An internship in Communication Studies is intended to provide undergraduate students with academic experience not available in structured courses and that will extend and/or complement prior coursework. Through an internship, classroom instruction is enhanced by the acquisition of practical experiences outside the classroom and students benefit from working closely with a practicing professional in the field. Such an experience may increase a student’s marketability in the search for permanent employment.
Although not a degree requirement, the Department of Communication Studies considers an internship to be an important component of an undergraduate education. An internship may be completed at any time during the student’s course of study in the department, but is recommended during the summer between junior and senior year when the student’s theoretical background is strongest.
The Department of Communication Studies sponsors an internship directly (the Hollywood Internship program), which has a different application process. Please see https://comm.unc.edu/undergraduate-studies/hollywood-media-internship/.
All other internships must be sought out by the student, who can then follow the application process outlined here. While specific activities during the internship may vary greatly from one internship to another, an internship should be aimed at providing opportunities for the student to:
• have learning experiences that are normally unavailable in the classroom, but are essential to a well-rounded education.
• augment one’s understanding of the field by putting classroom theories and techniques into practice, thus developing one’s own professional point of view.
• gain work experience, develop practical skills, and become familiar with professional behavior.
• make a contribution to the community.
• develop an agenda for subsequent learning.
• familiarize the student to real-work situations and help him or her to evaluate career choices.
The approval process for internship credit is a three semester process.
STEPS FOR APPLYING FOR CREDIT
1. Find an unpaid internship: see List of Current Available Internships.
2. Fill out the online Internship Application Form completely, including your on-site internship supervisor’s signature. Internship Application Form
3. Email one copy of your transcript (can be unofficial and printed from Student Central, but be sure it has your GPA) to Kristin Hondros at: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Turn the application in before the end of the semester prior to your internship., or within the first two weeks of the semester within which it will take place.
5. For summer internship applicants, no applications will be accepted after June 01. In all cases, applications will not be accepted after you begin work at your internship.
6. The Internship Advisor will let you know if your internship has been accepted. This notification will include the requirements for obtaining academic credit in the semester following your internship.
7. In the semester following your internship, you will be registered for COMM 397: Internship. During the semester you will meet with your advisor and turn in all required work and paperwork by the agreed upon due date.
For instance, for a May graduation, a student must, at the latest, apply for internship approval during the Spring semester of her or his junior year, work a summer or internship, then be enrolled in Comm 397 in the Fall or Spring of her or his senior year.
Note: Be sure to get a copy of your On-Site Supervisor Evaluation Form (above) before you leave the internship to avoid complications later. You cannot be graded without this form.
RULES AND RESTRICTIONS
1. The Internship course is for Communication Studies Majors only
2. Forms must be turned in and completed by the end of the semester prior to your internship. Applications for course credit for Summer Internships must be turned in no later than June 01, 2013.
3. You must have a GPA of at least 2.5 in order to receive credit for an internship. Any requests for a waiver of this GPA requirement must be submitted in writing along with a printout of your unofficial transcript and the Appeal Form to: Dennis Mumby, Department Chair; Francesca Talenti, Director of Internships; & Mike Waltman, Director of Undergraduate Studies, prior to completing your application form.
4. The number of credit hours granted depends on the number of hours actually worked. Students completing 120 hours of on-site work can earn 3 hours of academic credit. Students working 40 hours can earn 1 hour of academic credit. Anyone working 120 hours fulfills the Experiential Education Requirement.
5. No student may earn more than 3 credit hours for internships in the Department of Communication Studies or 12 credit hours for internships and/or independent studies across departments. Student may only receive credit for COMM 397 once.
6. No student can receive course credit for a paid internship.
7. Your internship has to contribute to your education as a Communication Studies major and your application must demonstrate the educational merit of your internship.
8. Credit for COMM 397 counts as general university elective credit and cannot be used to fulfill the 30 hours required for completion of the COMM major. It does, however, count towards the 120 hours needed for graduation.
STEPS TO SELECTING AN INTERNSHIP
1. Start Early!
• The time to start looking for a summer internship is NOT April or May. You should begin to look at internship opportunities in early to late December, as some competitive internships, especially at well established companies and organizations, have winter application deadlines.
