Internships

The internship experience requires students to engage with projects in a professional context as a complement to their classroom education. MURP students must complete a minimum of 400-hours of internship work prior to graduation and to attend an Internship Seminar meeting three to four times each academic year.

Placements

In the past, MURP students have found internship placements with government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private sector consulting firms that work in the areas of land use and transportation planning, environmental management, and community and economic development.  Most internships pay between $10 and $20 per hour. Many students engage in more than one internship. Most internships are completed in the Portland metropolitan area, but some students secure out-of-region and out-of-state internships as a means of cultivating different learning and employment opportunities.

Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design, Beijing

Summer Internship Program (PSU MURP students only)

PSU MURP students interested in learning more about urban planning in China should consider applying for an 8-12 week appointment at the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design, a 500-planner group that does much of the municipal planning in China, to work on projects both in Beijing and throughout China alongside Academy staff planners. The deadline for applying is February 15. The Academy will cover in-country living expenses and any internship-related in-country travel, food, and lodging. Students will pay for airfare to and from Beijing and for their visa.

Internship Seminar

The Internship Seminar (USP 559) provides students with support in finding an internship as well as an opportunity to reflect on the internship experience and share personal assessments with peers. Students are required to attend 3 Internship Seminar meetings during each of the two years of the MURP program (total of 6 meetings). Students should enroll in USP 559 Internship Seminar for 1 credit during the term of their sixth and final workshop meeting.

We will post a schedule with the available seminar meeting times at the beginning of each term. 

Internship FAQs

1) What is the Internship Requirement?

A: Every MURP student must complete 400 hours of internship before they graduate. We have instituted this requirement for two reasons. First, we consciously have sought to make planning practice the focal point for this program. We want you to be engaged with practice from the moment you arrive, and to begin to understand your role and responsibilities as a professional planner throughout your graduate school experience. Second, we want you to learn about the breadth of practice while you are here, and to use the internship as a means for better understanding the career direction that makes the most sense for you. 

2) What makes a good internship?

A: Several things: an attentive and engaged supervisor; work that can yield tangible on-the-job experience, a real product, or both; an understanding on the part of the supervisor that the students also need to graduate, and have to schedule their hours in conjunction with class and project schedules; exposure to the life of the sponsoring organization or firm, the roles that planners play, and the challenges and satisfactions of the job. We encourage students to seek internships with private planning consulting firms, design firms, public policy firms, public agencies at all levels, nonprofit organizations interested in all issues affecting places and the people that live there, and other organizations, jurisdictions, and firms able to utilize their skills. In short, we accept a very broad range of experiences to satisfy this requirement, just as we view the skills of a planner to be applicable in a wide range of ways. 

3) What kinds of things have MURP interns done in the past?

A: In a word, everything! Analysis, Background research, Current planning, Data collection and organization, Environmental reviews, Facility planning, GIS, Historical research, Involvement and citizen engagement, and just about everything else, all the way through Writing, X and y axis displays, Youth planning, and Zoning. Again, many students already have professional experience, and the core curriculum for the MURP degree equips them with new and useful skills. 

4) Do GRAs count?

A: Typically, no. We really want you to get outside of the academic bubble, and to put your skills to work in settings that might be typical of those you’ll encounter after graduation. If you want university research experience, you might be better off seeking a scholarly rather than professional degree. However, that said, there are ways to get a great internship through a university position: working at the University’s campus planning office, working for EcoDistricts, or for Community Environmental Services have been useful internship placements in the past. From time to time there have been projects through OTREC that have counted. 

5) Can I use experience acquired prior to enrollment to meet my internship requirement?

A: No. We want you to get the 400 hours beginning from the time that you become a MURP. If you are employed as a professional planner during the time that you’re in the program, we will, of course, allow you to count those hours. 2 

6) How do I figure out whether what I’m intending to do will count?

A: If , after reading through the FAQs here and talking to your advisor you still aren’t sure, contact the MURP Internship Supervisor. That position rotates among faculty members but both the Student Services Coordinator and the School Director can direct you to the right person. 

7) Do MURP interns get paid?

A: Frequently they do, at a rate of between $12.50 and $20 per hour. However, internships range from unpaid, to expenses (particularly transportation), to a stipend or honorarium, to an actual hourly wage. It all depends on the organization and its capacity to pay these students for the contributions they’ll make. Again, the point of the internship is to acquire the experience that will build your resume, ground your studies, and help you figure out your next steps. Pay is not necessary for any of that. Please keep in mind that we do not want students working more than 20 hours per week outside of school during the 9-month academic year.

8) How do I keep track of my internship hours?

A: Great question! There is a D2L site that all MURPs will be give access to and that they will appear as an “ongoing” course on their D2L homepage. You log into D2L with your ODIN name and password. The log utilizes “quizzes” for each term and for the summer. Please record what you did every term, even if you didn’t do anything at all. 

9) Are there any other things that I need to do to satisfy the MURP Internship requirement?

A: Yes! You need to attend one mandatory meeting for all MURPs each term. The schedule for the year is usually posted at the beginning of fall term, and the first meeting usually takes place during the first or second week of fall term. In addition, you need to register for USP 559 for one credit in your final term in the program.

Internship Coordinator

Dr. Connie Ozawa
MURP Internship Coordinator
URBN 350A
ozawac@pdx.edu