Internship Program

Contact

Director: Dr. Tabitha Hart

Email:  Tabitha.Hart@sjsu.edu

Office: HGH 216

Office hours: see the COMM Faculty directory page

Overview

The Communication Studies Internship Program allows students to earn upper-division COMM credit (COMM 190, COMM 198, or COMM 291) by doing an internship or an internship project in an approved organization. 

For undergraduate COMM majors, the Internship Program may be used to satisfy 1-2 units of the COMM Senior Applied Activity requirement.

All internships and internship projects for COMM credit must be approved by the Communication Studies Internship Director. 

Prerequisites

  • Communication Studies major or minor (undergraduate students) OR enrollment in the COMM MA program (graduate students)
  • COMM courses (past and/or concurrent) appropriate to the internship 

FAQs

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 with opportunties for regular feedback by an on-site mentor.

What are the benefits of doing an internship for academic credit?

There are many benefits to doing an internship for academic credit.

Internships for academic credit help students advance towards graduation by fulfilling coursework requirements in their major or minor area(s) of study.

Additionally, internships for academic credit complement other academic experiences, helping students gain deeper understandings of the communication theories, concepts, and skills that they are learning in their classes. 

On the practical side, 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. Internships give students practical work experience that they can use as they advance along their career paths.  

How do internships apply towards the COMM Applied Activity requirement?

All COMM majors must complete 2 units of COMM 198, Applied Activity in Communication. There are several different options for completing the COMM 198 requirement, with COMM Internships being just one option.

Other options include Forensics; working in the COMM Center as a coach, mentor, and/or 100W consultant; taking COMM 157SL; and/or working on the COMM Social Media Team.

Since all of the 198 options except 157SL are offered in 1-unit modules, students can potentially "mix and match" Applied Activities.  For example, a student could complete 1 unit as a COMM Internship and 1 unit as Forensics, COMM Center coach/mentor/100W consultant, or COMM social media team.

Of course, students may also do 2 units as just one of these activities.

Can graduate students do COMM internships for academic credit?

Yes.

The COMM Department offers COMM 291, a graduate-level internship course, for students in the COMM MA program.

What kinds of internships do COMM students do?

COMM students engage in a wide variety of both paid and/or unpaid internships.

COMM students do internships with for-profits, non-profits, schools, universities, government organizations, start-ups, multi-national and global organizations, and even other SJSU departments.

COMM interns do advertising, advising, broadcasting, fundraising, public relations, marketing, media campaigns, teaching, sales, strategic communications, and many other types of skilled communication work.

COMM interns have worked for Cisco, Greenpeace, Merrill Lynch, NBC News, the San Jose Business Journal, the San Jose Sharks, and SJSU Athletics, just to name a few.

What unites all COMM internships is that they involve skilled communication work, for which interns draw on and enhance their developing knowledge and skills as communication specialists.

I don’t have an internship, but I want one. What should I do?

The process of getting an internship is 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 weeks, if not months. For this reason, students should ideally begin the process at least one semester beforehand.

For tips and advice on finding internships, preparing resumes & cover letters, preparing for job interviews, and negotiating the terms of an internship, see the SJSU Career Center website.

Where should I look for internship opportunities?

Start your search with the SJSU Handshake job database, maintained by the SJSU Career Center. See below for some "teasers" of job openings currently listed in Handshake. Note that the positions listed below are presented as a courtesy to COMM students, and are not formally endorsed by the COMM Department.

You can also find open positions by joining COMM Central on Canvas as well as the SJSU COMM group on LinkedIn.

See also the many resources listed on the SJSU Career Center Jobs/Internships webpage.

SJSU Handshake

Current listings from the Handshake database

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I don't technically have an "internship" but I do have a job that requires me to do skilled communication work. Can I get internship units for it?

Potentially, yes.

In cases where students have a job (whether full-time or part-time) for which they'd like to earn internship units, then they can apply to do what's called a COMM Internship Project. Contact the Internship Director to discuss your situation and/or request the COMM Internship Project application form.

Note that if your job is off-campus with a non-SJSU organization, then that organization will be required to create a profile and sign the University Organization Agreement (UOA) in the SJS4 (also called S4) databaseContact the COMM Internship Director to get an instruction packet for the organization on how to do this.

I’ve got an internship, now how do I get COMM units for it?

Once you've got an internship, immediately email the COMM Internship Director and ask for the required paperwork:

  1. All internships for COMM credit require the student to complete the COMM Internship Learning Plan & Participation Guidelines. Once you have an internship, immediately email the COMM Internship Director to get a copy of this form.
  2. If you are doing an off-campus internship with a non-SJSU organization, then that organization is required to sign the University Organization Agreement (UOA) within the SJS4 (also called S4) databaseOnce you have an internship, immediately email the COMM Internship Director to get an instruction packet for the organization on how to do this.

