Internships: Credit, Arranging Placement, and Assignments

Obtaining and using internship credit


Eligible students may enroll for one 3-credit section of COM 3945, Communication Internship, to apply to the major course sequence. It may be used for credit either under Performance/Production or under Communication Elective Credit. Eligible students who wish to enroll for a section during another semester may do so, but the credit must apply to Free Elective Credit outside the courses required for the major, but still within the total number of credits required for the B.A. degree.

Students may obtain only one placement per semester. Furthermore, the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies considers 15 credits of academic coursework, including the 3-credit internship, to represent a substantial semester load. Requests from students taking internship credit to exceed this 15 credit limit must be approved by the internship course instructor.

Arranging internships at a current place of employment


Internships are intended to be learning experiences. They are also intended to involve the student in a complete job search process. Therefore, internship credit is not ordinarily given for current or past employment activities. Furthermore, internship credit is not given retroactively for previous internships that the student may have completed. There may be situations, however, where a student may wish to intern at an agency where he/ she is employed in another capacity. This may be done according to the following guidelines: 1) the student obtains an internship in a department completely separate from the area where he/she is currently employed; 2) the intern's immediate supervisor is different from his/her current supervisor; and 3) the intern's supervisor writes a letter to the internship director verifying that the student's internship responsibilities are completely separate from the student's normally assigned duties at the agency; and 4) no more than 3 credits of internship credit may be earned.

Paid/unpaid internships


The internship course objective is to provide a learning experience for academic credit. Some internships additionally provide pay or offer a stipend, though others might not. The course accommodates both paid and unpaid internships, however it is up to the student to determine if a course-credit-only internship meets their needs.  

Student-arranged internships


Students who have not already landed an internship will be steered to opportunities identified by the Communication School or the Career Center. They will have to apply for those positions on their own. A student also can arrange an internship not on FAU’s list if that arrangement can be finalized the semester prior to enrollment to give the internship director sufficient time to assess the quality of the placement.  All internships should be arranged within the South Florida area, unless the agreed-upon work can be done entirely online. Exceptions can be considered and granted on a case-by-case basis. Students may NOT arrange internships at family-owned agencies.

Upon arranging the internship position, the student should have the agency's internship director or work supervisor complete and sign the Learning Agreement form and submit it immediately to the COM 3945 instructor, and the Employer/Agency Registration  form if it is the first time the employer/agency is offering an internship to Communication students.

Assignments


Because students do receive academic credit for internships, the following student assignments are part of the course and count toward grading:

  1. The Learning Agreement, which will stipulate work hours (from 14 to 16 per week) and internship responsibilities/duties. This provides a structure for the internship and represents a contract between the student and his/her work supervisor. The student and supervisor must establish specific objectives to be accomplished during the internship and adhere to them as closely as possible. Agencies are also asked to provide criteria for evaluating the intern's performance. If the internship director finds the quality of the internship to be lacking, he/she has the right to renegotiate the learning activities or reject the internship and associated credits.
  2. Two internship evaluations, one at midterm and the second near the end of the semester.
  3. Two short essays (journal entries) reflecting on the internship experience.    
  4. A final project due when 75 percent of the semester is completed. The project is determined in consultation with the internship director, who must approve the choice. The options are:
  5. Portfolio: The student must assemble a portfolio containing samples of work completed during the internship. There should be a table of contents page showing how the materials are arranged and an introductory overview statement describing the contents of the portfolio. The portfolio could include: articles written or edited; correspondence written or edited; press releases written or edited; scripts written or edited; descriptions of interviewing assignments conducted; descriptions of research assignments conducted; descriptions of any other relevant activities that constituted a source of learning.
  6. Other project:  This option can be tailored to meet the needs of a student intern and placement agency when necessary. It could be utilized in cases where an entire internship is geared toward the production of one very specific product, such as when a student was involved in a complete production of a newsletter, a magazine, or a videotape. He/she could submit the publication for his/her final project.

All internship “assignments” must be completed by the course syllabus due dates.