Gain real-world policy experience

During the policy internship, students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience and apply classroom learning and research skills. Students in the MSSP and MSSP+DA programs complete 150 hours of a policy-related internship, typically done after coursework is complete. Internship activities may include policy analysis, data analysis, research, policymaking, advocacy, policy implementation, policy communications, and policy evaluation activities. Internships span all types of agencies and organizations, including nonprofits, research institutions, advocacy organizations, think tanks, state and local government, federal government, for-profit institutions, and private foundations.  

Internships are structured based on individual student interests and past social policy experiences. Internships typically span 6-8 weeks, can take place in the United States or abroad, and require a minimum of 150 hours. All internships must be policy related.

Finding an internship

Prior to starting an internship, students receive detailed information on the internship search process and internship requirements. Program staff are available to meet with students to discuss possibilities and guide the process. There are several ways to find a right-fit internship:

  • Review the listing of past internship sites.
  • Identify possible internships through networking with friends, family, classmates, faculty, former employers, and personal contacts.
  • Research organizations of interest to see if internships are available.
  • Consult with Penn Career Services for resume/cover letter review, mock interviews, career advice, and more. 

Internship opportunities received through the MSSP office are emailed to students and featured in the weekly MSSP newsletter. During the search, students are encouraged to cast their net broadly and apply to many organizations. This will yield the best possible opportunities.

Partial list of past internship sites

  • ACLU of Pennsylvania
  • Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP)
  • Center for American Progress’ Women’s Initiative
  • Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP)
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia*
  • China House
  • City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services*
  • City of Philadelphia Office of Children & Families
  • Data Science for Social Good, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  • Health Equity & Policy Lab
  • Mayor’s Internship Program, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office
  • Prevention Point Philadelphia 
  • Satell Institute 
  • Social Security Administration
  • Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program
  • Towards Unity for Health (TUFH)
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • The World Bank

*Denotes a partner organization

Partnered Internships

Penn MSSP-DHS Performance Management & Technology Fellowship

Penn MSSP-DHS Performance Management & Technology Fellowship

CHILD USA Social Science Fellowship Program

CHILD USA Social Science Fellowship Program



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