The Internship in Communication class is one of the most valuable learning experiences available to students and can set the stage for future career success.  The class provides students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom, make important network and reference contacts, affirm -- or revise -- career plans, and enhance resume and portfolios.

UB Communication students have completed a wide array of internships with advertising agencies, public relations firms, human resource departments, health care providers, non-profit agencies, broadcasting stations, law firms, sports and entertainment companies, business firms, and a myriad of other organizations throughout the United States.  Students have also completed internships in Canada, the Dominican Republic, India, England, and Puerto Rico.  Regardless of where they complete their internships, class members are expected to maintain a high standard of mature and professional conduct throughout the course.

The Internship class is available year round to majors who have completed their sophomore year in good academic standing. Specifically, to be eligible to apply to the class, students must be a junior or senior Communication major who has completed 60 credits and has earned a grade point average of 2.0 at the University with a 2.5 grade point average in the major.

You should plan your internship in conjunction with the Director of Internships at least one semester prior to enrolling for the class.  If you plan an internship in a major city such as New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, you should begin planning six to nine months in advance.  Please note that you do not have to "know" what you want to do for the rest of your life nor do you have to have a specific internship in mind prior to meeting with the Director of Internships. 

The class is designed for students who seek to 1) apply the knowledge and skills acquired in various Communication courses in a professional setting, 2) hone your oral and written communication skills, 3) enhance your professional conduct and demeanor, 4) increase the scope of your professional networks, and, 5) enhance your ability to find employment.  You are required to represent yourself when seeking information about internships or the class.

How to earn credits

You may apply two 3-credit internship courses (six credit hours) to the major although some students opt to complete additional internship hours for UB general elective credit. Please note that if you have already taken another Communication tutorial course (an independent study class for 3 credits, for example), only one internship class will count toward the Communication degree.  Additional internship classes, as indicated above, may count toward your UB general electives.

Academic internship credit is not ordinarily given for a job for which you are being paid a salary. Paid internships may be used for credit provided that you obtain approval in advance from the Director of Internships.

You may not earn credit for internships which were undertaken without the consent of the Director of Internships.  Also, you cannot earn credit for internships at sites where you have volunteered, worked, or interned in the past (This is because one major goal of this class is to expand your professional networks).  Internship credit is never awarded retroactively.

Developing an internship

The first step in obtaining an internship is to complete the Internship Application, Self-Evaluation, and Force Registration forms which are available from the Director of Internships.  Bring these forms along with an updated copy of your Academic Advising Report when you come to office hours. Please plan to spend 45 to 60 minutes to discuss the class.  After you are approved to participate in the program you will be registered for the Internship in Communication course (COM 496).

Obtaining your internship is similar to obtaining a job:

* We provide you with leads.
* You arrange for an interview.
* You negotiate a contract with the organization.

An online database is available for students who are approved and enrolled in the class. Please set aside time to carefully review these leads so that you may find an internship that will match your career goals and professional skills. Pick several organizations, making note of the contact information. You may also seek an internship with organizations other than those listed on the database.

The next step is to contact the organization to determine whether there is an opening in the semester for which you have registered. Internship site supervisors frequently change, so you should ask to speak to the site supervisor by title, not name. If the site supervisor is interested, arrange an interview. During the interview, you and your supervisor should agree upon your duties, and although all entry-level jobs will require routine tasks, you should be certain that the internship consists primarily of "hands on" entry-level professional work. No more than 10-12 percent of the job should include filing, answering phones, or photocopying.

You and the organization supervisor should complete the contract after you agree on the specific duties (i.e., the "Scope of Activities") you will perform. Then you must return the signed contract with a written job description to the Director of Internships for approval. You may not begin your work at the internship until the contract has been approved.

How to register

After you are approved to enroll in the Internship in Communication course (COM 496) class, you will be registered for the number of credit hours you requested. The Director of Internships must register you for the class before drop/add ends. Please note that most students will not have secured an internship before they are enrolled in the class. 

Internship credit is variable; therefore, you must specify the number of hours for which you are registering on the Force Registration Request form. For any semester, the number of hours of academic credit corresponds to a certain number of hours worked on site. Internships of 3-5 credit hours count as one Communication elective class.

* 1 hour of credit = 45 hours on site (1 UB general elective credit)
* 2 hours of credit = 90 hours on site (2 UB general elective credits)
* 3 hours of credit = 135 hours on site (1 COM elective course)
* 4 hours of credit = 180 hours on site (1 COM elective course plus 1 UB general elective credit)
* 5 hours of credit = 225 hours on site (1 COM elective course plus 2 UB general elective credits)

Completing the internship

During the internship, you are responsible for reading and following instructions on the course web site.  You are also required to successfully complete an online interview as a part of the class.

After you complete the internship, your supervisor must submit a Supervisor's Evaluation Form regarding the work you performed.  In addition, you must write a brief business report discussing your internship experience and submit that report with a completed Post-Internship Self-Evaluation form.  Instructions can be found on the course UBlearns web site.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your paper, self-evaluation, and the supervisor's evaluation are received by the Director of Internships by the deadline on your contract. If the materials are not turned in by the due date, you will receive an Incomplete/Failing grade until all materials are received.

Internship grades

COM 496 (Internship) is graded on a pass/fail basis.  This means that so long as you pass the class, your GPA remains the same.  If anyone were to fail the class, the F grade is calculated into the student's grade point average.

Check list

*Set up an internship consultation with the Director of Internships before you begin planning an internship.

*After you have approval to enroll in the class, verify that you've been registered for the correct number of credits for COM 496 (Internship in Communication), before drop/add ends (see UB Academic/Financial Calendars).

*Return the completed contract to the Director of Internships for approval BEFORE beginning work at the internship.

*Be sure to read all course materials on the UBlearns web site and complete your online interview and other assignments as instructed.

*Deliver your brief business report and post-internship evaluation to the Director of Internships as soon as you complete your contracted hours at the internship.  Verify that the supervisor's evaluation form has been received by the Director of Internships.

*Remember that COM 496 (Internship in Communication) is graded on a pass/fail basis.