School of Communication

FAQ: Intern guidelines

What is the criteria for obtaining internship approval from the School of Communications?

The internship must meet the following guidelines:

  • Student has completed some COM core courses, including Creating Multimedia Content/Web & Mobile Comm. & Media Writing; and student is at least a sophomore.
  • Intern’s list of duties demonstrates practical application of skills and education in discipline of study.  For example, Strategic Communications students should primarily have PR/advertising tasks.
  • The student has a supervisor with an expertise in the student’s discipline at an established non-Elon (off campus) organization so that the internship is an academic learning experience.
  • A professional environment is provided with the software/equipment to perform required tasks.  On campus and virtual internships will not be approved.   Approval will also not be provided for internships in a student’s family owned business with fewer than 200 employees, or in departments under the supervision of a student’s family members.
  • The student is enrolled in the course at the same time she is completing the internship. The School of Communications does not provide retroactive credit.

Who may sign up for an internship?

The internship is defined as an "advanced-level work experience," so internship credit generally is limited to those who have completed at least 30 credit hours, and some of the Core classes. All students are encouraged to gain as much experience in the communications field as possible regardless of whether they seek academic credit for the internship.

Is there a GPA requirement? 

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.

How many hours should I work?

The School of Communications allows students to choose 1-2 academic credits per semester. Students should complete a maximum of four (4) Communications internship credits, domestic or abroad, within the minimum 132 required for graduation. Also, students should complete at least 80 hours of work, in addition to the academic workload, for each academic hour of credit. We strongly encourage students to gain as much work experience as possible at the site.

Is credit given for past work experience?

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

Is an internship required?

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.

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

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.

How do I register for an internship?

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 registration form for the school's Internship Director. With the completed and signed registration form, the Internship Director will register you for the course. Also, please see the intern checklist to the right.

To find out more about internships, contact the internship director at