Students pursuing a BA in Public Affairs are required to complete a three-quarter experiential learning opportunity. The experiential learning capstone consists of three parts: an internship, seminar, and capstone project.

Internships can range from internships in community-based organizations, social enterprise businesses, or regional governments to UCLA Global Internship Program, UCLA Quarter in Washington, or UC in Sacramento (UCCS) programs.

These experiences are accompanied by a seminar that enables students to reflect on and share their engagement experience with classmates, apply what they have learned in their coursework to their community or public engagement, and analyze how the engagement experience conforms with or differs from what they learned in coursework.

This experiential learning opportunity culminates with a capstone project that integrates what students have learned at their internship site with theory and methods learned in their Public Affairs coursework.


Prerequisites & Requirements




Prerequisites

  • Declared major in Public Affairs
  • Completed lower division courses
  • Recommended completion of methods courses
  • 2.0 GPA
  • Senior Standing (135+ units)
  • Attended 1 Community Impact Training
  • Attended 2 Career Skills Workshops
  • Attended 1 Capstone Information Session
  • Completed Capstone Interest Form

Capstone Preparation Requirements

  • Students are required to complete all capstone prerequisites prior to enrollment in the Public Affairs 187 series.
  • Students are expected to meet deadlines in order to ensure they are prepared for their experiential learning capstone requirement.  Failure to do so may impact their eligibility for the major.

Experiential Learning Capstone Requirements

  • Students will be at their internships a minimum of 220 internship hours during their senior year.
  • Simultaneously, students must enroll in and actively participate in the 187 course series, which will use readings, writing assignments, and other coursework to introduce students to concepts and methods relevant to their internship projects. This seminar will enable students to reflect on and share their engagement experience with classmates, apply what they have learned in their coursework to their community or public engagement, and analyze what they have learned in the field.
  • Students will complete a capstone project that integrates the internship experience.

Minimum Requirement

In order to enroll in the PA 187 series and start the internship placement, students must complete at least one Community Impact Training and two Luskin Career Skills Workshops.  Failure to complete the workshops will result in the student being ineligible for the capstone series, and therefore the major.

Students are expected to arrive on time and remain throughout each workshop. There is a 15-minute grace period at the beginning and the end of the workshop. If a student arrives after or leaves before the 15-minute grace period, their attendance for that workshop will not count towards the prerequisites for the experiential learning capstone, nor towards the Life After Luskin: Leadership Development Series Certificate of Completion.

Luskin Career Paths Speakers Series: These workshops highlight professionals from the field of public affairs to discuss their career journey, provide insight into their field of expertise, and offer guidance and best practices.  Topics and communities will vary to represent the diverse field of public affairs.

Luskin Career Skills Workshops: These workshops are meant to provide students with the necessary skills to prepare them for their internship placements and post-Luskin careers. Topics range from managing your digital brand to managing up; from understanding and critiquing professionalism to developing your story and interviewing with confidence.

Community Impact Trainings: These trainings go deeper into supporting specific identity-based communities and working with diverse populations. Trainings range from LGBTQ Allyship trainings to Suicide Prevention; from UndocuAlly Training to sexual harassment prevention training.

Field Trips: These field trips are meant to expose students to a community based experience beyond their internship as well as to encourage volunteerism and civic engagement. This can be completed by participating in UCLA volunteer day. For more information visit: volunteerday.ucla.edu

Frequency of workshops:
Luskin Career Paths Workshops:  2 per quarter
Luskin Career Skills Workshops: 6 per year
Community Impact Trainings: 1 per quarter
Field trips: 1 per year

You can find examples of our workshops here!

Spring 2021

Life After Luskin Workshops:

  • Career Paths Speaker: Elizabeth Calixtro
    • Wednesday, March 31, 2021
    • 12:00 to 1:00 PM PST
    • Career Paths Speaker Series
    • RSVP here
  • Career Paths Speaker: Nelson Esparza
    • Monday, April 5, 2021
    • 3:30 to 4:30 PM PST
    • Career Paths Speaker Series
    • RSVP here
  • Exploring & Combatting Implicit Bias
    • Monday, April 12, 2021
    • 3:30 to 5:00 PM PST
    • Community Impact Training
    • RSVP here
  • Tips From a Lawyer: Thriving in the Workplace From a Legal Perspective
    • Wednesday, April 21, 2021
    • 12:00 to 1:00 PM PST
    • Career Skills Workshop
    • RSVP here
  • Transitioning from Student to Professional
    • Monday, April 26, 2021
    • 3:30 to 4:30 PM PST
    • Career Skills Workshop
    • RSVP here

Make sure to check our weekly newsletter for additional events and resources!

