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Real-world work experience is a critical component of the MPA Program. It challenges you to take the academic concepts you have learned in the classroom and put them into practice.

To fulfill the Practical Experience component of the degree, most students choose to complete an internship in the summer between the first and second year of study or to do an externship while enrolled in one of the MPA Program’s off-campus semester programs. The MPA Program Office of Career Management will assist you through each phase of your internship search.

Given that many of the most challenging and rewarding positions in the field of public affairs are unpaid, the MPA Program has developed a competitive grant program to help defray the costs of unpaid internships. Applications for funding are sent out to students each spring.

Download our MPA Internship/Externship Guide here

Representative Summer Internships by Location






Representative Summer Internships by Sector



Public/Intergovernmental Organizations






Internships and Externships

Representative Internships

  • Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University
  • Brookings Institute
  • Calvert Investments
  • CARE International
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Deloitte Tax, LLP
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • International Rescue Committee
  • International Labour Organization
  • Moody’s Investors Service
  • New York City Office of Management and Budget
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition, India
  • UN Development Program
  • UN Women
  • USDA Rural Development Innovation Center
  • World Bank


Additional resources