Undergraduate Internship FAQ

Answers to Common Internship Questions

Where can I do my internship?
How do I find an internship sponsor?
How do I receive course or academic credit for participating in an internship?
What requirements do I need to meet to register for Commun 298 or 698?
How do enroll in Commun 298 or 698?
What learning activities will I be expected to do in Commun 298 or 698?
If I have additional questions, whom should I contact?

 

Q: Where can I do my internship?
A: Internship opportunities are available in local non-profit and for-profit organizations. Internships may be paid or unpaid. There are also opportunities that may involve relocation to the organization or to a branch site, such as, Walt Disney World in Florida or Greenpeace. Former Commun 298 and 698 students have worked for a variety of internship sponsors including:

  • March of Dimes
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Junior Achievement
  • 620 WTMJ Newsradio
  • Kohler Company
  • National MS Society
  • Summerfest
  • Zeppos & Associates, Inc.
  • Elmbrook School District
  • Direct Supply
  • City of Milwaukee
  • Six Flags Theme Parks

 

Q: How do I find an internship sponsor?
A: The most suitable internship for you may differ considerably from what best suits your fellow students. You need to think about the knowledge and skills that you have to offer, as well as those you would like to build. For some students, the type of organization or the mission of an organization may be important in selecting an internship opportunity. These decisions are yours, but here are some ideas on where to search for an internship sponsor:

  • Access UWM’s Career Development Center’s job/internship page
  • Access other web sites devoted to internships (e.g., www.internshipprograms.com)
  • Seek out information from organizations that you are attracted to about the internship experiences they sponsor (keep in mind that all opportunities must be publicly advertised – see Student and Sponsor Guidelines for Communication Internships).
  • You are also free to contact an agency or organization to inquire if it has an internship program. Keep in mind that many agencies and organizations post their internship opportunities on their company websites. However, all sponsors must publicly advertise the availability of the internship in a manner that allows equal and sufficient access to the posting by all UW–Milwaukee students. The Department of Communication will make no exceptions to this rule. A list of Wisconsin Fortune 500 Companies (pdf) that offer internships is also available to download. This list includes the company title, location, and a link to the career page on the company website which lists employment/internship opportunities available at the company.
  • If you are planning to do an internship with a sponsor NOT listed or posted on UWM’s CDC website you must provide the Internship Director with a copy of the internship advertisement.
  • You are responsible for making all necessary arrangements to contact and interview the prospective agency or organizational internship sponsor(s).
  • Contact the organization to ask about the availability of the internship and discuss your interest. However, if the organization indicates that you should not call them, please respect their wishes. Be certain to follow the application instructions per their advertisement.
  • Application materials usually include a well-written cover letter, resume, and any other materials requested by the sponsoring organization. If you’d like assistance with any of these materials, contact UW–Milwaukee’s Career Development Center (414-229-4486 – Mellencamp Hall 128). The CDC will review your letter and resume and offer suggestions.
  • Like all job searches, finding an organization willing to sponsor you in an internship takes time and patience. The chances are that you will be rejected by some organizations. However, keep trying!
  • Once you find an organization willing to sponsor you in an internship, you need to apply to register for Commun 298 or 698.

 

Q: How do I receive course or academic credit for participating in an internship?
A: Academic or course credit is NOT given for participating in an internship. Academic or course credit may only be earned upon the successful completion of academic exercises (e.g. papers, readings) completed during the semester you are working at the organization or company that is sponsoring your internship experience. The Department of Communication offers two undergraduate courses that can be taken during the semester you participate in your internship. They are: Commun 298 and Commun 698.

