Why Internships are Required for ALL Communication Majors:
1. The #1 reason freshmen list for going to college: Getting a better job. (2014 survey by Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA)
2. An internship is the single most important credential for recent college graduates to have on their resume among all industry segments with Media/Communications placing the highest value on internships. Internships are valued more than GPA and college major when evaluating a recent graduate for employment. (2012 survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace)
3. Internships allow students to demonstrate what they are learning in classes on real job assignments and projects, providing evidence of their value for current and future employers. Their projects result in “deliverables” – workplace products to be showcased in their professional e-portfolio, created in their senior seminar.
4. Internships enable you to take your career plan for a test drive. Your internship may save you from accepting a job in a field or with a company that is not the right fit for you.
Internship Information for Communication Majors: FAQs
All Communication majors are required to complete an internship by registering for COMM 4890. How to find an internship and the requirements of an internship are described below. First, here are some answers to FAQs you may want to know.
- How many hours are required in an internship?
You are required to complete 3 credits of internship. Each credit requires 60 hours of work, so you must work 180 hours at your internship
- Why are there sections of 1, 2, and 3 credits of COMM 4890 internship listed in the class schedule?
You may take 1 credit (60 hours) of internship one semester, and 2 credits (120 hours) of internship the next semester, as long as you have a total of at least 3 credits.
- Can I take more than 3 credits of internship?
You may not take more than 3 credits in a single semester, but you may take 6 credits of Comm 4890 overall. However, no more than 3 credits of internship is permitted for the same internship. If you want to take 4, 5, or 6 credits of COMM 4890, those additional credits must be for a different internship at a different organization.
- If I am not a Communication major, can I enroll in COMM 4890 to do an internship?
No. The purpose of a Communication internship is to apply the skills and knowledge you have learned in the courses of your major. You should seek an internship in your own major.
- How soon in my educational program should I plan to do an internship?
You must be at least a junior and have completed COMM 3000 and at least one upper division course in your major. Ideally, students do internships as seniors and before they complete their senior seminar, COMM 4990. Because the purpose of an internship is to apply classroom skills and knowledge from your major, that cannot happen if you have not yet taken those courses.
- Do I need to find an internship before registering for COMM 4890?
No, part of the learning involved is finding the internship itself. (See more information on that below.) Once you enroll in COMM 4890, you will have one year to complete the course. You may not find an internship until midway through the semester, so you will then be able to complete it the following semester.
- If I get an “I” (Incomplete) for not completing COMM 4890 in one semester, do I have to re-register for it the following semester?
No, all your assignments will stay active in CANVAS for a year. You will just continue to log internship hours and submit the required assignments online. (See information on those requirements below.) The “I” will not affect your GPA nor will it remain on your transcripts.
- I want to do an internship this summer, but register for it in the Fall, so I don’t have to pay for credits in the summer. Is that okay?
No, internships cannot be retroactive. You have to be enrolled in the course, submitting assignments on CANVAS, as you communicate with the internship coordinator who is the course instructor. However, you can register for COMM 4890 in the spring, but do the internship in the summer. You will then be communicating with the instructor online in the spring about your internship goals for the summer.
- How will the internship be graded?
COMM 4890 is Credit only. You will receive CR on your transcripts–and hopefully an outstanding letter of reference from your supervisor and a completed internship project that will go into your senior e-portfolio.
- What if I already have a full-time job/career and don’t need an internship? Do I still have to enroll in COMM 4890 and do an internship?
Yes, at least 20% of students do internship at their current jobs. This is a great option for someone who is not looking for another job, but who could use an opportunity to advance their career by taking on new projects and showcasing their PR or digital media or journalism skills. In this situation, the internship must involve assignments outside their regular duties and supervision on those assignments by someone outside their regular supervisor.
Registering for the Internship Course (COMM 4890)
In order to receive academic credit for an internship, you must be registered for COMM 4890. There are one-credit, two-credit, and three-credit sections. Although you must take three credits of COMM 4890, you may take one credit one semester and two credits another semester. Make sure that you have registered for the correct section.
