Internship Policy and Procedures
The faculty of the Department of Mass Communication encourages and strongly supports a program of professional internships for students preparing for careers in print, broadcast journalism, and public relations, both with academic credit and without. Media internships, carefully arranged and monitored, are a valuable complement to classroom studies. They have proven to be excellent learning experiences for students and they have provided special insights for the supervising professors and media professionals.
The prime objective of the department's internship program is to enhance the student's educational experience. It is designed to:
- Afford media majors an opportunity to practice their academic skills in actual work situations under alert professional supervision.
- Allow interns to gain professional experience for which they can receive academic credit in their area of specialization.
- Provide students an opportunity to build up their work experience and portfolios for future job interviews.
Internships also provide supervising professionals a first-hand look at the talents and capabilities of potential future employees. And the experiences of interns over the years have helped professors adjust the academic program to new needs and new interests in the marketplace.
The department expects its student interns to make a positive contribution to their host publisher, broadcaster or public relations practitioner. That is why only qualified students are permitted to take internships for academic credit, and that is why the department requires hosts to report regularly on the quality of work performed.
The course number for an internship for academic credit is MCOM 491.
To be accepted for MCOM 491, a student must be a junior or senior in Mass Communications with a minimum of 21 credit hours of mass communication courses and a GPA of at least 2.00. Of the 21 credit hours, at least nine are successfully completed in skill courses including MCOM 211 and two other required courses in the student's sequence. For broadcast students, they need to complete MCOM 328 Electronic Field Production and MCOM 330 Broadcast Reporting and Newscasting; print students must complete MCOM 306 General Assignment Reporting and MCOM 308 News Editing; public relations students must complete MCOM 301 Public Relations Practices and MCOM 316 Public Relations Writing.
In addition, the student must have advance approval from his/her academic adviser and from the Department Chair.
Qualifying students may earn a maximum of three hours of academic credit for a professional internship. (However, the department strongly encourages students to get as much additional internships as possible despite lack of credit)
No academic credit is granted for any internship taken prior to formal enrollment in MCOM 491 and completion of all required preliminary procedures.
Students planning to take an internship should begin by conferring with the department's Internship Coordinator. Assignment of interns is made by the department with the involvement of the host and the student.
The host will be asked to review the department's policy on student internships and write a letter to the Coordinator agreeing to take an intern and outlining duties to be performed.
Before being introduced or assigned to a host, the student must have completed an acceptable resume.
Interns are expected to work a minimum of 10 hours a week in meaningful work activity.
Students must file a weekly report of their activities. The department has a form that must be filled out each week and returned to the Internship Coordinator. Each report must be signed by the intern and professional supervisor. Without a complete file of these weekly reports, a student cannot receive a grade.
Midway through the internship, the department's Internship Coordinator will meet personally with the host and the intern to make certain the program is proving to be mutually satisfactory.
At the end of the academic term, the intern must submit a scrapbook of published articles, stringboard, portfolio, or a diary of all work performed. These materials will be reviewed by the Internship Coordinator and then returned to the student for use in job interviews.
In place of a final examination, interns are required to turn in at least a three-page summary report to the Internship Coordinator. In the report, which must be typed and double-spaced, interns are expected to review their experience in detail and offer recommendations on ways to improve or expand their experience.
The professional supervisor also is asked to submit a performance form and a written evaluation of the intern's work and shall recommend a grade - satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
All materials from the students and intern supervisor must be in the hands of the Internship Coordinator by Wednesday of the week preceding final examinations.