Master of Urban Planning Internship

MUP students are encouraged to complete a planning internship, especially if they do not have prior professional experience in the field. The basic objective of the internship is to provide practical experience under competent and committed professional guidance. The internship must be preceded and succeeded by at least one semester of course work in planning while in residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

UP 590 Professional Internship

  1. An MUP internship must consist of at least 160 hours of appropriate planning-related work (minimum of 50%-time employment for 8 weeks) at an off-campus agency.
  2. The work must be planning, or clearly related to planning; that is, it must involve action directed toward the physical, economic, environmental, or social betterment of a community. The agency must be involved in such action, and the internship must be performed under the supervision of a professional in the field.
  3. Internship credit will not be given for work that is primarily clerical in nature (typing, coloring maps, answering the telephone, data entry), for manual labor (e.g., landscaping), or for most university research. Typically, an internship consists of support tasks similar to those of an entry-level professional position. These might include but are not limited to: field data collection, map preparation, data analysis, preparation of case memos, participation in public meetings, and preparation of reports to support planning activities.
  4. Internship credit will normally not be given for work in real estate, law, banking, engineering, architecture, or landscape architecture offices, unless the work of the office has a clear planning component that distinguishes it from the norm. Internship credit will normally be given for work for relevant public agencies, consultants in planning or economic development, community nonprofits, and private developers.
  5. UP 590 internship credit is given only to students enrolled in the MUP degree program or one of our approved joint programs. Prior approval of internships by the MUP director is required and completion of the three forms and weekly log must precede the award of credit.

Students must register during the term in which the internship is performed, in order for the course UP 590 to appear on the official transcript. Most internships are during the summer break. Some sutdents, however, are able to obtain internships of suitable quality and duration during their second academic year. Internships may be on a paid or volunteer basis, depending on your arrangements with the agency. 


Students must submit four forms, preferably in pdf files, in order to complete your internship:

  1. Agency Offer of Internship. This one-page form is filled out by the professional who will act as the internship supervisor. The purpose of the form is to assure the necessary commitment of time by the supervisor, and to confirm that the tasks will be appropriate for an internship. Once students have accepted an offer, they should submit it to the MUP Program Director for approval. This will allow students to enroll in UP 590.
  2. Weekly Log. For each week, students should summarize their activities, in a bulleted list or brief paragraph, during the entire internship. No specific format is required.
  3. Student Internship Evaluation. This form must be completed at the end of the internship in order to receive a grade of satisfactory for UP 590.
  4. Agency Internship Evaluation. The internship supervisor must return this form to the Department at the end of the internship. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the supervisor has the form and submits it in a timely manner. The form provides the supervisor with the chance to evaluate students' skills and to reflect upon their contribution to the agency. Students will not receive a grade for UP 590 until the form is submitted.

Submit documents 2 and 3 in one package, and arrange 4 to be submitted to the MUP Program Director upon completion of your internship, in order to receive UP 590 credit.

Internship Credit for Prior Experience

Occasionally, MUP students have had substantial professional planning experience prior to enrolling. In such cases, an additional internship would provide little added benefit to the student's education. The Department may provide internship credit for prior experience, but the burden is on the student to present the case and submit appropriate supporting materials. The application should include the following:

  1. Evidence of work for a minimum of one year, full-time.
  2. Description of agency and job responsibilities, sufficient to address Internship criteria 2, 3, and 4 outlined above.
  3. Identification of supervisor(s) and description of supervision and guidance provided by a professional in the field.
  4. Supporting letter from supervisor, attesting to professional planning nature of work, quality of performance, and improvement achieved during course of employment.
  5. Samples of work products.

All applications for prior internship credit should be submitted to the MUP Program Director.

Internship for International Students

Before seeking off-campus employment, international students are required to see an Adviser at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) to confirm authorization to work and to process work authorization (Curricular Practical Training). International students cannot work off campus until they have completed two semesters of course work. Accepting off-campus employment without proper authorization can result in the revocation of Visas and deportation.

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