Internship Program

Director: Dr. Tabitha Hart

Office: HGH 216

Phone: 408-924-5510



The Communication Studies Internship Program (CSIP) allows students to earn upper-division credit by working a contracted number of hours in an approved organization.  Students may earn 1 credit for every 50 hours of internship 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.

This program may be used to satisfy one to two units of the Senior Applied Activity (COMM 198) requirement.


  • Communication Studies major or minor
  • COMM courses appropriate to the internship (coursework 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 undergraduate COMM majors?

All COMM majors must complete 2 units of COMM 198, Applied Activity in Communication. There are a number of different options for completing the COMM 198 requirement, with COMM Internships being one option. (Other options include Forensics, working in the COMM Center, and taking COMM 157SL.)

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.

Can graduate students do COMM internships for academic credit?

Yes. The COMM Department offers COMM 291, a graduate-level internship course, for our graduate students.

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, government 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, SJSU Athletics and Target, just to name a few.

What unites all of the 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 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 find and 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, 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 equivalent to 50 hours of approved internship work.

Undergraduate interns can enroll in 1-2 units of COMM 198, and/or 1-6 units of COMM 190 per semester. The total allowable internship units per semester for undergraduates is eight, which is equivalent to 400 hours of internship work.

Graduate students can enroll in 1-4 units per semester of COMM 291, our graduate level COMM internship course. The same formula of 1 unit per 50 hours of approved internship work applies.

I’ve got an internship! Now can I get some units for it?

First you’ll need to make sure that your internship qualifies. 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.

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

The decision of whether or not an internship merits academic rests solely with academic departments. Within the COMM Department, the CSIP Director reviews students' applications and determines whether or not the internship can count for COMM credit. 

To receive COMM credit for your internship, you'll need to submit the required paperwork and get accepted into the CSIP program. 

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.

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

No, unfortunately not. Students can only start counting internship hours for academic credit after they have successfully submitted their CSIP paperwork and have been accepted into the CSIP program. Hours cannot be counted retroactively.

I'd like to enroll. Can I have an add code?

You cannot have an add code until you have successfully completed the CSIP application. Add codes are issued only after applications have been formally approved.

To get your internship formally approved, contact the Internship Director. After successfully submitting the completed application, you’ll receive instructions on getting an add code.

What is the required CSIP paperwork?

All students who want to participate in CSIP must complete the CSIP Learning Plan (LP) and Participation Guidelines (PG).

If the internship is with a non-SJSU organization, then that organization will need to sign a University-Organization Agreement (UOA) with SJSU.

The CSIP director can give you these forms and detailed instructions on how to complete them.

Can I enroll in the internship units for Summer/Winter?

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 by the Internship Director. As you do the internship you'll regularly complete and submit all of the assignments. Then, in the very next Fall or Spring semester, you will be officially enrolled.

I already did an internship. Can I get credit for it even though it’s over?

No. 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 some internship units?

Generally speaking students cannot use their 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 internship 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, a report, surveys, 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, according to the stated deadlines.

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.