USC Price School of Public Policy

Externship Program

USC Price Externship

The externship program provides students real-world exposure to an occupational area relevant to their area of study. An extended “shadowing” opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students, it is concentrated around spring break so students can spend three to five days working directly with professionals on substantive projects.

1. What is an externship?
An externship is a short period of work with experienced professionals, providing a student exposure to the “real-world” application of their classroom training. Externships are not for academic credit or pay, but the experience will greatly benefit both students and sponsors. The time span of the externship gives the student an ability to refine career goals while allowing the sponsor to examine the interests, skills and competencies of potential employees or interns.

USC Externship

2. What may students do during the externship?
It is up to you to decide what is appropriate in your work environment. We ask that you go through your day with the student as you would any other, so that the student gains a realistic perspective of what your career entails. Some options include:

  • Conducting informational interviews with you and other co-workers
  • Attending meetings and brainstorming sessions
  • Editing or proofreading
  • Assisting with research projects
  • Working directly or observing interactions with customers and clients
  • Providing career guidance

3. What level/year student can I expect?
Students who participate in an externship will be undergraduate or graduate students in the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy including: Masters of Public Administration, Masters of Public Policy, Masters of Health Administration and Masters of Planning.  By indicating your expectations on the sponsor application, we will strive to match you with a student who meets your qualifications and skills competencies.

4. Do I have the opportunity to select students?
No. The Office of Career Services will screen student applicants and make a selection for you. We will verify the student has the qualifications you request.

5. Will students contact me directly?
Yes, but only after the Office of Career Services has informed you of your extern. It is the responsibility of the student to contact you prior to the externship once the decision has been made. Students will not be given contact information during the application process.

6. Is there a cost to participate?
There is no cost to you as a sponsor of the externship. Students are responsible for all of their own expenses, transportation, meals, and lodging if necessary.

7. How many student externs may each sponsor/organization host?
In your application, please list the number of student externs your office / organization would like to host.

8. What is the timetable for the Externship Program?
For key dates and deadlines, please contact the Office of Career Services at price.careers@usc.edu.