Experiential Learning


MSPPM students blend their classroom experience with real world application of their skills by:

  • completing a comprehensive team-based project for an actual client
  • completing the required 10-week full-time internship over the summer
  • working on a part-time basis during the school year

Students can leverage a series of opportunities to optimize their graduate school experience, providing them with a competitive advantage in the job market upon graduation.

Capstone/Systems Synthesis Projects

In lieu of a traditional master’s thesis, MSPPM program students complete a team-based project for an actual client with a faculty member's guidance. Students apply their technical, analytical, teamwork, communication, and management skills in a real world project setting through the Capstone or Systems Synthesis Project.

Summer Internships

Most of our students are required to complete a summer internship between their second and third semesters. Students complete their internships across public, non-profit, and private sectors both in the United States and aboard.

Students pursuing internships with organizations unable to pay them for their summer internship can apply for funding from the MSPPM program and the federal government:

During the School Year

On-Campus: There are a variety of positions within the campus for students to pursue:

In the Region: U.S. citizens enrolled in the MSPPM program are able to work part-time (10-12 hours per week) for off-campus organizations while attending school on a full-time basis. Working in the community enables students to put their skills into practice AND have a lasting impact on our community, while enhancing their resume. Eligible US citizens who work for public and non-profit organizations are often eligible to be paid through the Federal Community Service Work Study program.

In addition, the MSPPM program makes a number of awards to incoming and/or continuing students based upon their backgrounds and career goals. Benefits of the fellowships can include tuition scholarships, stipends, and conference funding, in addition to working alongside our faculty and/or Pittsburgh-based public and non-profit organizations. A few examples include the:


Students who enroll in the Master of Science in Public Policy and Management - DC Track spend their first year in Pittsburgh gaining core management skills before moving on to Washington, DC to apply these skills in nearly full-time employment (~32 hours per week) while taking coursework taught by professionals in the field.