As part of the effort to keep our community healthy, our workshops will be held remotely until further notice. This will not be the only disruption we experience in the next ten weeks as a consequence COVID-19 and associated response efforts: we may all need to care for sick family members or help watch younger relatives if schools and daycares close. As a team, we will work to accommodate your needs. We ask two things of you:

1. Return the favor: we are shifting to a remote model with very little lead time. You should expect some issues and the need for improvisation.
2. Don’t abuse our trust: our flexibility is not license to skirt workshop expectations or the Student Code of Conduct.

This workshop may be photographed or recorded. Please review our notice of photography here.

Students are expected to arrive on time and remain throughout each workshop. There is a 15-minute grace period at the beginning and the end of the workshop. If a student arrives after or leaves before the 15-minute grace period, their attendance for that workshop will not count towards the prerequisites for the experiential learning capstone, nor towards the Life After Luskin: Leadership Development Series Certificate of Completion.




Internship Sites


A key component of the experiential learning capstone includes students completing a public affairs internship at a Los Angeles–based internship site.

The Capstone Advisor and the Director of Experiential Learning will compile a list of approved internship sites that are interested in hosting Public Affairs students. The process of confirming an internship includes interviewing and matching with an internship site from this approved list. This is an exciting and time-intensive process that requires students to work closely with the Capstone Advisor. Students who are hoping to find their own internship must contact the Capstone Advisor no later than Winter quarter of their Junior year.




Exceptions & Opportunities


Students who plan to participate in UCCS, Quarter in Washington or the Global Internship Program must meet with the Capstone Advisor during Week 2 of Winter Quarter during their Junior year and prior to their participation in the internship program to confirm that the program will count for the first quarter of the PA 187 series.

  • UC Center Sacramento (UCCS)
    • One quarter in Sacramento + two quarters at a Los Angeles–based internship in conjunction with 187B and 187C.
    • Poli Sci: 192A Internship (5 units) + Poli Sci 193 Internship & Research (2 units) will satisfy the PA 187A requirement OR
    • Poli Sci: 192A Internship (5 units) + Poli Sci 196E Research Design + Methods (4 units) will satisfy the PA 187A requirement.
    • Other courses (including Poli Sci 195 ) may count as elective credit toward the Public Affairs major by petition.
  • UCLA Quarter in Washington
    • One quarter in D.C. + two quarters at a Los Angeles–based internship in conjunction with 187B and 187C.
    • M194DC (4 graded units) + Pub Aff M195DC (4 P/NP units) + PS 195CE OR CESC 195CE (4 graded units).
    • PS 195CE OR CESC 195CE will substitute for 187 A; M194DC and M195DC may count as elective credit toward the Public Affairs major by petition.
  • D.C. Fellows Summer in Washington Program
    • One quarter in D.C. + two quarters at a Los Angeles–based internship in conjunction with 187B and 187C.
    • Pub Aff 195CE (4 or 8 units) OR PSM195DC Internship Course (4 or 8 units) will satisfy the 187A requirement. Please contact the Capstone Advisor to determine which is a better fit.
    • Other courses may count as elective credit toward the Public Affairs major by petition.
  • UCLA Global Internship Program
    • One quarter abroad + two quarters at a Los Angeles-based internship in conjunction with 187B and 187C.

Since the Experiential Learning Capstone typically occurs over the course of one academic year, a student must meet with the Capstone Advisor to learn how graduating early affects their Experiential Learning Capstone experience. For more information, please see: the Graduating Early Guidelines.

Students interested in going above and beyond the minimum workshop requirement may choose to pursue the Luskin Leadership Development Series Certificate of Completion. In order to obtain the certificate of completion, students must complete the following: 3 Luskin Career Paths Workshops, 3 Luskin Career Skills Workshops, 1 Community Impact Training, and 1 Field Trip.



Roles & Responsibilities



  • Prepare student for internship experience through coursework, professional development series, and capstone seminar
  • Advise students on their internship placements
  • Establish and maintain channels of communication between the department and the agency
  • Co-plan the internship and capstone requirement with the Supervisor
  • Share with Supervisor the expectations of the internship and capstone requirement
  • Arrange meetings with Supervisors for site visits to confirm an Internship Placement site and to check-in with the Supervisor on the student’s progress
  • Plan and hold events for the Department, Student, and Supervisor to meet one another, understand the requirements of the internship placement, and present the capstone projects
  • Reconsider placement assignment of any student if problems relevant to that student cannot be resolved in the agency
  • Complete the minimum number of hours (220+for the academic year)
  • Provide appropriate notice to Supervisor if the student will miss a shift (minimum one business day in advance) and immediately reschedule those hours
  • Adhere to all agency regulations, policies, and procedures
  • Conduct the business of the agency in an appropriate way
  • Be engaged, inquisitive, and ready to learn and contribute
  • Approach this learning in an open manner which includes dialoging across difference
  • Share with the Supervisor and/or UCLA Department any issues or impediments to experiential learning
  • Structure the internship to provide an intentional and meaningful learning opportunity
  • Develop and assign responsibilities to the student
  • Clearly communicate expectations and responsibilities to students
  • Schedule hours during the academic quarter so that student can complete the hours required
  • Adhere to program requirements and deadlines
  • Provide the space and equipment needed by students
  • Provide training, supervision and feedback to each student (recommended .5-1 hour per week)
  • Provide a verbal and written evaluation to the student and certify the number of hours the student completed
  • Contact UCLA staff if there are any problems or issues that cannot be resolved with the student
  • Assume responsibility for liability incurred in connection with agency assignment

Learn more about what it means to be an internship site in our Community Partners section.




