This page explains the eligibility requirements and application process for the Communication Studies internship program. (Click here for coursework requirements and grading information.) This page is designed to answer as many questions as possible, so please read it thoroughly.
If, after reading, you have additional questions, contact the Internship Director, Dr. Michael Pearson, 515 Main Hall, at 610-436-2550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page is organized into the following sections:
- Internship Period
- The Internship Process
- Application Package
- Finding (and Getting) the Right Internship
- Final Approval & Registration
The internship program provides Communication Studies majors with an opportunity to earn credit for qualified, non-classroom experiences related to their major. Internships offer students:
- Professional experience
- Networking opportunities with people in the field
- A significant opportunity to strengthen their resumes
An applicant for Communications Studies internships must:
- Be a declared major in the department
- Have successfully completed COM208 (Public Speaking), COM219 (Communication Theory) and COM224 (Communication Research)
- Have completed 15 or more credits within the major by the start of the internship
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or better*
* Students within 0.2 of the required GPA may petition for special consideration in their Letter of Intent.
Internships are available in the Spring, Fall or Summer session. Students must register for the internship course (COM 400) before beginning an internship. No internship credit will be awarded retroactively.
Each internship credit requires 40 hours of competent internship experience. Interns may earn 3, 6, 9 or 12 credits per semester and a maximum of 15 internship credits during their undergraduate program.
An internship is a regular university course. That means:
- A fee is charged by the credit hour.
- You sign up for it by applying to the Internship Director. The course is only available by "permission of instructor" (Internship Director).
- The internship is graded and, as such, appears on the student’s permanent record.
- The internship may be used as a Communication Studies elective or general elective.
NOTE: Although the internship course number is COM400, an internship does not count as a required upper-level Communication Studies course.
Obtaining an internship with an organization does not mean that you are approved to earn credits for that internship through the university. All internships must be approved by the department Internship Director prior to signing up for the course.
Internships must be arranged and approved the semester before they begin. (For example, spring internships must be approved the prior fall; summer internships must be arranged in the spring.) You do not have to know where you are interning, in fact, you may find that the Internship Director can give you some valuable suggestions.
If you are considering an internship, schedule a planning meeting as soon as possible with the Internship Director, Dr. Pearson, 515 Main Hall (call 610-436-2550 or send an e-mail to CommInterns@wcupa.edu). The meeting should be held before or during the normal registration period the semester BEFORE you want your internship.
There are three steps to obtaining an internship:
The Application Package consists of three items: (1) a Resume, (2) a Letter of Intent and (3) a Description of the organization. (The Description is not required if the organization is already listed in our Internship Directory or if you do not yet have a place where you are interning.) The written materials should be submitted to the Internship Director.
The Letter of Intent should be in the form of a letter and include:
- Your Name
- A statement that you are a major in the communication studies program.
- Your email address and phone number
- Your overall GPA
- Semester and year you wish to intern
- Number of internship credits you plan to register for
Description of Organization: If you have chosen an organization that is already listed in our Internship Directory you may omit this page. However, if you have identified an internship position that is NOT in our Internship Directory, include the name of the organization, a description of the company and what it does, its size, its location and the name and contact information for the Internship Supervisor.
You do not need to identify an internship organization in order to meet with your Internship Director. But you can give some thought to what area you would like to work (for example, advertising or human resources).
Internships must be directly applicable to the Communication Studies major and must be approved by the Internship Director. Remember, you can only be registered for the course if you have met with the Internship Director and received his/her approval.
Finding an Internship
Getting an internship is like getting a job. Many are competitive, so you need to be at your best when you are pursuing one. You also need a backup plan if you don’t get your first choice.
There are several resources for finding internships:
- Consult the department's Internship Directory, which is part of this website. There you will find more than a hundred internships covering a wide variety of communications-related professions. All of the organizations in this directory have either been recruited by the department or offered the department the opportunity on their own, so these are companies that really want WCU students! You can sort through this directory by city, paid vs. unpaid, or type of communications industry.
- If you don't find anything of interest in the directory, you can also attempt to identify an opportunity on yoru own. Check online for local chapters of professional associations in your area of interest. (For example, you could look at the local area chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the American Advertising Association, etc.)
- Make an appointment with Dr. Pearson to discuss options.
Internships require a commitment of at least three months, so research each position carefully! You want to make sure that you are going to be happy at the job and learn as much about your chosen field as possible. Consider:
- The profession in which you would like to work
- Your schedule and availability
- Organizational culture (small or large, casual or formal, etc.)
Getting the Internship
If you have identified an internship (and a backup choice), contact Dr. Pearson to review the positions. Prepare for this meeting by learning everything you can about the organization. As a starting point, try to find the organization's website and review it thoroughly - you'll want to talk about what you know about the organization at the interview.
If you have not identified an internship, consult the department's Internship Directory and/or contact Dr. Pearson and he will provide you with suggestions.
On the day of the interview:
- Dress professionally.
- Arrive 15 minutes early.
- Ask questions.
- Be sure to discuss the specifics of the internship - what your responsibilities will be, who you will report to, what hours you will work. (Remember, hours are connected to credits - be sure that you will be able to get enough hours over the term to fulfill the requirements of the internship!
- Follow up the meeting with a thank-you note, emphasizing your interest in the opportunity.
NOTE: If you are discussing internships with multiple organizations, you should contact each organization as soon as you have agreed to an internship to let them know that you have accepted a position. When you have agreed to participate in an internship you have made a commitment to that organization. You can not accept another internship and reject one that you have already accepted. You will not be given credit for an internship in one organization if you already accepted an internship at another organization. It is ethical to discuss internships with multiple organizations and work to obtain the internship that best suits your needs, but as soon as you agree to an internship, you are making a commitment. Rejecting an internship that you have already agreed to in order to work at one that better suits your needs is not only unethical, it severely reduces the possibility that future WCU students will be able to get offers from the company you rejected.
Once you have secured the internship and had your Application Package approved by the Internship Director, you will be added to the COM400 course.
If you are applying for the SPRING or FALL SEMESTER, you will need to work for:
COM400-01 (three credits, a minimum of 120 hours of work)
COM400-02 (six credits, a minimum of 240 hours of work)
COM400-03 (nine credits, a minimum of 360 hours of work)
COM400-04 (twelve credits, a minimum of 480 hours of work)
If you are signing up for the SUMMER SEMESTER, you will need to work for:
First Summer Session
COM400-20 (three credits, a minimum of 120 hours of work)
COM400-21 (six credits, a minimum of 240 hours of work)
Second Summer Session
COM400-30 (three credits, a minimum of 120 hours of work)
COM400-31 (six creits, a minimum of 240 hours of work)
Summer Post Session
COM400-40 (three credits, a minimum of 120 hours of work)
COM400-41 (six credits, a minimum of 240 hours of work)
If you would like to sign up for more than six credits for the summer, you can register for both the first and second summer session. Contact Dr. Pearson at CommInterns@wcupa.edu for details.
If you sign up for Summer internship, you are not required to complete the hours for the course during the Summer session for which you enroll - you have the entire Summer, starting with the beginning of First Summer Session and ending with the last day of the Second Summer Session, to complete your hours.
The student will then follow the course requirements and grading information available here.