Overview: Students majoring in communication (COM), communication, media, and culture (CMC), advertising and public relations (AD/PR), and journalism (JOU) can take internships for credit by registering for COM 354: Internship in Communication. This guide explains the process.

Credits and Requirements: To complete an internship for credit, you must have junior or senior standing (at least 60 hours completed at time of registration) and a minimum 3.0 GPA. You must work 40 hours per semester per academic credit hour. Over the course of a 14-week semester, this works out to approximately 1 credit = 3 hrs/week, 2 credits = 6 hrs/week, 3 credits = 9 hrs/week, and 4 credits = 12 hrs/week. For a 7-week term, those hours would be doubled (1 credit = 6 hrs/week etc). Please note that these are minimum hourly requirements. Thus, students may opt to register for 2 credits even if they plan to work more than 6 hours per week. 

Terms and Registration Deadlines: Students can take COM 354 as either a 14-week, 1st 7-week, or 2nd 7-week class during the fall and spring semesters. They can also take COM 354 over Summer Session I (1st 6-week), Summer Session II (2nd 6-week), or Summer Session III (12-week). The registration deadlines vary: within the first three weeks of the semester for fall and spring 14-week classes, within the first week of the term for 1st 7-week, 2nd 7-week, and Summer Session III classes, and within the first three days of the term for Summer Session I and II. Once you submit your Internship Agreement Form by following the process laid out below, the registration process typically takes two to three days. But please be aware that it is your responsibility to confirm that the internship actually shows up on your schedule; if you don’t see COM 354, you will not get credit for it. Also note that you will be charged summer tuition rates for internships taken over the summer.

Major Restrictions: COM 354 cannot be used to fulfill any 300-or-above level requirements (regardless of what it might say in your catalogue). Majors in communication (COM), communication, media, and culture (CMC), and advertising and public relations (ADPR general and public relations concentrations), can count up to 4 credit hours of COM 354 towards their major and any additional internship credits toward general electives. ADPR creative concentration majors can only count COM 354 towards general education electives. JOU majors can take COM 354 for a maximum of 8 credit hours, 4 of which may count toward their major.

Grading and Assignments: Remember that taking an internship for credit is like taking a class. The only difference is that most of the work takes place off-campus, and the grading is pass/fail ("satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory"). In other words, yes, you can fail an internship. Your grade will be based on: 1) in-person meetings (10%): 2) your attendance at (and one page reflection about) a Career Services event, appointment, or drop-in (10%); 3) your midterm report (20%); 4) your final report (30%); and 5) your internship site supervisor’s evaluation (30%). Both reports should include a title page with your name, academic semester, and the name and address of the company, along with the name and contact information of your host site manager. The report should be typed, double-spaced, numbered and have been carefully edited for spelling, grammar, syntax, etc. Email your reports to cboulton@ut.edu. Final percentages of 60% or higher earn a “satisfactory” grade while final percentages of 59% or lower will earn an “unsatisfactory” grade. If I do not receive either your final report or your site supervisor’s evaluation by the last day of classes of the term in which your internship takes place, you will automatically receive a grade of “unsatisfactory. Should you wish to request an extension or "incomplete," it is up to you to propose an alternative arrangement before the last day or your internship's term.

Fair Labor Standards for Unpaid Internships: Like an apprenticeship, an unpaid internship should be an educational experience that benefits the intern more than the host site. This is why the United States Department of Labor requires host sites to assign unpaid interns a range of interesting and challenging tasks, teach them transferable skills that can be applied in other contexts, and provide them with oversight and feedback based on helping students to establish and achieve their learning objectives. If this is not taking place at your internship, please contact Christopher Boulton, the faculty internship coordinator for the Department of Communication. Your host site may need to either pay you for your work or increase the educational value of the experience. 

WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR INTERNSHIP: 

1. Find an Internship: To find an internship, start by reading over Career Services' very helpful Student Internship Guide. Then, if you haven't already, set up an account in Handshake and search for available internships related to your major. You might also use your personal/professional network of contacts to approach a potential internship site on your own. When applying, do your best to customize both your cover letter and CV to emphasize which aspects of your own experience, talents and goals align with the specific duties of the internship. Once you are hired for an internship, proceed to the next step.

2. Request Academic Credit: Sign into your Handshake account. Go to the “Career Center” tab on the top right of your profile, use the drop down menu to select “Experiences,” then “Request an Experience” and fill out "Details" of your internship making sure to select “Communication Internships” for your course. Finally, click "Submit Experience." You will receive an email when your request for internship credit has been approved. If you are an international student, be sure to make an appointment with Molly Butters in Career Services to get an “international student checklist” that will help you fill out your CPT paperwork correctly: mbutters@ut.edu or (813)-257-5498. If you have any other questions, you can always schedule an appointment.

3. Communication Internship Intake Form: This form on Handshake will help keep everyone (including you, me, and your internship site supervisor) on the same page about the educational aspects (such as learning objectives and evaluation methods) of your internship. If the internship host site has any questions about this, please refer them to Career Services' Employer Internship Guide.

