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Internships

Frequently Asked Questions about Internships for English Majors

Most graduates across the nation will have completed at least one internship during college. Don't be left behind. Here are answers to some of the most common questions and concerns English majors have about internships:

Q: Aren't internships just for Journalism and Professional Writing students? Are there internships for other concentrations like Literature and Creative Writing?
A: Absolutely! Students from any concentration can find appropriate placements. Future teachers majoring in Literature can complete internships in schools and after-school programs, for example, and Creative Writers might enjoy interning at an arts and culture magazine. We offer many types of positions and many students find their own placements, too. There's something for almost everyone! Theatre Arts internships are obtained through a separate process - contact the Theatre arts Program Coordinator directly.

See this list (DOC) to learn about the dozens of organizations with which the English Department places student interns, in fields including communications, marketing, public relations, editing/publishing, education, and more.

Q: Since I have to work for pay, how would I have time for an unpaid internship on top of that?
A: If you are working full time during regular business hours, then, yes, if might be difficult to schedule hours at an internship site if they operate only during regular business hours. Even so, some placements will gladly accept help from an intern off-site or during evenings and weekends. If your paid work is not full time or not completed during regular business hours, then there should be no problem scheduling an internship. Many organizations and businesses that offer internships offer flexible hours, within the M-F 8:00 - 5:00 range. You just need to fit in a total of 120 hours, which, depending on when you start and end the internship, is usually in summer about 10-15 hours a week, and in fall or spring 8-10 hours a week.

Q: I have a full course load next semester; how would I fit an internship in on top of that?
A: You wouldn't! An internship is not an add-on. An internship taken for academic credit is a real course, with assignments, due dates, and academic requirements. You would take the internship as a part of your regular course load and plan around having that obligation. Plan ahead what courses you take, and fitting in an internship can be possible.

Q: Even if I can arrange my schedule to fit an unpaid internship, why should I work for someone for free?
A: Think of it as the difference between a job and a career. A job = money given for doing what you're told. Any job can make you money, but one of the reasons you are going to college is to land a satisfying career where you can put into practice the lessons you have learned in your major. If you are fortunate enough to have a chance to get paid for gaining experience and professional training, that's fantastic. If you don't find a paid position, however, then you should consider an unpaid internship to gain the training you need. Without professional experience, most applicants can't even land basic entry-level career positions these days. The degree is NOT enough. So consider an unpaid internship as a necessary step to a career.

Q: I have to work for pay; can I get a paid internship?
A: Paid internships are highly competitive. Since many students are hunting for them, you will need to apply several months in advance, for example, apply in November or December for a summer internship. Check with Career Services for help in finding a paid internship.

Q: If I get a paid internship, can I earn academic credits for it, too?
A: No, this is prohibited. A paid internship is a job, and an unpaid one for credit is a course!

Q: How can I do an internship if I don't have a car?
Find a placement near where you live! Students do it all the time. Look around your neighborhood at organizations and businesses you like and offer your services as a writing/research/etc. intern. Non-profit organizations are generally glad to welcome a university intern offering to help for free. Just make sure if you do this that you don't get taken advantage of - internships should give you valuable experience in the field or they aren't really worth your time. If you need help sorting this out, contact the department internship coordinator.

Q: What do I do if I feel I'm not ready yet for an internship?
A: Talk to your academic advisor and/or the internship coordinator about this. They have a lot of experience working with students and can usually determine if a student is ready for the internship experience. Also, we offer a lot of great courses in which students can practice and gain confidence. Consider, for example, taking Community Writing I, an experiential learning course during which students complete real projects for community organizations. Or there's a lower-division course that offers a good baseline: Introduction to Professional Writing. The 3000-level Writing on the Job class and Intermediate Professional Writing course, among others are also options. In other words, if you don't feel confident, you can do something about that!

Q: I really want to do this! How do I apply?
A: Great! If you want to do one of our pre-arranged internships, reserved for our majors, here are the steps:

  1. First ask three faculty if they will be willing to serve as positive references for your Request for Placement form (DOC) and then submit that form to the internship coordinator.
  2. Once references are checked and you are approved for placement, you will forward your career-focused resume to the internship coordinator. If it needs work, you can go to Career Services for help.
  3. If you know which placement you want, and it's still available, the internship coordinator will send your resume to the placement supervisor and request an interview for you. If you don't know which placement you want, you will schedule a meeting with the internship coordinator to determine which path to follow.
  4. Interview with the placement supervisor and if offered the position, let the English Internship Coordinator know as soon as possible. If seeking course credit, you have an application form (DOC) to complete before you get a permission number to add the course.

If you are finding your own internship and want to take it for credit, skip to #4. All students seeking academic credit for an internship must complete the required paperwork - to qualify for credit, the internship must be a minimum of 120 hours of unpaid work related to English. If you want to find an internship on your own and do not want course credit, you do not need to contact the English Internship Coordinator at all.

If you didn't get your questions answered, please ask the internship coordinator (Professor Diana Archibald) directly. You can do this!