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Internship Program


Please use the below information to help guide you in your next steps. After you are familiar with our COM process, reach out to the 2015-2018 Internship Director, Dr. J. Kanan Sawyer with any questions.
* All intern applications are processed by Dr. Sawyer through the D2L Organization page (please do not submit materials through the website, which is no longer in use.)

For Students

For Companies

Our Internship program is run through the COM 400 course. You cannot enroll yourself in this course but must meet the prerequisites and apply for admission. If you are interested in the course, please send your status on the below requirements to the Internship Director. We will then begin to process your application, which takes a few weeks. WE DO NOT WRITE LETTERS TO COMPANIES CONFIRMING YOUR ENROLLMENT IN THE CLASS UNTIL AFTER YOU WE HAVE ENROLLED YOU IN THE CLASS.

* Students may bring company offerings to the Internship Director and ask that acceptance into a company internship program that is not currently on our list of offerings be used to meet the COM 400 course criteria. Not all company offerings will meet our criteria. If you are applying to a program that is not off of our list, please send all information and links to the Internship Director along with your application (you should include specifics from the program about the communication training and mentorship that you will receive along with details of the companies internship curriculum). Processing requests takes a minimum of two weeks (when rushed) but typically takes 3-4 weeks to gather information needed to approve external offerings (and is in part dependent on how quickly organizations return needed details). Students who apply and share external company offering information less than 4 weeks before the final enrollment date have a high likelihood of not being enrolled in COM 400 for the desired semester.

An applicant for the Communications Studies Internship Course (COM 400) must:

  • be a declared and accepted major or minor in the WCU Communication Studies department,
  • have successfully completed SPK 208 (Public Speaking), COM 219 (Communication Theory) and COM 224 (Communication Research) with a C+ or better,
  • have completed at least 15 credits within the Communication Studies major before the start of the internship – including: A) at least two upper division COM courses at WCU with a C+ or better and one WCU COM professor reference or B) at least one upper division COM course at WCU with a C+ or better and two WCU COM professor references
  • have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or better and a COM GPA of 2.8 or better.*
    (note: Students within 0.2 of the required GPA may petition for special consideration; contact the Internship Director about how to submit an appeal)

Ready to get started?

Click here to send an email to Dr. Sawyer!

Thank you for your interest in our program – and, of course, in working with our students. You can see from our requirements for students that we only allow our best students into our program. We focus on creating relationships. These high standards are part of fostering the best relationships. Thus, we also have requirements for the companies that want to work with our students. Please become familiar with our requirements and then reach out to the Internship Director with questions and/or to begin to recruit!

  1. Internships should be a mutually beneficial relationship.
    We consider our COM internships to be similar to the old time apprenticeships. Our interns are looking to be trained in your practices and then help to lighten your load. If, for instance, you want to build your social media presence but know nothing of social media then we would not want to place a social media intern with you. If we did then they would be the trainer and you would be the intern – and we know that is not what would benefit you both. If you are, for example, a Marketing Director with a great business plan and are looking to get a bit of help with your existing projects while mentoring a student into helping you through those projects or pull in new clients then that seems like a great placement for one of our students.
  2. Our Intern program is run as a class with pre-requisites.
    Students must have the pre-requisites to apply – including having taken our three foundational courses (Research, Communication Theory, and Public Speaking), passed one of our upper level COM courses, maintain a 2.8 GPA or above, and be able to obtain a reference from at least one COM Faculty member. We use these pre-reqs to ensure that any student intern placed at your company has the foundations and focus to be successful.
  3. Our COM 400 class runs within the timeline of the WCU semester.
    Many companies want their student to start NOW. Getting you the right intern is a process with specific dates. Students who enroll in the COM 400 class will begin being graded and finish being graded according to the semester dates. Such as timeline also means that students will want to finalize their plans for the upcoming semester about 6 weeks before the first day of class. It will take us some time to make sure that we can add you to our list of internship placement opportunities. Finding the right person is worth the wait! (Contact the Internship Director for more specific dates, if needed.)
  4. We cannot guarantee you an intern.
    We receive about five times the number of requests for interns as we have actual students in the program (remember – we are very strict about only allowing our best students into this class). In addition, internships are about “matching” a student’s interest with the right fit for your training program. A phenomenal student may want to learn more about Marketing but your internship is strictly PR. We would try not to make this match because it would not benefit either of you.
  5. We stick to COM.
    Communication Studies students are looking to grow in communication related industries. We hope to place our students in Marketing, Event Planning, HR, PR, Media, Editing, Sales, Advertising, and many other communication fields. While there will always be some general duties work with any job (likely even yours!), we want to make sure that our students are learning an industry. When you speak with the Internship Director, be ready to speak to the specific tasks to which you hope to assign an intern and how they are related to COM. (We have in the past needed to pull our interns from placements when their tasks were solely answering phones, stocking shelves, or running errands as well as from placements that were science, history, or non-COM related.)

If all of this sounds good to you then.... we should talk!
Please reach out to the 2015-2018 Internship Director, Dr. J. Kanan Sawyer.


To be prepared, here are list of questions to which we will need answers before moving forward to advertising your position.

  • Your Industry (e.g., Film editing, sales, organizational development, etc.)
  • Semester of Internship (i.e., Fall – late August to early November; Spring – late January to early May; Summer – specify dates; Fall through Spring; other)
  • Your Company Name
  • Your Company Website
  • Your Name and Title
  • Your Contact Information
  • An Overview of the Tasks and Duties to be Assigned to An Intern (please note the relationship to communication principles or practices and give specific details about your program and mentorship of the student)
  • How Many Interns Do You Have or Hope to Have On-Site at a Given Time
  • How the Intern Will Be Supervised and Mentored
  • Is This a Paid Position (if so, what is the pay)
  • If This is Not a Paid Position, Do You Offer Other Benefits (e.g., free parking in the city, reimbursement for public transportation to the site, free lunch, etc.)
  • Needed Experience or Qualifications
  • Desired Experience or Qualifications
  • Characteristics of an Intern that You See Having the Best Fit
  • Other Information (as needed) That We Can Use to Find You the Best Intern
  • Likelihood of a Job Opening for a Successful Intern After the Completion of the Internship
  • Write up a position advertisement of no more than 200 words