College of Arts & Sciences Media & Journalism

Internships

Policy & Guidelines

Internships provide students with opportunities to gain professional-level media experience in real-world environments under the supervision of professional practitioners. They also provide opportunities for developing resumes, making media contacts and networking. Frequently, such experiences may also lead to employment with respective internship agencies after graduation. In addition, internships are valuable experiences which potential employers look for on students' transcripts and resumes.

The University of South Dakota greatly values the participation and contribution of professionals in this process. Internship relationships between USD and strategic communication and journalism professionals can exist only as long as there is mutual respect for the quality of student interns available. In order to maintain this integrity, only declared major students who are adequately prepared to both contribute and gain meaningful experience from an internship will be permitted to participate in the department-sanctioned, for-credit internship program.

Prerequisites

Approval of an internship application will be based, in part, on the following criteria:

  1. Be a declared major in the Department of Media & Journalism.
  2. Complete approximately 75 hours of university work.
  3. Complete sufficient preparatory courses relevant to the anticipated internship.
  4. Have achieved a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and 2.0 cumulative undergraduate grade point average.

If you do not meet the above standards and still wish to apply for an internship, you may appeal to the internship coordinator in writing.

Credit Hours Earned

Internships can be taken for 1-2 credits. No student will be permitted to earn more than two total hours of internship credits for a minimum of 200 hours of work. Most students are expected by internship sponsors to work more than the minimum of 100 hours per credit hour.

Internships for Credit/Pay

Once the Department has approved the internship, it is immaterial whether or not the student is paid by the internship agency. That is a matter between the student and the agency. (Interns are advised to arrange with the agency for provision of accident/health insurance and other relevant benefits.)

Internship Agencies 

Internships will be approved only with mass media agencies or organizations operating a mass media activity/department in which the student will be directly supervised by a professional practitioner of a public communication discipline, and in which the student will be participating in professional-level public communication activities. 

Examples of such agencies could include:

  • Broadcast stations
  • Newspapers
  • Advertising agencies
  • Public relations firms
  • Corporate media departments
  • Institutional public information offices

The agency must operate a recognized professional communication activity and the agency must have prior approval by the Department of Media & Journalism to offer such activities as an internship opportunities. The internship coordinator will make every effort to check out the agencies seeking interns as well as student-initiated contacts with potential internship agencies.

Procedure for Applying and Registering for Internships

Students are expected to employ the same procedures in locating and acquiring an internship as they will use after graduation to locate and acquire employment.

Students must also follow these additional procedures:

  1. Insure that they meet the Media & Journalism prerequisites for internship.
  2. Research for possible and desirable internship agencies in various geographic locations (see your adviser for information).
  3. Submit applications to the internship coordinator for verification of qualifications, approval of agency, and permission to apply to the agency for an internship.
  4. Upon approval by the internship coordinator, students will make formal application for internships to one or more of the approved agencies.
  5. Upon acceptance by an agency, a student will present a contract from the agency verifying acceptance and specifying the term, the hours, the job description (duties) and the name and phone number of the agency's internship supervisor.
  6. The student will then be officially registered for the internship course with the University Registrar's office with the assistance of the internship coordinator before beginning the internship.

NOTE: Internship credit will not be awarded to unqualified students, or for internships, jobs or work experiences accomplished without prior registration for the course, without prior approval and concurrent supervision by the internship supervisor, or otherwise after the fact.

Procedure During Internship

Upon completion of the internship, the intern must record and acquire documentation for submission to the internship coordinator for evaluation and grading of the internship experience.

Interning students must:

  1. Maintain a daily log of internship activities, indicating and describing the specific tasks and recording the daily hours worked.
  2. Collect a portfolio of original work products (copies of articles, stories, pamphlets, tapes, scripts, graphics, videos, etc.)
  3. Request the agency supervisor send a final evaluation report on the department's form to the internship supervisor.
Completion of Internship

Upon completion of the internship, the student intern must insure the timely submission of all the materials described above to the internship coordinator. Before the Coordinator can evaluate the internship, the student's internship file must contain all of the following items:

  1. Letter of acceptance, a contract and job description from the agency.
  2. Final evaluation from the agency.
  3. Daily journal (typewritten log) of the internship.
  4. Portfolio of original work product samples.
  5. Brief letter summarizing the work experience.
Evaluation of Internship

As soon as possible after all the necessary documents have been submitted and the internship file is complete, the internship coordinator will submit a grade report to the registrar's office, based on an evaluation of all the documentation, which may include a phone conversation with the internship supervisor.

Department Internship Requirements
Eligibility for Internships
  • Academic good standing (not on probation).
  • Completion of 75 credit hours of coursework.
  • Completion of appropriate preparatory courses.
Requirements to Receive Internship Credit
  • Seek out, apply for, and be accepted by an organization as an intern.
  • Application and approval for internship credit must be completed before work begins, and preferable the end of the semester before the internship begins.  Once a student has begun work, he/she is no longer eligible to receive credit for the work.
  • Complete the Internship Application Form (login required).
  • Approval of application by the department chair/internship coordinator.
  • Completion of the Internship Agreement by the student, sponsoring organization, and Department Chair.
  • Registration for MCOM 495.
Requirements During the Internship
  • Complete a minimum of 100 hours of work per credit hour registered for.
  • Maintain a daily log of work activities.
  • Save work product for a final portfolio.
After the Internship
  • Ask the organization to complete a return the Final Evaluation form.
  • Submit the daily log.
  • Assemble and submit a portfolio of work product.
  • Write a brief letter to the internship coordinator summarizing the work experience.
Misc. Information

Students can receive credit, pay, or both for their internships. It is okay for a student to seek a paid internship and receive credit for the same work experience if they have applied for and received approval for the internship before they begin work.

In order to apply for an internship, you must:
  1. Complete the Internship Application Form (login required) and submit it to the Department of Media & Journalism office, Al Neuharth Media Center Room 205, before the internship is scheduled to begin to allow the internship coordinator to review the application and make a decision.
  2. Submit any recommendation letters and/or other supporting materials you believe will help you secure an internship.
  3. Meet with the internship coordinator if requested.  After your application has been reviewed, you will be contacted regarding the outcome of the decision to allow credit for the internship.