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Experiential Learning


  • Chiho Feindler Presenting at Heinz College
  • Students and Clients Smiling for Camera
  • G20 Panel Speakers at Carnegie Mellon
  • Martin O'Malley Presents on Transportation
  • Students Performing at a Poetry Reading
  • Student Project for Coast Guard Group Shot

Ideas to Action


From client projects to industry events, practical experience is a cornerstone of your Heinz College education.

Effective leaders and managers must know how to deliver on their ideas in a measurable way, clearly communicate with all stakeholders, and understand how their roles and decisions fit into the broader landscape of the field. To achieve these competencies, there is no substitute for meaningful hands-on learning experiences that bridge learned theories and best practices.

AT HEINZ, YOU WILL:

  • Move beyond the classroom and gain tangible skills through work opportunities both on- and off-campus, including research and teaching assistantships alongside our faculty experts.
  • Solve a real-world problem for a real-world client in your team-based Capstone Project, collaborating with our top industry and government partners.
  • Make meaningful connections through internships and apprenticeships, many of which lead to full-time job offers.
  • Apply your newly earned knowledge from class to immersive activities, workshops, events, and student clubs.

Not only do these opportunities crystallize concepts and strategies learned in coursework, they add highly marketable industry experience to your resume prior to graduation.

CAPSTONE PROJECTS

Most full-time Heinz College master’s students complete a team-based project, working in close collaboration with a real-world client. These projects fulfill an actual business or operational need for our partners, giving students an opportunity to have a measurable impact while still in school.

Recent MSPPM Capstone clients include:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (multiple departments)
  • RAND Corporation
  • New Orleans Police Department
  • Bike Pittsburgh
  • UNICEF
  • Overseas Vote Foundation / U.S. Vote Foundation
  • Amtrak

INTERNSHIPS

Most Heinz College master’s students are required to complete a 10-week, full-time internship during the summer between the first and second years. Students in MSPPM: PITTSBURGH, DATA ANALYTICS, and GLOBAL all complete required internships; WASHINGTON, D.C. students complete a summer internship as well as an apprenticeship during their second years; FAST TRACK students are not required to complete an internship, however many opt to do so.

Internships present students with the chance to apply what they’ve learned in their first year to real-life situations, gain exposure to their future field, build their resume, and make lasting professional contacts.

Recent internships:

  • AARP
  • Accenture
  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • City of Alexandria
  • City of Pittsburgh
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Deloitte
  • Facebook
  • FDIC
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • National Cancer Institute
  • National League of Cities
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem
  • The Lego Group
  • Los Angeles Mayor's Office
  • MetLife
  • National Governor's Association
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
  • Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
  • Unilever
  • United Nations
  • United States Congress
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)
  • Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  • U.S. Office of Management and the Budget (OMB)
  • The World Bank

EXPERIENTIAL CLASSES

Many classes focus on experiential projects, such as Measuring Social (see video), in which students learn to analyze social media data and solve problems for partner organizations from industry, government, and the media.

Also, for many years, Heinz College has welcomed colleagues from the U.S. Army War College to campus to conduct an International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise with our students, providing an invaluable experience in leadership and international diplomacy.

A Home Run for the Pittsburgh Pirates


A group of Heinz students from Ari Lightman's Measuring Social class collaborated with the Pittsburgh Pirates to help the stalwart MLB franchise find new ways to engage fans on social media.

LEADERSHIP AND THE ARMY WAR COLLEGE


Students participate in a crisis exercise as part of an experiential course taught in collaboration with the U.S. Army War College.

  • Classroom Crisis Exercise Gets Underway
  • Students and Faculty listen to a Presenter
  • Students React During Army War College Exercise
  • Students Discuss during Army War College Exercise

SPEAKER SERIES

Heinz College, our programs, and our student organizations host a wide variety of speakers and guest panels representing all sectors. These speakers provide valuable industry insight and networking opportunities as they lead riveting discussions on current topics, trends, and issues relevant to MSPPM students both academically and professionally.


ON-CAMPUS POSITIONS
  • Research Assistantships pair students with faculty and research centers to pursue topics of interest.
  • Teaching Assistantships are available to students in the final two semesters of their program.

APPRENTICESHIPS & FELLOWSHIPS

U.S. Citizens enrolled in the MSPPM program can work part-time for organizations in the Pittsburgh region, and work for public and non-profit firms is often eligible for Federal Community Service Work Study. 

See the MSPPM Student Finances page for more information about work study and fellowship opportunities.


STUDENT ACTIVITIES & CLUBS

Many Heinz College students complement their education with involvement in immersive student activities and clubs. In some cases these activities are purely recreational or centered on community-building, but in many others they can be direct extensions of, or supplements to, coursework.

Students talking at an activity fair