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Students in the School of Communication are encouraged to take up to 6 hours of course work in COMS 499—Communication Internship. This course allows students to intern with professional media outlets, advertising and public relations agencies, corporations, nonprofits and governmental organizations, and local and regional businesses. Students are encouraged to seek interviews and complete for-experience internships (not-for-academic-credit) during their early years in the School of Communication; students should interview to secure a for-credit internship closer to their senior year. Ideally, the internship experience is a bridge between college course work and professional entry-level employment and not considered a promise of future employment.
Interns earn 1 academic credit for every 40 hours they work at the internship site. While enrolled in COMS 499, students document their hours, submit samples of their work to their faculty supervisor, participate in online discussions, and seek professional evaluations from their internship-job supervisors.
Prerequisites for Communication Internship (COMS 499) include:
- Successful completion of 75 college credits
- Good academic standing with 2.0 or higher GPA (in major and overall)
- Successful completion of the writing course from the student’s concentration of study in the School of Communication
- Instructor approval of the proposed internship site and tasks
Degree requirements are based upon the student’s concentration in the School of Communication:
- Students in Advertising may register for 3 credits in COMS 499 OR may enroll in an additional 3 credits in COMS 483 (Advertising Campaigns)
- Students in public relations are required to complete a minimum of 3 credits in COMS 499
- Students in Communication Studies, Journalism, Media Production, and Web Design may enroll in COMS 499 for elective credits.
Students should consult with their academic adviser to plan the timing and number of credits needed in COMS 499, then contact Betty Kennan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Faculty Internship Coordinator. Weekly Internship Information Sessions are held during the first 8 weeks of each fall and spring semester. Students planning to intern during the fall semester should contact Betty Kennan (email@example.com) during mid- to late summer for more information.
Deadlines to apply (PDF) for Communication Internship are:
- November 15 (or the Friday nearest to this date) for winter break or spring internships
- EXTENDED DEADLINE for Internship (COMS 499) application: March 27 (or the Friday nearest to this date) DEADLINE to turn in proposal with boss' signature: May 1 for summer internships (Summer III)
- August 15 (or the Friday nearest to this date) for fall internships
Deadlines for Written proposals (PDF), including internship supervisor signatures, are:
- December 1 (or the Friday nearest to this date) for winter break or spring internships
- April 15 (or the Friday nearest to this date) for summer internships (Summer III)
- The first Friday during the fall semester for fall internships
Students interview and secure their own internships—often in their hometowns or in areas where they hope to move following graduation. Organizations that have welcomed RU School of Communication interns in the past have included national broadcasters like CBS, CNN and NBC, local broadcasters like WDBJ television in Roanoke, WSLS television in Lynchburg, WVTF radio in Roanoke; national news organizations like the Associated Press and USA Today; regional news organizations like the Roanoke Times and the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk; public relations and advertising departments in leading corporations such as Advance Auto Parts (corporate office in Roanoke), Cumulus Media, Inc. in Radford, and CBS Outdoors in New York City; and governmental or nonprofit organizations—for example, Town of Christiansburg, Main Street Radford, United Way of the Roanoke Valley, and the Free Clinic of the New River Valley.