Is an internship required to graduate?

Yes, all students completing a major in the School of Communications are required to complete at least one (1) internship for academic credit prior to graduation. While it is not required to register every internship for credit, our students are encouraged to complete multiple experiences while at Elon.

In addition, each internship credit satisfies one unit of Elon’s Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR) and helps you reflect upon what you have learned academically and in a real-world setting. The internship course (COM 3985) and the registered internship must be completed concurrently.

What is the criteria for internships for academic credit?

The student seeking internship credit must meet the following requirements:

  • Cumulative GPA is a 2.0 or higher; and the student is in good academic standing
  • The internship is defined as an “advanced-level work experience,” so internship credit is generally limited to those who have completed at least 30 credit hours of courses (sophomore or higher), including COM 110/1100, COM 210/2100, & COM 220/2200
  • The student must enroll in the internship course (COM 3985) in the same academic term the student is completing internship. The School of Communications does not provide retroactive credit.
  • The student must be participating in a new internship experience (students cannot register the same internship for credit across multiple academic terms)
  • Interns must work a minimum of 80 hours per enrolled credit hour (1 credit hour = 80 work hours; 2 credit hours = 160 work hours). This is specifically for students not doing an internship while abroad through an affiliated study abroad program.

** Students may complete a maximum of four (4) internship credits, domestic or abroad, within the minimum 132 credits required for graduation. Students may enroll in up to one (1) or two (2) credits during a term: fall, winter, spring and summer. All credits count for COM electives. The School of Communications requires a minimum of one (1) internship credit prior to graduation.

The internship must meet the following guidelines:

  • Internship duties should demonstrate practical application of skills and education in the fields of communications across our disciplines (Cinema & Television Arts, Communication Design, Journalism, Media Analytics, Strategic Communications)
  • The intern supervisor must have expertise in the work the student is completing established organization to ensure the internship is an academic learning experience and the supervisor cannot be a family member or a friend. Approval will not be provided for internships in departments under the direction of a student’s family members.
  • The internship must be completed in a professional (on-site or virtual) environment that provides the software, equipment and other facilities to perform required tasks.

Who may complete an internship for academic credit?

All students majoring in Cinema and Television Arts, Communication Design, Journalism, Media Analytics, and Strategic Communications are required to register and complete an internship for academic credit. The internship is defined as an “advanced-level work experience,” so internship credit is generally limited to those who have completed at least 30 credit hours of courses (sophomore or higher), including COM 110/1100, COM 210/2100, & COM 2200/2200. Students must also meet the university minimum of a 2.0 GPA and have received approval from the internship director. The School of Communications recommends that students have a quality GPA and experience with student media or other appropriate outlets prior to seeking an internship for academic credit.

How many hours should I work?

The School of Communications allows students to complete one (1) or two (2) credits of COM 3985 per experience. Students can complete a maximum of four (4) Communications internship credits, domestic or abroad, within the minimum 132 required credits for graduation. As a result, students should complete at least 80 hours of work, in addition to the academic coursework, for each academic hour of credit. We strongly encourage students to gain as much work experience as possible at the site.

How do I register my internship for academic credit?

Once you have secured an internship offer, review our internship requirements to ensure your internship is eligible for academic credit. Then, follow the steps below:

  • Watch the Internship Information Session video – link to come
  • Fill out the Internship Registration Form on the Elon Job Network
  • Wait for your confirmation email from the internship director. You will receive this after your internship has been approved and you have been enrolled in COM 3985 on OnTrack.

Can students earn academic credit given for past internship experiences?

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

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

Yes, we actually 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.

Can I have more than one internship provider at the same time?

It is not possible to register multiple internships for credit that occur at the same time.

How do I obtain academic credit for an internship abroad?

Certain study abroad programs includes internship opportunities that are registered for credit. You may connect with a representative from the Global Education Center to learn more. Gaining experience and expanding your knowledge about the workplace outside of the US can be beneficial for professional development. If you are completing an internship abroad in an Elon-approved program, you must include COM 3985 on your Course Review Form, as part of your application. If approved, you will receive credit for COM 3985 upon completion of the experience. If you are completing an independent internship (not a part of any Elon program or self-arranged), then you must follow the our guidelines and steps for obtaining credit and complete the Independent Program (IP) process PRIOR to your departure. Any questions regarding the IP process can be directed to the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center (GEC).

How can international students complete an internship in the U.S.?

If you’re an international student, you must get prior approval from the GEC for any U.S. internships.

How can I apply for an internship?

You can find and apply to internships on the Elon Job Network (EJN). Sign into EJN and click on ‘Jobs & Internships’ and click the option ‘Search’. It will take you to a filter where you search internships, jobs and other items that help narrow or widen your preference. Click on the internship(s) you are interested in, read their description and follow the instructions on how to apply.

There are other outside resources like Indeed, LinkedIn, company’s website, or industry specific resources. Use your networks and connections. It is highly recommend having your resume, cover letter and other documents you are planning to use reviewed by a career advisor before you begin applying. Our career advisors can also help you create a strategy to search for internships and can help you prepare for interviews.

When is a good time to start looking for internships?

The earlier the better. It is best to begin your internship search the semester prior to your preferred placement. 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 internship and utilize your connections/network in your search. To get started, research the organization/internship position and connect with any contacts who work for the organization. You must also prepare a resume, recommendations and work examples before applying. This takes a great deal of time and energy, so it is recommended to plan ahead and start early.

How has COVID-19 impacted internships?

Please see this page for details about completing an internship during COVID.