Frequently Asked Internship and Practicum Questions

Students interested in pursuing an internship or practicum for academic credit should be well versed in the posted Journalism and Digital Communication Internship Policies and Procedures before approaching faculty supervisors. Frequently asked questions appear below.

How soon do I have to register for an internship?

You have until the end of the first week of classes in the fall/spring semester to register for an internship. For the summer semester, the deadline is the last week of spring classes. Obviously, sooner is better.

If I don’t rush to register, will there still be a place for me in the internship “class?”

Yes, as stated above, you have to complete the process for registration by the deadlines listed. The internship “class” does not “fill up.” We take as many students as we have internships

Is there an actual “class” session attached to an internship?

Yes and no. In semesters where there are a large number of interns, we meet as a class at least bi-weekly. When there are fewer interns, we meet individually at least four times during the semester.

Is an internship for credit, for pay, or both?

An internship can be either. Most organizations will not allow students to do an internship without receiving college credit, for labor law reasons.  However, some will, in addition, pay interns by the hour or with a stipend at the end. It varies.

How many for credit internships can I do?

You are allowed to take TWO internships for credit. The first one can be taken after completing the prescribed nine credits in our major (see website) and the second at any time following, although you are highly encouraged to take your first internship early in the major and the second closer to graduation, perhaps in your final semester. Internships can range from 1 to 3 credits, though, as a practical matter, MOST students do a 3 credit internship.

How many hours of work are involved?

For three credits, a minimum of 120 hours, which break down to about 8 hours per week over the course of a 15 week semester. The same number of hours applies during the summer, although the shorter term (10 weeks) means more hours per week spent at the internship. On-site supervisors must keep a running tabulation of the hours spent at the internship; the entire 8 hours does not have to be completed in a day. You could, for instance, go twice per week for 4 hours each day. The actual schedule is arranged between you and your supervisor.

How do I find an internship?

First, browse the internships currently listed under “Internships and Jobs” on our department website. This is updated constantly, at least several times or more per week. Next, talk to your fellow students, many of whom have had or are currently engaged in an internship. Ask them about their experience and whether they would recommend it to others as a valuable learning experience. Finally, keep your eyes and ears open. Explore on your own. Pick an area of journalism/media in which you are most interested and investigate the possibilities on the web. Most media organizations have websites and many have a link to internships. We are always open, based upon approval, to new internship possibilities you might find on your own.

Besides the actual time spent on-site at the internship, what else is required?

You will have to post weekly updates on-line in the class “Discussions” area on campus, updating the internship director on your progress throughout the semester. The aforementioned face-to-face meetings, either as a class or individually, are also required. At semester’s end, the two primary requirements are (1) a final paper in which you reflect on your internship experience from the point of view of what you hoped to learn, what you did learn, and what you still feel you need to learn; (2) an evaluation letter from your on-site supervisor. Both are due during the final week of classes.

How do I get started?

Once you have selected an internship (and the organization has agreed to host you), begin with completing the “Learning Contract” on the department website. This must be completed collaboratively by you and your internship on-site supervisor. It creates expectations on both sides and so, therefore, is essential to beginning the process. NO internship will be approved for credit without this document being completed and submitted.

What comes next?

After you submit and have your learning contract approved, you will receive a permit to register for either MMC 4945 (undergraduate) or MMC 6945 (graduate). Casey Peterson, our academic program specialist, is the person who processes permits. He will be in touch with you once the internship is approved.

Who supervises internships for the department?

In fall and spring, Dr. Tony Silvia approves and supervises internship placements; in the summer, Dr. Deni Elliott supervises internships. For summer internships, Dr. Silvia approves internships by no later than the end of finals week in May.

Ready? Search for Internships and Practica Now!