. The chair of the Department of Public Administration makes all final decisions on whether a prospective student meets the criteria.

Most interns work an average of 20-24 hours per week in their agencies while being a full-time student. Interns must work a minimum of 20 hours per week. Classes in which interns are enrolled are generally scheduled in the time frame of 5-10 p.m. This allows maximum flexibility in scheduling intern work sessions. Depending on the internship site, interns may be allowed to work full-time over the summer and semester breaks.

Wages range from $10–$20.43 per hour, with $14.57 being the average wage. Wages are determined by the agency. You are responsible for providing your own means of transportation to and from internship sites.

Once admitted to the program, you will begin the internship application process under the direction of the department.

If the M.P.A. Internship Program interests you or you have any questions, please call the Department of Public Administration office at 815-753-0184

Contact Us

Department of Public Administration
IASBO Building (2nd Floor)
815-753-0183
publicadm@niu.edu
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