Graduate Career Services

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As a professional school, the Ford School places a high priority on the career development of students. The Graduate Career Services Office is staffed with two full-time career counselors who work closely with MPP and MPA students. We also work with a wide range of employers to develop and enhance recruiting relationships with organizations in the US and abroad. Employer outreach efforts are conducted with peer institutions in the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) as well as specifically for the Ford School.


Below are answers to some of your most frequently asked Policy Career questions.

What assistance is available to help students secure internships?

Graduate Career Services offers a variety of programs, services and resources to assist students in exploring careers and securing internships. Graduate Career Services works with Ford School students one-on-one to develop successful job search strategies and to help students connect with employers through job postings, resume collections and on-campus interview opportunities, alumni connections, and employer outreach in the US and abroad.

What kinds of internships do Ford School students complete?

Ford School students secure internships with employers at all levels of government, as well as financial institutions, think tanks/research institutions, international agencies, the private sector and non-profit organizations. Students’ internships approach policy issues in a variety of ways including research, program evaluation and implementation, analysis, and advocacy.

Click here for a list of internships and internship statistics.

What types of international internships have Ford School students secured?

Ford School students have completed international internships focusing on a number of policy areas including humanitarian aid and relief, international development, diplomacy, human rights, etc. In recent years, approximately 25% of students secured internships abroad. Previous interns have worked with the UN World Food Programme promoting economic and social development and providing relief assistance in Zimbabwe and Guinea. Students also have worked on the business and political aspects of U.S. international agricultural trade policy for U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service.

Click here for a list of select international internships PDF Document

What percentage of Ford School students secure paid internships?

Students’ ability to secure paid internships is impacted by many factors: the job market, the organization’s commitment to funding internships, organizational budget constraints, and in part, to the timing of each student’s internship search. For academic year 2009-2010, 43% of Ford School students secured employer paid summer internships; another 25% accepted internships established by the University where funding (between $6000–$10,000) was provided by the Ford School or another U-M department.

Is funding available for unpaid internships?

For some students, the most career-relevant internship may be within an organization unable to pay its interns. The University of Michigan and the Ford School offer a number of opportunities through which students can secure funding to help defray the costs associated with a low paid or unpaid internship.

The Ford School historically offers 15-20 internship partnerships funded through donor contributions. A Ford School Internship Partnership is a funded internship at an organization that would otherwise be unpaid. These partnerships are announced in January for the coming summer. In recent years, partnerships have been established in organizations such as Amnesty Int’l in London, UNICEF in Geneva, City of Detroit Mayor’s Office, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

The Ford School is also able to assist a significant number of students in defraying some of the costs of accepting an unpaid or extremely low paying internship at an organization of the student’s choosing. Through the Ford School’s Unpaid Internship Fund, students can apply for up to $3000 for domestic and/or international internships.

Funding support is also available through other UM offices such as the William Davidson Institute, the Nonprofit & Public Management Center, areas studies departments, and the International Institute. During Winter semester, Graduate Career Services offers workshops on funding unpaid internships.

What can I do with an MPP?

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree emphasizes analyzing and evaluating information to solve policy problems. Students can choose to concentrate on domestic or international affairs, or focus on a specific policy issue such as education. Since a public policy degree provides a set of research, analytical, and management skills that are often transferable across sectors and issue areas, graduates are provided a lot of flexibility in choosing their career paths. Public policy graduates often move back and forth between the public, private and nonprofit sectors, or between international and a domestic work. Graduates also choose a variety of ways to affect policy; some conduct research on public policy issues, others help implement programs, and some advocate positions on certain issues or lobby for specific legislation. Read what Ford School alumni and students have to say about their work experiences and about the preparation provided by their Ford School education.

As a student, can I connect with Ford alumni to obtain advice about internships and career options?

Ford School alums are one of the best resources for assistance with “real-world” career information, leads to internships and jobs, and mentoring advice. Many alumni return to the Ford School to share their expertise with current students. Others regularly forward job and internship postings informing students of open internships and jobs within their organizations. Alumni are also available by phone or e-mail to assist students in exploring careers and to serve as important networking contacts.