In order to enroll in COMM 198, 190, or 291 and thereby receive academic credit for the internship, all of the required paperwork listed above must be completed, submittted, reviewed and accepted.

How many units can I get for my internship?

Each 1 unit of COMM credit (COMM 198, COMM 190, COMM 291) equals 50 hours of internship work.

1 unit = 50 hours

2 units = 100 hours

3 units = 150 hours

4 units = 200 hours

5 units = 250 hours

6 units = 300 hours

7 units = 350 hours

8 units = 400 hours

Undergraduate students can enroll in 1-2 units of COMM 198, and/or 1-6 units of COMM 190. In other words, undergraduates can do up to 8 units of internship work.

Graduate students can enroll in 1-4 units of COMM 291.

What is the difference between COMM 198 and COMM 190?

COMM 198 "maxes out" at 2 units, whether those units are done as internships, Forensics, COMM Center, COMM social media team, or a combination of these.

When a student has maxed out on COMM 198 but still wants to do additional units as an internship, then these additional units count as COMM 190.

In all other respects, when it comes to the COMM Internship Program then COMM 198 and COMM 190 are exactly the same.

I'm registering for classes now and I would like an add code for COMM 198/190/291. Can I have one, please?

Students can only receive add codes for CSIP (whether COMM 198, 190, or 291) when:

  1. the student already has an internship (or a position through which they can do an internship project) AND 
  2. the student has completed the required COMM Internship Program paperwork AND
  3. the student has scanned their completed paperwork and emailed it to the COMM Internship Director AND
  4. the COMM Internship Director has reviewed and accepted the student's paperwork.

If you have an internship and would like to initiate the required paperwork to count your internship for COMM credit, then immediately email the COMM Internship Program Director for assistance.

I’ve got an internship and the organization requires me to receive college credit for it. What should I do?

Organizations cannot require a student to get credit for an internship. Only faculty in the relevant academic department can determine whether or not an internship merits academic credit. 

Some organizations mistakenly believe that if a student is receiving academic credit for the internship then they don't need to be paid. This is not the case. Learn more about this important issue at the SJSU Career Center Academic Credit and Compensation webpage.

Within the COMM Department, the CSIP Director reviews students' internship paperwork and determines whether or not the internship can count for COMM credit. 

To receive COMM credit for your internship, contact the COMM Internship Director for the required paperwork (Learning Plan & Participation Guidelines and, for off campus internships, the S4 registration instructions). Then, complete and submit this paperwork to the COMM Internship Director for review.

I’ve got an internship and I've already worked a number of hours. Can I count those?

No.

Students can only start counting internship hours for COMM credit after the required paperwork has been submitted, reviewed, and accepted.

COMM internship hours cannot be counted retroactively.

Can I enroll in my internship units during the Summer or Winter semesters?

No.  

The internship courses (COMM 190, 198, 291) are only offered during the Fall and Spring semesters.  However, you can still do an approved internship over the Summer or Winter semester.  

You'll follow the normal steps of getting your internship approved.

Then, once your internship has been approved, you'll be greenlighted to start counting your hours. You'll also be able to start all of the internship assignments. All of this work will be "banked" for the very next Fall or Spring semester, at which time you'll be officially enrolled in the units.

I did an internship in the past. Can I get COMM credit for it even though it’s over?

No.

Retroactive COMM credit for past internships is not offered.

Once I’m enrolled in my COMM internship units will I have to attend a class?

No.

There are no formal class sessions associated with the COMM internship units. Instead, you'll be doing your internship hours at your internship organization.

Once I’m enrolled in my COMM internship units will I have to do any assignments?

Yes.

As with any other academic class, the COMM Internship Program requires you to complete regular assignments for your units.

The COMM internship assignments include a weekly logbook documenting your hours and activities, entry and exit surveys, a final report, an e-portfolio, and a LinkedIn profile update. 

All of these assignments will be completed electronically and submitted via Canvas.

How are the COMM Internship program units graded?

All COMM Internship program units (COMM 198, 190, 291) are graded as CR (credit) or NC (no credit).

What do I have to do to pass my internship units with a grade of CR (credit)?

To receive a grade of CR (credit) you must:

  1. Complete the total number of hours you signed up for; for example, 1 unit = 50 hours, 2 units = 100 hours, 3 units = 150 hours, and so on. 
  2. Complete and submit all of the intership assignments via Canvas.

Students who do not complete their internship hours will be issued a grade of NC (no credit).

I have questions about the internship program that are not covered here.

No problem! Simply email the Internship Director and/or drop by office hours at your earliest convenience, no appointment needed.