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Q&A: Intern guidelines

Q. Who may sign up for an internship?

A. The internship is defined as an "advanced-level work experience," so internship credit generally is limited to those who have completed at least 70 credit hours. All students are encouraged to gain as much experience in the communications field as possible regardless of whether they seek academic credit for the work. You may check with the internship director about whether to seek academic credit.

Q. Is there a GPA requirement?

A. Yes, students must meet the university minimum of a 2.0 GPA and have approval from the internship director. The School of Communications recommends that students have a quality GPA, prior experience with student media or other appropriate outlets and a strong interest in the field of study.

Q. How many hours should I work?

A. The School of Communications allows students to choose academic credit from 1to 4 hours. Students should complete at least 80 hours of work, in addition to the academic workload, for each academic hour of credit. Thus, 4 hours of academic credit requires a minimum of 320 hours of work at the internship site. An internship of 1 credit hour would require 80 hours of work experience. We strongly encourage students to gain as much work experience as possible at the site. Students can alternatively register with the internship director for a "professional work experience." This is offered at 0 credit hours, and it is the equivalent of a typical internship, but it is a way for students who would have a hardship paying for summer credits to earn the required internship in Elon's School of Communications. The professional work experience is documented by the university in a fashion similar to a regular, for-credit internship.

Q. Is credit given for past work experience?

A. No, the internship is an academic experience that includes written papers, reflection, analysis and grading - all completed simultaneously with the work experience.

Q. Is an internship required?

A. Yes. We believe experiential learning is valuable in whatever way the learning occurs, and internships are required in the School of Communications. Our students are encouraged to find multiple communications work experiences while at Elon. In addition to experiencing an internship at Elon University, our students often work many hours in student media or may work with professional media or corporate communications organizations without academic credit for the experiences. For example, students may write articles for local newspapers on a free-lance ("stringer") basis, and a number of students work part-time jobs at area television stations. All of these are valuable real-world experiences in communications.

Q. Am I required to sign up for credit if I work in the communications field?

A. The university does not require that you receive credit. However, employers often require that anyone working in an internship position must be registered for university credit because of labor rules and/or guidelines governing their company practices.

Q. May a student receive academic credit if an internship is paid?

A. Yes. In fact, we tell companies that a paid internship often attracts better applicants. Some pay interns; some don't. Our main focus, of course, is on the academic elements of the internship such as the written papers.

Q. How do I register for an internship?

A. You should do thorough research, seeking out the type of organization you would like to work for in the region of the country in which you prefer to live during the time of your intern work. Research the organization, check out its internship requirements and deadlines and apply for a position. You must prepare a resume, recommendations and work examples before approaching the prospective employer. This all takes a great deal of time and energy, so you must work ahead! Once you have located a workplace at which you have been accepted for an internship, you must complete an internship agreement form for the school's internship director and gain all appropriate signatures. The form is available as a PDF to the right. With the completed and signed agreement, you may register for JCM 381, Communications Internship, through the normal university registration process.


Internship guidelines
Recent internships
Internship video

To download a copy of Elon's Internship form, click here.
Elon University, North Carolina 
2850 Campus Box 
Elon, NC 27244-2010   (336) 278-5724 
E-mail: communications@elon.edu
Last Modified:  4/09/05
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