These internship experiences facilitate self-directed learning, and they can become an invaluable first step toward a public service career.

Students without significant public sector or nonprofit work experience must complete an internship. Mid-career and mid-career online students are not required to complete an internship.


Students must complete 360 hours, which typically takes about 12 weeks.

Full-time students usually complete an internship during the summer semester, although part-time placements during the academic year are allowed with approval by the internship program administrator.

Students enroll in Public Affairs 8280 (3 credit hours) during the semester they will complete their internship.

Meet with Dr. Charles Sampson before enrolling in this class to understand the assignments and requirements of the internship.

Finding an internship

A good internship helps broaden your experiences and allows personal growth.

To find an internship that is right for you:

  • Talk to second-year students.
    • They have a wealth of experience, both good and bad, which can help you identify and land a good internship.
  • Contact any entity that you find interesting, even if internships aren’t publicized.
    • You will want to design your internship duties with your internship supervisor to ensure that the experience meets your needs and those of the supervisor.
  • Start looking early.
    •  Narrow your search by the winter break and begin applying in January. If you’re looking at internships outside Missouri, in Washington, D.C. or overseas, start around October.
    • Most students accept their internship between late February and early April. A few will be earlier and a small number will be later. You want to be earlier rather than later.
  • Keep applying until you get accepted.
    • Students often make the mistake of applying for an internship that they really want and suspend their search only to find they’ve been rejected by that organization.

A few places that regularly take interns:

  • Regional planning commissions
  • Environmental Protection Agency (this is competitive, see your instructor for details)
  • City of Columbia
  • City of Ellisville
  • City of Boonville
  • Columbia-based social service organizations
  • Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies

Past Placements

Last year students interned at organizations that included:

  • U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s Office – Washington D.C.
  • TreeTop Learning Center – Columbia, Mo.
  • Office of Representative Courtney Curtis, Missouri House of Representatives – Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Parent Link – Columbia, Mo.
  • Office of Administration, Division of Budget and Planning – Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Rental Housing Energy Efficiency Committee – Columbia, Mo.
  • Polaris Project – Washington D.C.
  • U.S. Department of State – Washington D.C.
  • CropLife America – Washington D.C.
  • Magic House – St. Louis, Mo.
  • GRO – Grass Roots Organizing – Columbia, Mo.
  • Ashoka Philippines – Manila, Philippines
  • The Truman Leadership Project – Columbia, Mo.
  • Missouri Juvenile Justice Association – Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Jumpstart – Columbia, Mo.
  • The Truman Leadership Project– Columbia, Mo.
  • Office of Representative Courtney Curtis, MO House of Reps – Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Defense Intelligence Agency – Columbia, Mo.
  • Kansas Grassroots – Lawrence, Kan.
  • Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – Columbia, Mo.
  • International Friends Center – Columbia, Mo.
  • State Emergency Management Agency – Jefferson City, Mo.
  • Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations – Jefferson City, Mo.
  • One-Day Commonweal Organization – Ya’an, Sichuan Province, China


  • The school provides a stipend for students who incur extraordinary expenses (for example, a placement in Washington, D.C. or overseas).

The stipend is modest, is dependent upon funding and is awarded competitively.

Some internships are paid, but most internships at not-for-profits are not paid.

Pay will vary, but it can range from $9 to $14 per hour.


Students with significant public sector or nonprofit work experience can request exemption from the internship requirement from the program administrator.


  1. Emily Johnson
    1. Associate Director, Institute of Public Policy
    2. Research and Public Service Professional
    3. Truman School of Public Affairs
    4. Institute of Public Policy
    5. 573-884-5473