Community Partners


During their senior year, students pursuing a BA degree in Public Affairs participate in an experiential learning internship that lasts for three quarters (roughly the end of September through the beginning of June, and approximately 30 weeks total). The Public Affairs Undergraduate Department encourages internships in a wide range of fields, including education, immigration, climate change, transportation, mental health, and criminal justice, to name a few.

Internships can take place in nonprofit organizations, private firms, schools/school districts, or government agencies. The internship is accompanied by a UCLA-based seminar that enables students to reflect on and share their engagement experience with classmates, apply what they have learned in their coursework to their community or public engagement, and analyze what they have learned in the community. This experiential learning opportunity culminates at the end of the spring quarter with a capstone project for the organization or agency that integrates students’ field experience with theory and methods learned in their coursework.



  • What is the major in Public Affairs?

    The Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs is a new undergraduate major that offers an in-depth and engaged educational experience with a clear public service ethos. Drawing from UCLA Luskin’s expansive resources in Public Policy, Social Welfare, and Urban Planning, the interdisciplinary major combines critical thinking, social science theories, data collection and analysis, written and oral communication, and experiential learning. The B.A. in Public Affairs gives students the skills to analyze information, use evidence for decision making, and make compelling arguments for collective action. Ultimately, the Public Affairs major prepares our future leaders to immediately and effectively bring about social change.

  • What is experiential learning?

    Experiential learning connects the dots between theory and action. Our faculty developed the experiential learning requirement for the new undergraduate degree program to engage students in a relevant, rigorous, and rewarding educational experience through meaningful community-based learning. Experiential learning provides students with the opportunity to apply and/or critique theoretical concepts they learned in the classroom and to learn directly from leaders doing the work in the community.

    Agencies such as yours provide a learning environment where students actively engage in the day-to-day operations of the site and are expected to produce a capstone project that is useful to the agency. Supervisors provide 1:1 supervision, feedback, and mentoring. The role of the student at most placement sites is that of a participant observer but they are expected to be professional, engaged, inquisitive, and ready to learn and contribute. The ultimate goal is for the student and agency relationship to be mutually beneficial.

  • What is required of an internship site/supervisor?

    Ideal placement sites provide students with a pre-professional experience and structure activities that allow the student to:

    • Contribute to the day-to-day activities of the organization by working on duties and tasks related to Public Affairs.
    • Develop an understanding of the organization’s vision, mission, inputs, activities, and outcomes.
    • Develop interpersonal and technical competencies required in the workplace.
    • Receive supervision, mentorship, and feedback from a professional in the field.
    • Apply the conceptual, analytical, and/or methodological skills students have learned in their courses.
    • Produce a professional-quality capstone product (e.g., a presentation, report, etc.) that will be useful to the organization.

    Site supervisors should review the Roles & Responsibilities section of this page to learn more about what is expected of the UCLA Public Affairs Department, Students, and Internship Sites.

  • Interested in becoming an internship site?

    If you are interested in becoming an approved internship site with the Public Affairs Undergraduate Program, please fill out this form. Additionally, if you have any questions, or would like to discuss whether your organization might be an appropriate internship site, please contact:

    Jocelyn Guihama
    Director of Administration and Experiential Learning
    guihama@luskin.ucla.edu

    Kevin Medina
    Capstone Advisor & Coordinator
    kmedina@luskin.ucla.edu



Timeline


UCLA operates on an academic quarter system from late September- early June. Students will be at their internships a minimum of 8 hours per week during Fall Quarter, 8 hours per week during Winter Quarter, and 6 hours per week during Spring Quarter, for a minimum of 220 internship hours during their senior year, exact hours can be discussed between the organization and the student. Students are not expected to come in or make up hours if their usual shift falls on a university or agency holiday.

UCLA observed holidays:

November 11: Veteran’s Day
November 25-26: Thanksgiving
January 17: Martin Luther King Jr
February 21: President’s Day
March 25: Cesar Chavez Day
May 30: Memorial Day


  • Fall Quarter 2021

    September 27-December 3

  • Winter Quarter 2021

    January 3- March 11

  • Spring Quarter 2021

    March 28- June 3