4. UT Internship Agreement: Once you have been hired for the internship and it has been approved for credit, Molly Butters will send you an Internship Agreement form. First, download and save the file to your own computer by using your last name (ie: BOULTON.pdf). Then enter all your information into the empty cells of the PDF (note: Course Prefix and Number is COM 354). Please note that whatever you write down as your "Internship Title" is what will appear on your college transcript. Once the form is complete, save it again and email the PDF file to cboulton@ut.edu, so I can sign it and send it along to my department chair and then the Registrar for processing. Your internship should then show up as part of your class schedule on your SpartanWeb account within a few days. Note: You must have space in your schedule in order for the registration to go through. If you already have 16 credits, you might consider a 2 credit internship so you don't have to petition for an overload (more than 18 credits).

WHAT TO DO DURING YOUR INTERNSHIP: 

5. Get Started: As part of this course, you will need to attend one orientation session either in-person (for local internships) or virtually (for remote internships) orientation. I will offer multiple sessions and will post the times and sign-up lists on Blackboard. On the first day of your internship, find out who will be supervising or managing you, then request a time to sit down with them to establish your weekly work schedule and a set of specific learning objectives that you hope to accomplish over the course of the internship. Finally, do your best to set up a reliable mechanism of evaluation, preferably in the form of regular feedback from your internship site supervisor. This is important, because in order to accomplish your learning objectives you will need a continuing process of on-site evaluation. I would also strongly recommend that you keep an ongoing journal throughout your internship, so you will have plenty of material at-the-ready when it comes time to write your midterm and final reports.

6. Be Professional: An internship is an exercise in pre-professional training. Therefore, you should plan to always be on time and strive to be a reliable, dedicated, and ethical colleague. Maintain a positive attitude and willingness to learn while completing all of your tasks and responsabilities to the best of your ability.  Remember, you are not just representing yourself; you are also representing UT. If any problems arise, contact me right away. I am on your side and will work to help you resolve any issues or, should the need arise, reassign you to a more healthy, productive, and professional work environment.

7. Midterm Report: Halfway through your internship (I will send out a reminder) you will need to email me a 1-2 page midterm report of your internship experience thus far. This report should provide specific examples and address the following five areas:

    • the company’s founding, mission statement, product, clients/customers, and number of employees and departments;
    • your internship duties/responsibilities, the kinds of projects you are working on and people you are working with;
    • any skills or insights gained relevant to your learning objectives and major and/or career goals;
    • problems or challenges you’ve had and what you’ve done to solve them; and
    • the amount and quality of supervision, feedback and evaluation you are getting from your site supervisor.

    8. Career Services: At least two weeks before the end of your internship, you must attend either a Career Services event of your choice, appointment or drop-in session. For example, should you choose to schedule an appointment or drop-in, you could choose to request for whichever of the following topics is most relevant to your individual needs: resume/cover letter, career exploration, internships, job search strategies, leveraging LinkedIN, or interviewing assistance. To complete this assignment, turn in a two-page, double-spaced reflection paper that summarizes the information gleaned from the Career Services event, appointment or drop-in session and describes, in detail, what future steps you plan to take based on what you learned.

    9. Final Report: At the end of your internship or during the last week of the semester (whichever comes first), you will need to write up and email me a two to three page reflection on your experience that provides an overall evaluation of your host site as well as a demonstration of what you learned using specific examples. In your remarks, be sure to answer the following 10 questions: 

    • What were your major accomplishments in terms of projects completed and/or goals reached? 
    • Which of your learning objectives did you achieve and how? 
    • What were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them? 
    • Which aspects of your academic preparation (particular classes, professors, student organizations, etc.) were most helpful during your internship?
    • How might the Department of Communication better prepare students to be successful interns?
    • What did your host site teach you (equipment/software, teamwork, specialized vocabulary, etc.) that you didn’t already know? 
    • What are the most valuable lessons that you will take away from this internship? 
    • How has this internship helped prepare you to enter the work world? 
    • Would you recommend your internship site to other UT students? Why or why not? And, finally, 
    • Do you think this particular internship or UT’s Department of Communication Internship Program in general could be improved for next time? If so, what changes would you recommend?

    10. Site Supervisor Evaluation: Towards the end of your internship, I will send your internship site supervisor an evaluation form. Please remind them to complete it and send it to me before the end of the semester, so you can earn academic credit for your internship experience. The evaluation contains the following questions: 

    • How many total hours did the intern work?
    • What were the intern’s major accomplishments in terms of projects completed and/or goals reached? 
    • Which of their learning objectives were achieved and how? 
    • What were the biggest challenges the intern faced, and how did the intern overcome them? 
    • What did you teach the intern (equipment/software, teamwork, specialized vocabulary, etc.) that intern didn't already know? 
    • How might The University of Tampa better prepare our students to be successful interns?