Internships are an integral part of learning at the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA). Students gain valuable firsthand experience and learn new skills by working with news organizations, federal agencies, lobbying and political firms, digital media companies, advocacy groups and congressional press offices. We provide access to dozens of listings through our weekly Above the Fold newsletter. Often, internships lead to full-time jobs after graduation.
Credit for internships is available for juniors and seniors majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and Political Communication, as well as minors in journalism. To gain credit, students must apply for an internship appropriate to his or her major (or minor) field of study.
IMPORTANT: only one approved SMPA internship counts toward the student's major or minor.
Employers who wish to list their internships with SMPA fill out this form. We ask that employers first read these guidelines before sending job descriptions to us.
"I had the opportunity to be a College Associate for FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace where I have been researching upcoming guests, learning production technology and meeting the unbelievable Producers and other interns throughout the FOX corporation. This has been a dream for me for a long time and it has been an experience unlike any other!"
Applying for Academic Credit
To apply for academic credit for your internship students must complete these forms and email them to Dr. Patricia Phalen ([email protected]). Virtual internships are acceptable. All internships are graded as Pass/Fail.
A reminder that the application and RTF have to be sent as .pdf's. Please make sure both .pdf's are editable and are labeled properly:
- Student last name + internship + RTF
- Student last name + internship + application
Dr. Patricia Phalen will consider the internship application and, if approved, assign a faculty adviser. Please note: Improperly labeled applications will be returned for correction.
Fall 2023: Friday, September 29th
Spring 2024: Wednesday, January 31st
SMPA Internship Coursework
Once an internship is approved, students are required to meet with their assigned faculty adviser to complete
- a learning contract (PDF) and
- obtain a memorandum of agreement (PDF) with the sponsor of the internship.
Internships are graded as pass/fail. If needed, students may meet with Dr. Patricia Phalen to ask questions during the process. Undergraduate SMPA students must register for three credit hours per internship (SMPA 3197).
- Journalism & Mass Communication Requirements
Journalism internships may be served at news organizations or with groups or organizations that routinely communicate to a wide audience using online tools like social media sites. Each internship must be approved in advance by the SMPA assistant director. All JMC internships will earn three academic credits, requiring about 15 hours per week.
The work required to complete the Internship involves not only the hours at the internship site, but a research component as well. For example, a faculty adviser might assign three books or their equivalent to help the student prepare for writing a final project due before the end of the semester. Final projects could be a news feature about the sponsoring organization, a video package or a research paper. The subject will be discussed and decided on in consultation with the faculty adviser. Final projects are due on the last day of class.
Students and advisers should meet at least twice over the semester for a discussion about how the internship and final project are progressing. Advisers might require students to submit a synopsis of their research at mid-semester.
- Political Communication Requirements
Political Communication majors may be approved for internships with advocacy groups, news organizations, congressional offices or public relations and political consulting firms. All internships will be for three academic credits, requiring about 15 hours per week.
The work required to complete the internship involves not only the hours at the internship site, but a research component as well. For example, students could write a daily or weekly journal of their observations and activities at the internship, read three scholarly books approved by the faculty adviser and write a 10-12 page paper that combines the internship experience with concepts from the readings. Students may also write a 10-12 page research paper on a topic related to their internship. The research component will be discussed and decided in consultation with the faculty adviser.
Papers and journals are due on the last day of class. Students will meet with the faculty adviser at least twice during the semester to discuss progress with the internship and the final paper.
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“Writing a piece for my internship at Mongabay was truly a great experience. With the help of a very supportive editor, I was able to explore scientists willfully breaking naming conventions in support of non-binary individuals, while also writing about a new ant species.”
Journalism and Mass Communication, '22