Our Internship program is run through the COM 400 course. (COM 400 is an elective and not one of the seven upper level COM courses that you will take to graduate.)
The Communication Studies Internship Course (COM 400) may be taken for 3-12 units/credits per semester and a total of no more than 15 units in your time at WCU. The number of units in which you can be enrolled is dependent on the number of hours that you are able to schedule with the internship company.
3 unit class = a minimum of 10 hours per week for a total of 120 hours in the first 13 weeks of the semester.
6 unit class = a minimum of 20 hours per week for a total of 240 hours in the first 13 weeks of the semester.
9 unit class = a minimum of 30 hours per week for a total of 360 hours in the first 13 weeks of the semester.
12 unit class = a minimum of 40 hours per week for a total of 480 hours in the first 13 weeks of the semester.
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. Once you have access to the application site, you must post the required documents (a list of which will be sent to you from the Director once you send an email saying that you qualify). You post your application and then we put it into the queue to be reviewed. It takes at least a few weeks to process applications. You can speed up the process by posting and then coming to Dr. Sawyer's office hours for notes.
WE DO NOT WRITE LETTERS TO COMPANIES CONFIRMING YOUR ENROLLMENT IN THE CLASS UNTIL AFTER YOU WE HAVE PROCESSED YOUR APPLICATION AND OUR ADMINISTRATION HAS 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 three weeks (when rushed) but typically takes 6-8 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.
COM 400 is offered every semester/session. It is the only course through with we offer course credit for internship work. Students cannot receive credit retro-actively because our assignments and meetings are to be completed and revised during the actual internship. We also mandate a minimum of two evaluations from the organization/on-site supervisor that are used to refine the internship in progress. (Students taking COM 400 during the summer sessions must be enrolled for Summer Session One if their on-site hours start even one day into Summer Session One.) **At this time, we cannot accept international internship programs through the COM 400 course.
An applicant for the Communication 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 (never have a professor send your reference until your entire application is posted on the D2L site - no references can be processed without your full application).
- 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)
Please understand that students may disqualify themselves for the program. Any fabrication of any part of the application (from GPA reporting, email signature, courses completed, etc.) will result in applications being disqualified.
Do you meet these prerequisites? Ready to get your application up on the D2L application page? Email Dr. Sawyer and let her know that you meet the pre-req.s so she can give you access to the D2L application page.
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!
- 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.
- Our companies also must meet pre-requisites.
Just as our students must have the pre-requisites to apply – we ask that companies applying to work with our students also meet certain standards. First, we ask that on-site supervisors work with the student on the creation of a final portfolio. The portfolio is a collection of industry specific work created by or in tandem with a those at your company. Depending on your industry, some example work might be press releases, video or media creation/editing, training manuals, crafted communications or manuals, event documentation, etc. (Work that is primarily administrative or data entry will not allow students to meet the goals of our program.) Second, we insist that companies meet WCU standards by not allowing our students to work in home offices or do any type of door to door sales. Finally, we do not currently accept international internship opportunities through COM 400.
- 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 AT LEAST SIX TO TEN 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
Groups, please understand that any programs that are primarily administrative, do not result in a professional portfolio, or are not related to communication practices and industries cannot be approved in our current program.
If all of this sounds good to you then.... we should talk!
Interested? Ready to get your advertisement out to our students?
Click here to send an email request to Dr. Sawyer for the intake form!