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Department of Communication Studies College of Arts & Letters

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ComS/Film/Journalism/PR Academic Internships FAQ

Academic Internships

An internship is a significant step in your educational journey, and should be regarded as both a challenging learning opportunity and a valuable professional-level experience.An internship can be an important first step toward finding a job after college. It can help you develop vital workplace skills and establish a professional network.When considering if you should seek an internship, consider these frequently asked question.

Internship FAQ

Do I need an academic internship to graduate? If so, how many credits?

Every major/concentration in the ComS department has unique requirements and guidelines. They include:

  • Communication Studies (General): An internship is not required to graduate. You may take up to six units in COMS 195 to apply toward your upper-division electives in your major.
  • Communication Studies (Public Relations): An internship is not required to graduate. You may take up to three units in COMS 195 to apply toward your upper-division electives in your major.
  • Film (Digital Film/Video Production): An internship is not required to graduate. You may take up to three units in COMS 195 to apply toward your upper-division electives in your major.
  • Film (Film Studies): An internship is not required to graduate. You may take up to six units in COMS 195 to apply toward your upper-division electives in your major.
  • Journalism: An internship of at least three units is required to graduate. Students may take up to six units in JOUR 195 to apply toward their Journalism degree. Alternatively, students may take JOUR 197 (Journalism Laboratory/The State Hornet) to fulfill the major’s internship requirements.
Students are encouraged to consult with their major adviser in the Communication Studies Department to assess if/how academic internship units may count toward their degree.

What are the prerequisites for a COMS/JOUR academic internship?

COMS 195 prerequisites:

  • Communication Studies (General concentration) COMS 100A or 12 units of upper division COMS credit
  • Film COMS 27 A & B, and COMS 128
  • Public Relations JOUR 30 and COMS 123

JOUR 195 prerequisites:

  • JOUR 130A and JOUR 130B

How do I get credit for an academic internship?

Academic internships for credit must be offered through one of Sac State’s approved community partners. (You can view a complete list of current community partners via Sac State’s Community Engagement Center.) Before you seek or accept an internship, contact the ComS Internship Office to confirm your internship is eligible for academic credit. You will then complete a Student Learning Agreement (located in the ComS Internship Canvas course) to set the location, terms, learning outcomes, and assessment methods for your academic internship.

How many work hours are required to receive credit for an internship?

One unit equals a minimum of 45 internship hours per semester. Depending on how many COMS/JOUR units you enroll for, the hour requirements break down as follows:

  • 1 unit: 45 hours/semester (roughly 3-5 hours per week)
  • 2 units: 90 hours/semester (roughly 6-8 hours per week)
  • 3 units: 135 hours/semester (roughly 9+ hours per week)

For 4-6 units, consult with the Internship Office to assess your internship's compatibility with the required hours.

Who is responsible for placing me in an academic internship?

Students interested in academic internships are responsible for searching and applying for available opportunities, as well as enrolling for the proper units and delivering the forms and assignments necessary to receive credit for the course.

Students can check out the listings in the Canvas listing modules in the Coms Internship Canvas Course.

Where can I find an academic internship in my major?

The ComS Internship Office offers resources to support this process, including a list of new and recent internship postings via the ComS website. You may also consult with the ComS Internship Coordinator and/or Internship Assistant to help locate opportunities.

The Sacramento State Career Center is another valuable resource for guidance on internships, with a wide range of both paid and academic internship postings offered through Handshake. Networking with classmates and faculty in your major is also an effective way to find timely and relevant internship opportunities.

Do I have to take an internship for three units?

No. You may register for between 1-6 units in COMS/JOUR 195, based on the hours you work at your internship. Consult with the Internship Coordinator to determine your eligibility for the units you have in mind.

Can I work all of my hours early in the semester?

No. For the sake of balance and optimal learning as you apply your ComS curriculum to the professional environment, students should establish a consistent set of weekly hours throughout the semester. Two self-evaluations (a midterm and a final) and two supervisor evaluations will assess your progress and learning during this time.

Can I get credit for a paid internship?

Yes. If an approved academic internship partner site offers it, you may receive financial compensation in addition to academic credit toward your degree.

Can I earn internship credit for working as a TA?

No. Students should earn TA units through COMS/JOUR 199. Consult with the professor for whom you are working as a TA to arrange a COMS/JOUR 199 contract unique to your specific course.

Can I propose or create an internship of my own?

Yes. If you know of an internship offered from an entity that is not an approved community partner, you'll need to get the entity approved before you will be eligible for academic credit. Please consult with the ComS Internship Coordinator to discuss your prospective academic internship opportunity. After a preliminary review, you’ll be asked to submit an Academic Internship Proposal to the department.

NOTE: This process can take up to four months for sites that are not yet approved as Sac State community partners, so please work ahead to plan your proposed internship.

Can I receive credit for an internship I took before Sac State?

No. Academic internships must be completed as part of your upper-division work as a student at Sac State.

Do I need to receive credit for an internship while at Sac State?

No. The terms of internships arranged outside the purview of the Communication Studies Department are at the discretion of the student and the internship site. Keep in mind that an internship that offers neither financial compensation nor academic credit may be illegal under California state law.

Can my current job count as an academic internship?

Some jobs with an emphasis in communications disciplines like Media Production, Journalism, Public Relations, Organizational Management, and others may be eligible for academic credit through Work Experience COMS/JOUR 194. Please consult with the ComS Internship Coordinator to determine if your position meets the required standards for COMS/JOUR 194. (COMS/JOUR 194 is not an academic internship)

How is my academic internship graded?

COMS/JOUR 195 is assessed on a credit/no credit basis. Students provide two self-evaluations (midterm and final) to the ComS Internship Office about their academic internship work. Site supervisors provide student evaluations as well. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure evaluation deadlines are met. Late, incomplete, or missing evaluations may result in no credit for the internship.

The internship I want requests a cover letter and resume to apply.

The ComS Internship Office can help you develop both a cover letter and resume for your application. The Sac State Career Center also has many helpful resources and staff to support your application process. Please remember to work as far ahead as possible when planning internship applications to make sure you can take full advantage of Sac State’s resources and support.

What should I wear to my academic internship or interview?

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so dress professionally for your internship interview. Business attire such as a suit, tie, dress pants, button-up shirt and/or a skirt are customarily appropriate. Show that you take pride in your appearance and that you take the interview opportunity seriously.

When you’re hired for your academic internship, ask your site supervisor about the appropriate dress code for their workplace. Also ask about any required uniform or logowear, and who is responsible for the cost of that attire, if applicable.

I have other questions. Whom should I contact?

Contact Communication Studies Department internship coordinator Andrea Terry by Email .