Information for Students

Internships are a great way for you to gain real-life work experience, explore different career paths, add skills to your resume, build your network of professional contacts, and create your professional brand. Many employers use internships to identify potential candidates for full-time jobs. With the help of the Department of Communication's Internship Program, you may also be able to earn academic credit for your internship.

The Department of Communication encourages and supports our undergraduates in making you aware of communication-related internship opportunities and assisting you throughout the process. Communication majors are in demand in both the private and public sectors. There are many fields in which communication majors can gain valuable experience. Examples include public relations, government, corporate communication, marketing, education, human resources, event planning, health care, social services, media, and more.

 

EARNING ACADEMIC CREDIT

It is possible for Communication majors to earn academic credit for your internship, but it must be pre-approved and only after you have secured your internship. Credit is based on the total number of hours spent in the internship per semester and for the type of work you will be doing. It is typical for a student to earn between 1 and 3 hours of credit per semester in the internship course, CMN 304. In total, students may earn up to 6 hours of credit for CMN 304 (for different internships). Credit is only awarded after the requirements of the internship have been met and cannot been awarded retroactively. Virtual or remote internships do notqualify for academic credit; they must be in-person, on-site arrangements, with a designated site supervisor. They should be legitimate internships with solid educational foundations and not merely part-time jobs or ambassadorships. International internships do not qualify.
 

PROCESS AND REQUIREMENTS

  1. To get started, you can ask general questions or make an appointment with the Internship Program Director by emailing comm-internships@illinois.edu. We regularly send information on potential internship opportunities to all Communication majors, but you are responsible for finding and securing your own internship.
  2. Upon being offered an internship position, you can then decide whether to earn academic credit or not. If you choose to apply for credit, then you will submit a Proposal for Credit with the details of the internship and your educational goals.
  3. If approved, our Director will notify you and specify the number of credit hours that can be earned and the requirements for academic credit. Course work via CMN 304 is completed concurrently with your internship. While the vast majority of interns work with the Internship Program Director as their faculty sponsor, you may also decide to work with another faculty member of your choice. The faculty member should know you well and be willing to sponsor you based on the work experience being in a field of study related to his/her own.
  4. At the end of the semester in which the credit is earned, you earn a grade based on the evaluation of the on-site internship supervisor and the satisfactory completion of academic assignments.

If you are contemplating accepting an unpaid internship, be aware of the criteria that must be met to satisfy the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for the services that students provide to "for-profit" private sector employers. Information is provided in this downloadable, PDF document.

 

RECOMMENDED PRIOR COURSE WORK

To enhance the internship experience, we recommend that students try to take at least one course in each of four areas prior to the internship:

  • Interpersonal/Small group Communication (CMN 113, 230, 413, 435)
  • Business Communication (CMN 211)
  • Organizational Communication (CMN 212, 411, 412, 496: Communication & Leadership)
  • A content area relevant to internship interests
 

CONTACT US

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at comm-internships@illinois.edu. The Director holds specific office hours or makes appointments.