Developing Effective Graduate Internships
Do you have a project that requires professional expertise? Do you lack the staff and the money to do it? You need a graduate intern. With a little effort, you can produce great projects while providing a valuable experience for a Humphrey School master's student.
Our master's students generally have two to five years of work experience in addition to graduate training in areas as varied as policy analysis, planning, public management, budgeting and fiscal policy, program evaluation, and a variety of specific policy topics. Graduate interns are prepared to think strategically, analyze rigorously, and communicate clearly.
Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) and Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) degrees require students to do a professional internship in their areas of interest. That means more than 100 students each year are looking for a great internship experience. It's up to you to compete for this talent effectively by posting an interesting position. Here's the information you should include:
- Organization: Tell them about your organization and refer them to your website. Give them a context for the project they will do.
- Project: Describe the specific internship project you need done. Give them enough detail to help them understand why you need this and how it contributes to the work of your organization. If you have a clear time line for the project and an important deadline to meet, include that information as well.
- Other duties and responsibilities: List the other things the intern will be expected to do or learn during the internship. Keep in mind these are graduate students. Although everyone does some tedious tasks, the majority of a graduate internship should be challenging project work.
- Qualifications: Describe the qualifications you want in an intern and be specific. If you need someone fluent in Spanish or skilled at Microsoft Access, include it here. Also specify communications skills, verbal or written, and any other skills or knowledge the student would need to be successful. If they have to have a car, work in the evening, or other special requirements, include that information, too.
- Logistics and compensation: Starting and ending dates, hours per week, salary (if this is a
paid position), any other conditions of employment. Be clear about what you can pay. If you cannot afford a salary, some students still may be interested if the project is rewarding enough. However, most graduate students are funding their own education and must look for paid internships. The average salary for Humphrey School interns is $12 to $20 an hour. This is an outstanding value for the quality of work they do. If you can't pay your intern, think of other compensation you could offer—commuting stipend, low-cost housing, free lunches, free parking, etc. Students also may be interested in using your data in their professional master's papers.
- Application requirements: Give clear application instructions so students submit exactly what you want; this might include resume, cover letter, writing sample, reference list or letters of reference. Specify if you accept mailed, e-mailed or faxed applications. Give exact contact information and let them know who they can call with questions.
- Deadline and application time line: Give a specific deadline for applying (we are required to post a position for a minimum of five working days; we recommend at least two weeks during the semester and a month during breaks or over the summer). Also specify your time line for the hiring process, such as when you hope to interview and when you will make your final decision.
If we can facilitate this process for you by scheduling on-campus interviews, please let us know. Also, contact us at any time with questions about recruiting a strong pool of candidates.
Humphrey School Online Internship Listings
Our students have access to an online internship listing only for Humphrey School students and alums. To submit an internship posting, complete this online internship form.
(To get you started thinking about your internship posting, see this sample internship posting.)
You may self register and post opportunities directly to the GoldPass System. This is a University-wide posting system. Please contact our office if you have questions regarding posting your internship opportunity.