Internship Program

Program Overview

The Communication Studies Internship Program (CSIP) allows undergraduate students to earn upper-division COMM credit (COMM 190 and/or COMM 198) and graduate students to earn M.A. level credit (COMM 291) by doing an internship or an internship project in an approved organization. 

For undergraduate COMM majors, the CSIP may be used to satisfy 1-2 units of the Communication Studies major Applied Activity requirement.

All internships and internship projects for COMM credit must be approved by the CSIP 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   

CSIP Application Process

Please email the CSIP Director once you have obtained an internship and would like to begin the application paperwork for this program. You should include the name of the organization you are interning with and a brief description of your internship duties in your email. The director will review your request and send you an application if your internship fits the program parameters outlined in our FAQ (see below).

Keep in mind that an off-campus internship with a non-SJSU organization requires the organization to register with the university and be listed on our SJS4 (also called S4) database. This is a two-step process and may take several weeks to complete. You may begin the registration process by having the non-SJSU organization complete a New Partner Proposal Form (NPPF) (Step 1) and the University Organization Agreement (UOA) which arrives to the organization via email after completing the NPPF (Step 2).

❗️Fall 2020 Application Deadline❗️

We are currently accepting and reviewing applications for the Fall 2020 CSIP program. The preliminary deadline for Fall 2020 CSIP applications was on April 28, 2020. All application paperwork must be completed and submitted to the CSIP coordinator in order to be considered for an add code for the Fall 2020 semester. Please note, you may be admitted with no more than 2 units if our program reaches capacity.

📍You may still submit your application materials if you missed the deadline. Applications received after the deadline will be accepted for Fall 2020 until all seats are filled. After that, all incoming applications will be applied towards Spring 2021 enrollment.

Please keep in mind, internship units follow the registration calendar (i.e., add/drop deadlines) as any other class.

CSIP Director

Dr. Jennifer Huynh Thi Anh Morrison

Have questions not covered in our FAQ? Please schedule a Zoom appointment or email me.


FAQ

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 opportunities for regular feedback by an on-site mentor. The big difference between an internship and a job is that an internship involves  teaching you the skills necessary to work in a specific industry. A job requires you to work independently after a brief initial training period.

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. 

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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.

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How do internships apply towards the COMM Applied Activity requirement?

All undergraduates majoring in COMM must complete 2 units Applied Activity work. 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 or writing consultant; taking COMM 157SL; working on the COMM Social Media Team; and participating in our summer COMMSA program to Berlin, Germany.

Since all of the 198 options except 157SL and COMMSA 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/writing consultant, or COMM social media team.

Of course, students may also complete the same activity for 2 units, completed over two semesters (i.e., 1 unit per semester). In the case of internship, you may completer more than one unit in a semester.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Where should I look for internship opportunities?

Start your search with the SJSU Handshake job database, maintained by the SJSU Career Center. You can also find potential internships posted on our social media sites by our Social Media team and on the SJS4 website under Opportunities.

See also the many resources for students listed on the SJSU Career Center website.

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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.

We do not give college credit for working at a job. In cases where students have a job (whether full-time or part-time) for which they'd like to earn internship units, they may apply to do what's called an Internship Project. Internship projects allow students to participate in our program and earn academic credit by creating and completing unique internship projects at your current place of employment that speak to the organization's needs and the skilled communication you have learned about as a Communication Studies major.

You are responsible in creating/designing your unique internship project and locating a mentor for this project. Your mentorship should occur each day you are working on this project. In addition, the project should be separate from your current job duties. I recommend you reach out to your organization and speak with your boss/manager/supervisor to see what types of unique projects you may complete in addition to your job duties and if they are willing to mentor you during your completion of the project. Please email the CSIP Director once you have designed an internship project and found someone from your job who has agreed to mentor you while you completed your internship project. You should include the name of your internship organization and a description of the internship project in your email.

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) database. You may begin this UOA process by having the non-SJSU organization complete a New Partner Proposal Form.

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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 CSIP application paperwork. Once you have an internship, immediately email the CSIP Director for the application paperwork.
  2. Keep in mind that an off-campus internship with a non-SJSU organization requires the organization to register with the university and be placed on in our SJS4 (also called S4) database. This is a two-step process and may take a several weeks to complete. You may begin the registration process by having the non-SJSU organization complete a New Partner Proposal Form (Step 1) and complete the University Organization Agreement (Step 2).

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, submitted, reviewed, and accepted.

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How can a non-SJSU organization register with the university and on the SJS4 website? Who may I contact to check on an organization's registration status?

The university requires off-campus non-SJSU organizations to register with the university and be placed on in our SJS4 (also called S4) database before a student can earn academic credit for for working a set number of hours of intership work. Registering on the SJS4 website is a two-step process and may take a several weeks to complete.

Step 1: An organization may begin the registration process by having the non-SJSU organization complete a n New Partner Proposal Form. The Center for Community Learning & Leadership (CCLL) will review the form.

Step 2: The CCLL will email the main contact person listed on the New Partner Proposal Form an University Organization Agreement (UOA). The UOA must be signed in order for a student to receive academic credit for their internship hours.

An organization that has successfully registered will be listed on the SJS4 website. You may visit the SJS4 website anytime to see if the organization is listed on the "Sites" page. You may contact the Center for Community Learning & Leadership (CCLL) directly to see the status of an organization's registration on the website. CCLL's contact information is listed on their website.

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How many units may I earn 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 maximum of internship work while attending SJSU. Graduate students can enroll in 1-4 units of COMM 291 (maximum of 4 units while attending SJSU). Please note that our program fills up quickly and you may be admitted with no more than 2 units if our program reaches capacity.

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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 can be taken as COMM 190.

In all other respects, when it comes to the CSIP the COMM 198 and COMM 190 courses are exactly the same.

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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 and submitted the required CSIP paperwork by the deadline outlined above AND
  3. the CSIP Director has reviewed and accepted the student's paperwork AND
  4. the non-SJSU internship organization has registered and is listed on the SJS4 website.

Please keep in mind, internship units follow the same registration calendar (i.e., add/drop deadlines) as any other class.

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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 by viewing the SJSU Career Center webpages for employers.

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 CSIP Director for the required application paperwork. Keep in mind that an off-campus internship with a non-SJSU organization requires the organization to register with the university and be placed on in our SJS4 (also called S4) database. This is a two-step process and may take several weeks to complete. You may begin the registration process by having the non-SJSU organization complete a New Partner Proposal Form (Step 1) and complete the University Organization Agreement (Step 2).

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I’ve got an internship and I've already worked a number of hours. Can I count those even though I haven't yet applied to get into the CSIP?

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.

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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.

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I did an internship in the past. Can I get COMM internship credit even though my internship is over?

No.

Retroactive COMM credit for past internships is not offered.

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

Yes.

You will enroll in an online course where you will complete internship assignments (i.e., logbook, internship report, etc.) while you complete your internship hours at your internship organization.

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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.

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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).

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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 internship assignments via Canvas by course deadlines.

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

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I have questions about the Communication Studies Internship Program that are not covered here?

No problem! Simply schedule a Zoom appointment with or email the CSIP Director your questions.

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