Information for Employers

Welcome to the Department of Communication Internship Program.

Communication majors are trained in contemporary communication challenges and how to apply their knowledge to a variety of practical situations. They bring with them the latest ideas and practices in communication and can energize a workplace with their enthusiasm and desire to learn. In return, they receive an invaluable opportunity to learn about the work world, a particular industry, or discipline.

Offering Value to Your Business

Interns benefit your business in many ways:

  • Cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential permanent employees without a long-term commitment
  • Flexible addition to your work force (full- or part-time, paid or unpaid, three to six months during the fall, spring, or summer)
  • Opportunity to allow current employees to pursue special assignments or to obtain experience by supervising an intern
  • Means of fulfilling corporate social responsibility goals while at the same time potentially yielding significant gains for the bottom-line with creative and skilled young workers

Our Support

The Communication Internship Program is committed to your satisfaction and the student's positive experience. We will assist you by:

  • Helping you create internship descriptions to meet your needs
  • Publicizing your internship positions to Communication students
  • Maintaining contact with you throughout the experience to answer questions

Eligibility & Requirements

If you would like to know if your internship opportunity meets the requirements of the US Department of Labor and the Department of Communication, please read the Eligibility and Requirements document.

 

FAQs

 

How is an internship different from volunteer work, a short-term job, or community service?

  • An internship must be structured as an intentional learning opportunity. The student sets educational and professional objectives and receives evaluation from the supervisor based on mutually-determined goals. Students may receive academic credit for their time in the internship.

  Who must supervise the student?

  • An experienced member of your organization must be assigned to supervise, teach, lead, and coach the student intern. A site supervisor cannot be another student (undergraduate or graduate) or someone who is not an integral part of the day-to-day functioning of your organization. Additionally, a parent or other member of the immediate family cannot act as a direct supervisor or assign a final grade.

How do I get started?

  • As the Employer, one of the first steps is to set up a clear job description of what you would like the intern to do.  Duties should include pre-professional activities similar to those of one who is newly hired in the field; and allow for an opportunity to learn about the organization’s structure, practices, and goals.  Also include any skills that may be required, number of hours/week, whether the internship is paid or unpaid, any other requirements (GPA, year in school, etc.). Once you have a job description, please forward it to us and we will advertise it to our students. If you don’t know where to begin, the Internship Program Director can help.

What are some examples of communication intern duties?

  • Communication majors are among the most capable and talented generalists and can apply a wide range of skills in the marketplace.  Some examples of potential work assignments are:
    • Conduct market or other research
    • Write, proof, and edit communication projects
    • Support team meetings, conferences, and other group work
    • Prepare and present reports
    • Organize and promote events
    • Develop marketing and/or public relations materials
    • Participate in and contribute to program planning
    • Design and maintain websites
    • Create and manage social media
    • Develop communication strategies
    • Assist with HR and other employee communications
    • Create training materials
    • Support internal organizational change management efforts
    • Measure communication outcomes
    • And much more!

Are internships paid?

  • Not all internships are paid. Those that are paid attract a larger pool of qualified candidates.  Many students want a learning experience during the Fall and Spring semesters and are willing to work without pay. In the Summer semester, students often need income to support cost-of-living expenses, particularly if they have to move to another location for the internship or to save for the upcoming school year. The Department of Communication ensures that internships abide by the U.S. Department of Labor’s criteria for unpaid internships.

Do students receive credit?

  • It is optional but strongly encouraged. Students can arrange to receive academic credit for their internship through the Internship Program.  For any legitimate work experience that has a learning component that is applicable to the field of communication, students may submit a proposal describing the work and apply for credit.  The Internship Director determines the amount of credit. Academic credit is only awarded after the requirements of the internship have been met and the on-site supervisor has completed evaluations of the intern's work performance (forms will be provided).  Credit cannot be given retroactively for work completed that was not approved of in advance.

Who is eligible to receive internship credit?

  • Our program is for Communication majors only. Sometimes an employer needs to know in advance if a student qualifies for credit before offering a position.  If this is the case, please contact the Internship Director who will provide a letter stating the student’s eligibility.

What do academic assignments look like?

  • Students who receive credit are required to complete a variety of assignments.  Some examples include:  (a) regular journal entries; (b) a portfolio of work samples completed; (c) papers; (d) professional development, such as informational interviews; and (e) a thorough report on the internship organization. NOTE: If the student will be working with proprietary content that should not be included in their materials, please inform the student of this.

How do I evaluate an intern?

  • One of the most critical contributions from the employer is the evaluation that the on-site job supervisor completes on the student intern at midterm and at the end of his or her internship. The Internship Program provides the evaluation forms. Since the internship is a work assignment, a student’s grade is largely determined by how the student performs in the workplace; that's why the evaluation process is critical. The supervisor's contact information is also required on the form, in case there are questions from the faculty member regarding the evaluation.

Is there a contract involved?

  • No. However, at the start of the internship, you and the intern must meet to complete a Learning Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that details the basic requirements and student’s educational goals

What if I still have questions?  

  • Please request the Internship Eligibility & Policies document from the Internship Program. Please do not hesitate to contact the Internship Director with any questions you may have:

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Internship Program Director at comm-internships@illinois.edu.