The LPS Internship Experience

The LPS program provides the opportunity for students to receive course credit while gaining valuable practical experience.

What is the LPS Internship?

The Internship in Leadership in the Public Sector (LPS 490) will provide LPS students with valuable experiences helping to ensure success in their major study and in the real world. These are unpaid internships that are completed in agencies in the public and nonprofit sectors. Typically, the work for 3 credit hours of an internship can be completed in one semester. The student cannot exceed 3 credit hours for an internship. Credits earned in LPS 490 will count towards the LPS degree, as a 400-level elective, for students majoring in LPS. The intent of the internship is to provide a meaningful work experience with learning at a rate similar to that occurring in LPS major studies.

For many students the internship is the most important component of their degree program. The internship provides some students with their first professional work experience. For other students, it marks the transition between technical jobs and management positions. It is an opportunity for students seeking to change careers to demonstrate their competence in their new areas of interest. Typically, the internship experience plays a key role in students’ career decisions.

In general an effective internship provides students with the following opportunities:

  • Familiarizes the intern with the vocabulary, statutes, and other elements of a specific work environment
  • Gives the intern responsibility for one or more projects which result in an identifiable product
  • Exposes the intern to people who routinely interact with the agency; i.e., agency clients, interest group members, other administrators
  • Provides the intern with sufficient information and experiences to assess whether career goals are achievable
  • Prepares the intern to compete for professional jobs consistent with his/her educational and work experience
  • Receives helpful feedback from his/her supervisor about performance and workplace behavior

An internship should not be confused with a part- or full-time job that a student may accept for other reasons. The LPS program has no involvement in those arrangements and does not grant academic credit for such work.

Who needs an internship and why?

Internships are appropriate but not required for LPS students. An internship documents professional-level work experience through the successful completion of one or more projects related to career interests and LPS coursework. It provides students an opportunity to observe professional work behaviors and management styles, to expand knowledge of career opportunities and personal abilities, to learn new skills, to apply classroom knowledge and skills in a work environment, and to develop professional working relationships and contacts.

Requirements and Eligibility

What is required in the LPS Internship?
LPS 490 is a 3-credit hour internship (150 working hours) completed in a government, government-related, or nonprofit organization. An intern is expected to work at least 150 hours, spread over at least ten weeks. An internship should be chosen carefully to advance the intern’s skills and knowledge about an area of career interest. Participation in class assignments is required as well.

An internship is a partnership among the intern, the organization in which the internship occurs, and the LPS program.  All three parties have distinct interests that must be appreciated. The LPS program imposes requirements on students who receive academic credit for the internship. The sponsoring organization provides supervision and reasonably expects to have assigned work completed in an acceptable manner. The LPS program and the sponsoring organizations work together to support the student intern.

Am I eligible for the LPS internship?
Registration for LPS 490 should occur only after at least four LPS courses have been successfully completed with a C minus or higher:

  • LPS 200 – Introduction to Public Leadership
  • PS 315 – Public Leadership
  • Any two LPS electives at the 200 or 300 level

Students will not be able to self-enroll in LPS 490. The LPS Internship Director will approve the internship and register LPS students for the class.

Finding an Internship

How do I find an internship?
Students interested in an internship should contact the LPS Internship Director to discuss their interests, determine what kind of internship would be most suitable, and to review requirements of an internship and registration.