Director: Dr. Tabitha Hart
Office: HGH 216
The Communication Studies Internship Program (CSIP) allows students to earn upper-division elective credit by working a contracted number of hours in an organization. Students may earn 1 credit for every 50 hours of onsite work. Internship projects must provide an opportunity for the student to apply the communication skills and theory learned in the classroom to a formal work setting, and must be approved by the Internship Director. Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to provide theoretically informed evaluations of organizational communication practices, and to communicate more effectively in organizational settings. Additionally, students will have gained practical work experience.
- Communication Studies major or minor
- COMM courses appropriate to the internship (course may be taken concurrently with the internship)
Below you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about the Communication Studies Internship Program (CSIP).
What is an internship?
An internship is an activity that formally integrates academic study with practical experience in a cooperating organization. The internship may be paid or unpaid, on- or off-campus, part-time or full-time. Internships can be in business, non-profit, government, or other settings relevant to the student’s academic pursuits. In any case, internships should involve closely monitored and structured work that complements the student's academic experience.
What are the benefits of doing an internship?
There are many benefits to doing an internship. Internships give students a chance to experience a real working environment, apply their communication knowledge, learn new skills, engage in professional networking, and test out a career path.
How do internships apply towards the Applied Activity requirement for COMM majors?
All COMM majors must complete 2 units of COMM 198, Applied Activity in Communication. There are currently 6 different options for completing the COMM 198 requirement, with COMM Internships being one of those options.
Since many of the 198 options are offered in 1-unit modules, students can potentially "mix and match" their Applied Activities. For example, you could complete 1 unit towards a COMM Internship and 1 unit towards something else (COMM Center coach, Forensics, etc.)
Of course, you can also do 2 units towards just one activity.
What kinds of internships do COMM students do?
COMM students engage in a wide variety of paid and unpaid internships. They work with for-profits, non-profits, schools, universities, and government organizations. Some work with other SJSU departments. Our interns do advertising, advising, fundraising, public relations, marketing, media campaigns, teaching, sales, strategic communications, and many other types of skilled communication work. Some of the organizations that our students have worked for are Cisco, Greenpeace, Merrill Lynch, NBC News, the San Jose Business Journal, the San Jose Sharks, SJSU Athletics and Target, just to name a few.
I don’t have an internship, but I want one. What should I do?
The process of getting an internship is very similar to searching for and securing a job. Most students begin by simply looking through internship openings. Occasionally students will begin by approaching particular organizations that they want to work for, and inquire about the possibility of designing an internship or project there. Regardless of the approach, the process of searching for internships, applying, interviewing, and getting an offer will likely take several weeks, if not months. We recommend that you browse the SJSU Career Center webpages on how to prepare for an internship.
Where should I look for internship opportunities?
We recommend starting with these excellent sources: the SJSU SpartaJobs database, maintained by the SJSU Career Center, and Internbound.com, where you can find a variety of local internships, many of them paid.
Join COMM Central on Canvas for more internship opportunities, as well as the SJSU COMM group on LinkedIn.
You should also chat with people within your network, including the Internship Director, and let them know what you are looking for, just in case they know of any opportunities in your chosen field.
How many units can I get for my internship?
One unit is given for each 50 hours of internship work. Students who wish to earn two units therefore commit to working 100 hours over the semester.
I’ve got an internship! Now can I get some units for it?
First you’ll need to make sure that your internship qualifies as skilled communication work. Contact the COMM Internship Director directly. Be prepared to describe what you’ll be doing on the internship, and how it relates to (and builds on) what you are learning in your COMM classes.
To ensure a smooth application process, it's a good idea to check in with the Internship Director before you initiate your search.
Can I have an add code for my 190/198 internship units?
Add codes are only issued to students AFTER their internships have been formally approved.
To get your internship formally approved, contact the Internship Director. Be prepared to describe your internship, and how it relates to (and builds on) what you are learning in your COMM classes. Once the Internship Director gives you informal approval, you must complete the official CSIP contract and get it signed by your supervisor at the organization. After submitting the completed CSIP contract to the Internship Director, you’ll fill out a form to get your add code.
I did an internship last summer/fall/spring. Can I get credit for it even though it’s over?
Unfortunately we cannot retroactively offer credit for past internships.
I currently have a job that requires me to do skilled communication work. Can I get internship units for this?
Generally speaking students cannot simply use their current jobs for CSIP units. Students may, however, propose a new project for completion at their current place of employment, as long as it goes beyond their ordinary work responsibilities and clearly involves them developing their communication knowledge and/or skills.
Please contact the Internship Director to discuss your situation.
I’ve got my internship, and I’m enrolled in my COMM 190/198 CSIP units. Now what?
As with any other class, you’ll be doing assignments throughout the semester for your internship units. To receive academic credit for your internship you must satisfactorily complete these assignments. Note that you'll do these assignments in addition to the work you do on your internship.
What are the CSIP assignments?
The internship assignments include a weekly logbook, an e-Portfolio, an updated resume, an exit survey, and other written work. Each of these assignments, all of which are designed to be very practical, will be graded credit/no credit.
The Internship Director will give you more information about assignments and deadlines once your internship begins.
What do I have to do to pass my internship units?
The most important step towards receiving a passing grade for your internship units is to complete the number of hours you've contracted for. If you signed up for 1 unit, you must complete 50 hours of approved internship work. If you signed up for 2 units, you must complete 100 hours of approved internship work, and so on.
If you do not complete your contracted number of hours, you will not pass the units and you won't receive academic credit for your internship.
In addition to completing your hours, you must also complete and submit the CSIP assignments in a timely manner. Logbooks are due weekly. Other assignments are due once you complete your hours.
I completed my internship. Is there anything else I need to do?
Please help us spread the word about CSIP, and let us know if you’d like to recommend your organization to future internship students.