Once you have registered for Comm 4890, you have a year to complete it. Ideally, you should register for Comm 4890 before the beginning of the semester, but late registrations are permitted throughout the semester if you find the internship during the semester but had not registered for the course.
COMM 4890 Requirements
There is no internship "class"; you will meet with the internship coordinator twice, at your midway point and at the end of your internship, either face-to-face or by phone. During the semester, you will communicate primarily by CANVAS, as you submit the documents below online:
- Weekly log of what occurs during your internship (typed paragraphs documenting hours worked each week, tasks performed experiences gained, etc., submitted at your midway point and at the end of the internship).
- Midway report (short reflection questions)
- Midway survey (to determine whether a midway meeting is needed)
- Midway evaluation from your supervisor
- Letter of reference from your supervisor
- Final report (short reflection questions)
- Final survey from your supervisor
- Final survey from you about your internship
- A project you developed during your internship that can be scanned or linked to your e-portfolio in senior seminar (Examples of projects include videos, website designs, brochures, flyers, surveys, training programs, press releases, website articles written, pictures of events coordinate, etc.)
When all of the above requirements are complete, you will receive the grade of Credit (CR). If you are continuing your internship into the next semester, you will receive Incomplete (I). After a year, if the requirements have not been met, the “I” will turn into an “NC” for No Credit.
Finding an Internship
Internships that develop communication skills and knowledge pertinent to the student’s major are suitable for communication majors. Internships do not have to be in the exact career field you hope to work in once you graduate, although that is certainly ideal. You are required to apply communication theories, knowledge, and skills during the internship. Academic credit will not be awarded if you simply observe professionals at work or help the professionals by performing menial tasks, such as running errands and answering telephones. To get an internship approved for academic credit, it must provide opportunities for the students to complete assignments and projects that can be showcased in their e-portfolio.
Internships can be found through many different avenues. The Communication Department tries to help students find internships through these avenues, but ultimately students are responsible to find their own internship through:
- Current and recent internships posted on our website: https://www.weber.edu/Communication/Current_Internships/html
- Past internship database (which you can see past organizations to inquire about current possibilities): https://www.weber.edu/Communicaiton/listings.html
- Career Services, which keeps a central listing for all academic departments
- Your own networks of friends, family, and other students
- "Cold Call" on organizations you wish to work for, using our Communication Internships brochure designed for employer (pick up copies in the Communication Department office).
- An internship at your current job, if it will involve new projects related to your concentration and supervised by a professional in that area
- Wildcat Handshake is WSU's electronic job and internship board. Click this link https://weber.joinhandsha
ke.com/login and login with your WSU username and password. You can also find Wildcat Handshake in your eWeber portal. Build your profile, connect, and find amazing local and national opportunities!
Some internships are paid; others are not. We actively encourage for-profit organizations to pay interns at least a stipend, but that decision is negotiated between the employer and the student, not the Communication Department.
Here is a recent 2017 report on skills needed to land a top internship: "Top 20 Fields for Internships"
Notice that Marketing is #2. Sales/Business Development is #4. Media/Communications/PR is #5. HR (including project management and customer service) is #11. Event Planning is #20.
Here is another article with advice from past interns about finding an internship:
After an Internship is Secured
Once you have registered for COMM 4890 and found an internship, you will download the internship contract on the COMM 4890 Canvas page. Together you and your supervisor will complete and sign the contract, which will list the duties and responsibilities of the internship. You will then submit the contract online to be officially approved by the course instructor/internship coordinator.
On the course Canvas page, you will also find informational packets for you and one for your supervisor. The packets include all the forms and instructions you need for your internship. Be sure to forward the packet for your internship supervisor to him or her. The forms included in the packet will need to be completed and returned to your Internship Advisor at your midway and final meetings. You will upload the completed documents from your supervisor, as well as your own assignment documents, under the sections for each assignment.
The internship coordinator will email you throughout your internship to ask you about your progress, as you keep the coordinator informed and updated about your internship progress.
For More Information
Susan Hafen, Ph.D.
EH 349, 801-626-8129