About our required summer internship

MPP students complete the required internship—10 consecutive weeks of full-time (40 hours/week) work—during the summer between the first and second year of study. The internship helps students:

  • apply their knowledge to significant problems in the public, private, or non-profit sectors while developing and enhancing skills in their policy area of interest.
  • clarify their career direction, identify relevant second-year electives, and strengthen their professional experience and networks.

Below, Employee Relations Manager Casey Sullens breaks down the requirements for the MPP student internship experience, from criteria the internship itself has to meet to the work the student must accomplish. 

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Internship Requirements


Summer leadership coaching


of MPP students elected to work with a leadership coach during summer 2022 internships

International internships


These include international organizations or U.S.-based organizations that deal with international issues.

Support to secure internships

We work individually with students to support their internship search and help them secure internships appropriate to their career needs and goals, identify and secure funding for unpaid or low-paid internships, and provide leadership coaching throughout their experience. We leverage our substantial network of agencies and organizations that have hosted interns and employed graduates, including alumni organizations and established partnerships with high-profile employers (such as the City of New York, the United Nations Refugee Agency, CARE, Government Accountability Office, the Chicago Mayoral Fellowship, Education Pioneers, Deloitte, and the Asia Foundation).

In 2020, the Ford School partnered with all students navigating the transition to remote internships and connected students to newly developed remote applied learning opportunities.

Internship stats
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5 Ways to Prepare for Success in the Internship/Job Search
Karl Hoesch

"One of the highlights of my internship was attending the Circuit West Tour hosted by Grand Rapids' 2030 District, a public–private partnership to improve environmental impact."

Karl Hoesch (MPP '20) interned with the department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in Lansing, MI where he worked to connect income-qualified households in select communities with access to solar energy credits.
60% of our MPP students receive funding from partnerships, Ford School funds, and other sources

Internship funding

The practical experience and professional networks gained from the summer internship make the decision to accept a particular internship a very significant one for Ford School students.

At times, a student’s best internship option—the one that will help further their career goals—is an unpaid or low-paid internship. The Ford School has funding available to help students defray the costs of these opportunities. Through the generous contributions of Ford School alumni and friends, students are free to pursue the right path for them. 

Internship reflection papers

After returning from an internship, each student submits a written report evaluating and reflecting upon their summer work experience. These reflections are available as resources to first-year students who are exploring internship options. Below are some internship highlights.


Avril Prakash

"The Ford School's emphasis on quantitative skills and research analysis allowed me to deliver reports directly to CEO Mary Barra and the rest of the senior leadership team with confidence."

Avril Prakash (MPP/MBA '21) interned with General Motors' Global Public Policy team, which handles regulatory affairs in the energy and environment portfolio.

MPP student Max Gigle recounts his internship experience at the Rhode Island Office of Innovation, where he developed an infrastructure for the state government’s websites.

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Max Gigle’s Internship Experience


MPP student Paola Guerra Guevara's internship experience at Vision Democratica, "Democratic Vision,"a Venezuelan NGO in Washington, DC.

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Paola Guerra Guevara’s Internship Experience


Internships by location, summer 2019

Hands-on experiences

2019 internships by location

Summer 2019 internships. 100% reporting. (Summer 2020 internships completed remotely. See the internship placements document below for more information.)
Internships by sector, summer 2020

Hands-on experiences

2020 internships by sector

Summer 2020 internships. 100% reporting.

Have any questions?