Student Internship Program
Student FAQs | Sponsor FAQs
The School of Mass Communications Internship Program creates partnerships between qualified mass communications students and sponsors who offer learning opportunities in the industry. An internship allows students to gain real-life experience and skills in a professional setting. Employers benefit from students with fresh ideas who aspire to work in the industry.
Most mass communications students are encouraged, but not required, to pursue internships during the program. Advertising students are required to have an internship.
Dr. Kelli Burns
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Why should I do an internship?
Internships offer valuable work experience and can help you build your résumé, expand your professional network, and help you identify what kind of work you would like to pursue post-graduation. Students who have completed internships are often considered to be the most marketable.
When can I do an internship?
Students are eligible for internships based on certain prerequisite courses and a minimum GPA. See the catalog for more information.
What is the process for getting credit for my internship?
- To start the process, fill out the student application form and turn it in with your résumé and copy of your DegreeWorks to Dr. Burns in CIS 3114. The best time to do this is in the semester proceeding the one in which you wish to intern. You do not need to have secured an internship at this point.
- Send your application materials (cover letter, résumé, etc.) to prospective intern sponsors. We will soon have a database of internships available to help you with this process.
- Once you have secured an internship opportunity, have your sponsor complete the sponsor form and return it to Dr. Burns.
- At that point, Dr. Burns will provide you with a signed permit form which you will turn in to advising and then register for the course.
- Credit will not be provided for past internship experiences.
What are the expectations for students doing internships?
- Interns are expected to follow the guidelines of their workplace and be responsible, punctual, and positive representatives of the School of Mass Communications.
- Interns with concerns about their internship sponsor or the work they are assigned to do should contact Dr. Burns for assistance.
- Interns need to meet the minimum required hours for the number of credit hours they are receiving, which is 100 per credit hour.
- Interns will need to keep a weekly journal, write a reflection paper, and create a portfolio. Interns will also complete an evaluation of their sponsoring organization.
- Interns should work with their sponsor to set up start and end dates, as well as weekly hours. You are not expected to work during times when the university is closed (Spring Break, etc.), but should clear this with your supervisor.
- Please read the Internship Information Packet for more information.
Does the university offer any additional assistance to help me land an internship?
Mr. Terry Dowling, a career counselor in the USF Career Center, is available to help School of Mass Communications students with internship searches, resume composition, or interview preparation. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-974-0131. Other resources are available on the Career Center's website at http://www.career.usf.edu/.
Why should I hire a USF intern? What does an intern do?
- USF interns are generally hard-working students who wish to gain experience in the industry. They can contribute to an organization through their skills and fresh ideas.
- The internship should be a learning experience that provides the student with an opportunity to apply their knowledge and acquire real-world skills. Therefore, the student’s job responsibilities should be limited to communications responsibilities. Students are not expected to perform more than minimal general office work or should not be asked to perform personal tasks for employees.
- Internships may be paid or unpaid; paid internships are, obviously, more appealing to students and draw the strongest applicant pools.
- All intern sponsors should be aware of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm
How do I hire a USF student as an intern?
- To have your opportunity listed in our internship database (coming soon), create a one-page PDF with the following information: description of the company, intern duties, whether it’s paid or unpaid, anticipated weekly time commitment, and application instructions. Also provide a short descriptive blurb about the position that we can use on the main page of the database. Email the flyer and blurb to Dr. Kelli Burns at email@example.com.
- We suggest that you check references for any student prior to hiring. Listed below are the heads of each sequence who may be able to provide a reference for USF applicants from the School of Mass Communication.
- Advertising: Professor Hal Vincent, firstname.lastname@example.org, 813-974-6798
- Journalism: Professor Wayne Garcia, email@example.com, 813-974-6788
- Public Relations: Dr. Kelli Burns, firstname.lastname@example.org, 813-974-6799
- Telecommunications: Professor Kristin Ruyle, email@example.com, 813-974-6796
- You will need to fill out a sponsor form before the internship can be approved and the student can start working.
- At the end of the semester, you will be expected to fill out an evaluation form so the student can receive a final grade.
How many hours will students work?
In the School of Mass Communication, our internship is a 1-3 credit hour course. For one credit hour, a student works approximately 8 hours a week for 13 weeks during the fall/spring semesters or approximately 12 hours a week for 9 weeks during the summer semester for a total of approximately 100 hours. Students are only approved to take this course when they have been admitted into the School of Mass Communications, meet a certain GPA requirement, and have started their sequence (i.e., public relations, telecommunications, or journalism) coursework. For tracking purposes, please use your own methods to keep up with the intern’s hours.
What kind of office environment should I provide?
Generally, internships are only approved if the student is working in an office environment and not from their own home or in the personal home of the employer. Students are expected to be provided with a desk and computer for use in the office. Finally, students should be guided by a supervisor who has the time to guide them.
What else should I know?
- Unless hired as an employee, the title of student interns should be “intern” and they should not be presented to clients or prospective clients in any other manner.
- It is recommended that students set regular weekly schedules and that any changes be discussed ahead of time. Please respect these schedules. Students have other commitments outside of their internships, such as classes or other jobs.
- Students should not be expected to work during university breaks (e.g., Spring Break, federal holidays).
- Students should be reimbursed for any expenses including mileage, tolls, or parking fees incurred while on the job.
- Please contact Dr. Burns with any questions or concerns about the student.