• If you wish to seek funding through the university or external sources for a summer internship, the application deadlines are generally sometime between January and March.
• Students who graduate in the Spring will not be given academic credit for internships worked the summer after they graduate. The ideal time for a summer internship is between your Junior and Senior years. Some students have rewarding internships between Sophomore and Junior years.
2. Think Big!
• Think about the job or career you ultimately want to have and apply for an internship in that field and organization. If you want to be a screenwriter, start looking for internships assisting screenwriters or on movie sets. If you want to be a wedding planner, apply to a company that does wedding planning.
• An internship should teach you skills you do not already have, immerse you in an unfamiliar organizational culture, and provide an opportunity to build professional connections that you can return to for feedback, skill building, referrals, connections, and potentially employment!
• If you start early, you have the time and resources to apply to many different kinds of internships. Even if you have limited financial resources, you should begin your internship search with the IDEAL opportunity, even if it is unpaid, or in an expensive city. Apply to big, unfunded, far away internships as well as internships in or near the place you live in the summer or during the semester.
3. Be Strategic!
• Check out the career services lists of grants that fund unpaid internship work:
• Working a summer internship can be an ideal time to practice your financial planning as well. Can you secure funding for your internship from the university or an outside funding source? How can your internship build toward your long term career goal with the best long term result? Can you find a way to secure low-cost housing while you work an internship (for example, with family or friends)? Can you work a part-time paid job while working a part time or full time summer internship? Can you secure well paid work for one month and do an unpaid internship for two months?
4. Schedule Informational Interviews!
• Informational Interviews are a practice in which you contact someone who has a job, career, or works for an organization you think you might be interested in. You’re not asking for an interview for a job, but rather, asking them to tell you about the work they do, how they came to do the work they do, and oftentimes give you advice on how to meet your career goals. This is a great way to build connections, contacts, better understand the field you’re interested in, and get your name and face in front of people whom you wish to work with in the future.
5. Get Support from Career Services!
• See more tips on how to get a great internship at University Career Services:
• If you’re unsure about what your ideal future career might be, seek out career counseling by scheduling an appointment at University Career Services
6. Seek Quality, Respectful, Effective Internships!
• Choose an internship that respects your capacity to work and contribute value to the organization, as well as your well-being as a person.
• Be wary of internships that attach housing with your internship employment. Your safe living environment can become compromised if conflict arises at the internship workplace.
• Apply for an accept internships that are prepared to actively train you in new skills. Often these internships will have a formal internship program, a supervisor who can lay out a work plan before you accept the internship, and/or a discrete project you will produce that you can leave the internship with documents, publications, independently completed events, reels, or webpages that can be used in your portfolio. You are not merely an unpaid laborer, but a trainee.
• Pre-negotiate set work hours and dates, and hold yourself and your organization to keeping these hours or re-negotiating comparable hours to fit their work needs, if you are available to do so.
7. Ask Questions!
• Email Kristin Hondros at: email@example.com
to schedule a Video Chat session or digitally drop in during her office hours (Wednesdays from 12:30-2:30) via Google Video to the account name COMM397Internships@gmail.com. This is a great time to get support in developing skills to advocate for and negotiate a great internship experience. Also, if you don’t see the right internship for you posted in the current internship postings, stop in to develop a strategy to secure a great internship.
• We keep a list of internships previous Internship students have worked and their experiences there. If you are looking for information on securing an internship at a specific company, with a specific job title, or in a specific region, email Kristin Hondros: firstname.lastname@example.org ask to see this list. If you see an internship or organization on the list you are interested in, stop in Elizabeth Thomas’s office in 115 Bingham Hall, Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30. She keeps the hard-copy review of organizations on file. You can see if the previous student had a good or bad experience, pros and cons of the internship, and a contact name and email address for the internship supervisor.
8. Apply for Internship Course Credit in Communication Studies
• Once you have secured an unpaid internship, if you want to receive course credit for the internships, follow the “STEPS FOR APPLYING FOR CREDIT”.
• If you still have questions about securing an internship for course credit, schedule an appointment with Kristin Hondros: email@example.com. This is until June 1st. After June 1st we no longer accept applications for summer internships.