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Public Engagement

Public Engagement: the heart of the MPA Program

Group of students outside in Puerto Rico

Our students often say that they’re drawn to the MPA Program because of the emphasis we place on experiential learning. And graduates regularly list their Public Engagement experiences as key in helping them develop the skill set they need to be successful in their future careers.

In addition to internship and externship opportunities, as well as numerous other courses with experiential learning components, we offer two intensive consulting courses that are client-based. Both are designed as service-learning partnerships. Students engage with government and nonprofit client-organizations to work on pro bono consulting projects. Clients may be locally, nationally, or internationally based.

In the MPA program, there are several options for fulfilling the Practical Experience requirement for the MPA. Real-world consulting opportunities, internships, off-campus study, and Capstone experiences help you develop the skill set you need to be successful in your future careers.


Your public engagement roadmap

Consulting for Government and Nonprofit Organizations

In your first or second year, you will be introduced to the basics of consulting. This course, PADM 5900—Consulting for Government and Nonprofit Organizations, includes a service-learning component, which will give you the opportunity to consult with a government or nonprofit client on a pro-bono basis either locally, nationally or internationally. It is not uncommon for clients to offer Brooks MPA Students internships or ongoing consultancies at the conclusion of the engagement.

Domestic or International Capstone

In your second year, you may take a Capstone course with either a domestic or international focus. This is an in-depth and rigorous semester-long program. With a consultancy team that includes your classmates, you will help a domestic or international client solve well-defined policy or management problems. The projects are multidisciplinary, which will allow you to draw on the resources of students and faculty across the University.

Each project offers the opportunity for you to hone your abilities as a public affairs professional. Your team will produce a professional report for your client in addition to presenting an oral presentation. By the end of these experiences, you will have developed skills in real-world project management, evaluation, consulting, teamwork and leadership. The Capstone course fulfills the Professional Writing/Analysis requirement for the MPA degree.

capstone brochure cover

Capstone Guide

Our students often say that they’re drawn to our Master of Public Administration program because of the emphasis we place on experiential learning.

Guide to the Cornell Brooks School MPA Capstone & Public Engagement