Overview of Internships for Communication, Media, and Performance
Internships are a great way to expand your educational experiences in your chosen field of study. They build valuable résumé content and help you determine what you may (or may not) want to do in your professional life. The job market for recent college graduates is typically rather competitive and research has shown that students with one or more internships find jobs sooner and start at higher salaries than those who never undertook an internship.
These opportunities enhance a student’s understanding of the work-a-day-world in ways that pure classroom learning cannot fully address. They provide professional work experience and, often, allow you to generate a portfolio of proven productivity that you may then present to prospective employers. Additionally, internship service can help build your self-confidence, “soft skills” (like interpersonal communication), and networking possibilities.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS >>>
Question: Is “Internship” an actual class that I take?
Answer: YES. The Department of Communication, Media, and Performance offers COMM495 Internship in Communication, Media, and Performance during the Fall and Spring semesters, and also across the Summer course sessions. A student MUST be a Communication Arts Major, have earned Junior status in course credits, and have completed COMM250 Media/Society/Self as a prerequisite course in order to register for COMM495 Internship in Communication, Media, and Performance.
Question: Am I required to take COMM495 Internship?
Answer #1: If you entered the degree program during the 2020 – 2021 Academic Year (or later), then you are not REQUIRED to complete an Internship. All majors need to take at least four 300 or 400-level courses to complete the degree program, so it is very likely (and highly encouraged) that students complete at least one instance of COMM495 Internship in Communication, Media, and Performance. In recent history, about 60% of our majors have done so even when not required.
Answer #2: If you entered the Communication Arts department during the 2019 – 2020 Academic year (or earlier) and your concentration is either Organizational & Corporate (UCMC) or Integrated Visual Media (UCMI), then, YES, you MUST take at least one instance of COMM495 Internship in Communication, Media, and Performance. Please note: While not required, Communication Studies (UCMG) students can use Internship to fulfill a production requirement. We encourage everyone to consider doing one or more internships at some point(s) during their Junior and Senior years.
Question: What is the process? How do I get started on the path to an Internship?
Answer: Although not an overly complicated process, there are several steps that do need to be followed –
- Be a Communication Arts Major
- Have Junior standing in credits earned (16+ from FSU and/or Transfer Credits)
- Have successfully completed COMM250 Media/Society/Self
- You are responsible for finding and securing your own Internship, but there are resources on campus that offer some assistance. You are encouraged to visit the Career Services office [located 4th floor McCarthy Center; email@example.com] . Their team can critique your résumé and provide historical / current internship locations where Communication Arts students have served. Once you are registered with Career Services, you can receive e-mails telling you of internship opportunities. You will also have access to their website and other resources to search for internships as well as information on things like cover letters, how to interview, and dressing for success.
- Work with your departmental academic advisor (who will be considered the “Instructor” for your COMM 495 course section) to determine an appropriate Internship site. You will need to find your own Internship, but faculty can offer you advice or possibly suggest sites to explore. Your FSU academic advisor will eventually serve as your “school-side” mentor and internship course coordinator throughout the semester of commitment.
- Once you have chosen your site, you need to fill out an application (known as the Internship Contract – PDF file found on this page via the link). The two-page document has areas to be completed by you (the student) and by the Internship Supervisor at the site you have chosen. The specific details of what tasks you will be doing and when you will be doing them should be fully discussed, agreed upon, and written down on the contract. [NOTE: Most students leave two days free in their schedule to fit in the hours required. (140 hours for a 1 credit Internship; 280 for a 2 credit Internship.) Students usually work 10-12 hours per week.] Once you and the Supervisor have both signed the form, you then bring that form to your FSU Academic Advisor / Internship course coordinator for review & approval and they sign the form as well.
- The completed and signed contract is then presented to the FSU Registrar’s Office for final approval. This may be done in-person on campus or digitally via an emailed image file.
- We recommend that you turn in your completed Internship Contract by May 1 for the fall semester course, November 25 for the spring, and April 15 for the summer. However, be aware that different sites have their own time frames for interviews and for application deadlines. You can enroll in Internship up until the end of the Add-Drop period of your specific chosen semester or summer session A.
- Once the FSU Registrar’s Office approves of your proposed Internship they will notify you via email. You are then permitted to enter your PIN / CRN combo on myFramingham to secure your seat in the COMM495 course.
- Once registered, you will be placed into a Blackboard Learning Management online course environment for COMM495. Here you may find additional resources, course-related tasks (i.e. – discussion boards, journals, brief paper assignments, etc.) and instructor-specific instructions for the “academic” component of the class.
Question: Does COMM495 Internship in Communication, Media, and Performance count as one of my FOUR courses if I take it during either the Fall or Spring semester?
Answer: YES. COMM495 is considered an actual course (one of your typical four) – it is covered by tuition – like other courses, it earns you ONE credit towards graduation.
- NOTE: If you register for COMM495 as a summer course, it is managed by the Office of Continuing Education and separate / additional tuition costs for the credit must be provided to the school.
- NOTE: Internship is not offered during the Winter Intersession.
Question: What must be done to conclude the Internship experience?
Answer: The Internship student has several responsibilities related to the successful completion of the course:
- Provide an accounting of the 140 (+) completed hours of service
- Complete all “academic-side” course tasks requested by your COMM495 faculty coordinator
- Have your Internship Site Supervisor complete an “Exit Interview” Evaluation form and have that document provided directly to your COMM495 faculty coordinator
- Update your résumé with all pertinent Internship-related information and secure an archive of your “portfolio of productivity” that you amassed during your months of service to the Internship host organization
Question: Are paid Internships available?
Answer: YES –
- Paid Internships do exist in the region, but the majority of Internships are unpaid. Students are therefore encouraged to either save up for the Internship semester or they should practice very good time management while also working a part-time job. Careful planning will allow for a full but very manageable schedule.
- Some students have written proposals to the department successfully turning their current paid position with an organization into an Internship experience.
- The CHOICE program (Community/Hometown Organizations Internship and Cooperative Education) offers funding for internships within the town of Framingham and local community organizations. See Dawn Ross, Career Services, and your Communication, Media, and Performance Academic Advisor for details.
Question: What if I don’t have a car to commute to an Internship site?
Answer: There are numerous opportunities available on or very near campus. See Career Services about these on-campus options. Sometimes metro-west public transportation routes will take you where you need to go.
Question: How soon should I begin the process?
Answer: It is never too early to begin the research phase of finding possible locations for an Internship experience. Begin discussions with your Academic Advisor in your Sophomore year, and during the spring / summer before your Junior year talk with fellow students who have done or are doing Internships. Typically, a student’s key interests in the Communication, Media, and Performance fields will solidify as they move forward through the academic program – which steers their networking and focuses their search.