During their final year at UCLA, students pursuing a B.A. in Public Affairs are required to complete a three-quarter experiential learning internship from late September through early June. The Public Affairs Undergraduate Program encourages internships in a wide range of fields, including education, immigration, human services, energy and the environment, transportation, housing, mental health, and criminal justice, to name just a few. Internships can take place in nonprofit organizations, private firms, schools/school districts, or government agencies. 

The internship is accompanied by a year-long 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 from their internship placement. This experiential learning opportunity culminates at the end of the spring quarter with a capstone project — produced by students for the organization or agency — which integrates students’ field experience with theory and methods learned in their coursework.

In addition to the day-to-day tasks that students complete for their site, we ask students to identify and complete a larger capstone project that will benefit their internship site beyond their tenure as an intern. Internship site supervisors can support students by helping them to identify what a deliverable or set of deliverables might be.

Capstone Projects

Capstone project deliverables are as diverse as the organizations that participate. Project deliverables can be internally facing (for the community partner), client-facing (for the community partner’s members or clients), or public-facing (for a broader community). A few example projects include:

  • Designing toolkits for the community partner or its members. 
  • Evaluating a policy or program and developing recommendations for the community partner, its members, or the broader public.
  • Creating a social media, multimedia, or web campaign to broaden awareness of a particular issue the community partner works on.
  • Producing lesson plans for the community partner’s staff or members.
  • Or using their unique talents to produce something useful for the community partner.

Learn more about the Public Affairs experiential learning capstone at www.luskin.ucla.edu/undergrad > Experiential Learning Capstone Series > Capstone for Current Students

Experiential Learning for Students
Experiential Learning Community Partners