Commun 298 is designed to provide students with an opportunity to:

  • Examine professional workplace communication issues
  • Develop skills and experience while engaging in the work of an entry-level professional

Commun 698 provides students the opportunity to:

  • Examine professional workplace communication issues
  • Develop skills and experience while engaging in the work of an entry-level professional
  • Apply and evaluate content learned from Communication courses
  • Synthesize coursework and “real-world” experience within the framework of a graded case study project/term paper

 

Q: What requirements do I need to meet to register for Commun 298 or 698?
A: General Internship Requirements and Rules

  • All internships must adhere to the requirements listed in the Student and Sponsor Guidelines for Communication Internships
  • No student can receive academic credit for more than one internship per semester
  • Commun 298 may be taken for 1-3 credits
  • Commun 698 may be taken for 3 credits
  • Students can retake either Commun 298 or 698 with a change in organization for a maximum of 6 credits in each course
  • Students are not allowed to enroll in both 298 and 698 during the same semester
  • The minimum number of internship hours required by the Department of Communication is 40 hours per 1 academic credit. Therefore, registering for 3 credits requires the student to work a minimum of 120 hours during the semester. Failure to meet the minimum hours requirement may result in failing the course or a reduction in final course grade. Students are required to submit weekly time sheets.
  • Academic credit is not given for the time spent or activities completed during the internship/work experience. Instead, academic credit is given upon the successful completion of academic exercises completed during and related to the internship.

Commun 298 Prerequisites

Prior to enrolling in Commun 298, Internship in Communication, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a cumulative overall GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Received written confirmation that you have been accepted for an internship from a sponsoring agency or organization
  • Received written consent from the Communication Internship Director to enroll in Commun 298

Commun 698 Prerequisites

Prior to enrolling in Commun 698, Internship in Communication, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Achieved junior status
  • Completed of GER English composition and mathematics requirement
  • Completed Commun 101, 103 and 105
  • Declared Commun major or approved program of study
  • Earned a minimum of nine hours of 300-level or above Communication course credits
  • Achieved a cumulative overall GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Received written confirmation that you have been accepted for an internship from a sponsoring agency or organization
  • Received written consent from the Communication Internship Director to enroll in Commun 698

Be certain that you meet all of these requirements before looking for an internship. The Department of Communication will make no exceptions to these requirements.

 

Q: How do I enroll in Commun 298 or 698?
A: If you would like to receive academic credit related to your internship, you will need to enroll in either Commun 298 or 698. Prior to registering for Commun 298 or 698 Internship in Communication you must:

  1. Read the Student and Sponsor Guidelines for Communication Internships
  2. Complete and return an Application to Register for Commun 298 or 698
  3. Email an electronic copy of your UWM transcript

Your completed application should be returned to the Department of Communication via email or surface mail.

UWM Transcript

You must submit, in addition to your Commun 298 & 698 Application, an electronic copy of your UW–Milwaukee transcript. Your transcript can be obtained from PAWS. Your transcript will be in PDF file.

Your transcript should be emailed to Professor Fonner at fonner@uwm.edu

You are not permitted to register for Commun 298 or 698 Internship in Communication until your application has been approved by the Department of Communication.

Professor Fonner will notify you by email when your application has been approved. After receiving confirmation that your application has been approved, you may enroll in Commun 298 or 698 using the PAWS registration procedures.

 

Q: What learning activities will I be expected to do in Commun 298 or 698?
A: This course relies on participating in fieldwork and online learning activities. The online instruction is delivered through a learning management system (Desire to Learn aka D2L), which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using either on or off campus computers.

You should expect to spend approximately four to six hours per week participating in and preparing for course activities and assignments in addition to time you spend working for your internship sponsor.

You will responsible for the following learning activities:

Readings

We will be reading book chapters and articles during the semester. You will be required to read this material and be willing and able to post questions and reflections regarding these readings.

Exercises

There will be weekly learning exercises. These assignments will be posted on our course site and will include:

  • discussing various issues related to workplace communication
  • finding, posting, and reporting on additional readings and resources (Websites) related to the week’s discussion topic
  • responding to other classmates’ postings

Case Study Project:

Students enrolled in Commun 698, in addition to completing course readings and exercises, must also complete an Internship Case Study Project. This assignment requires you to create a case study about a communication issue in the organization in which you are currently interning at. The specifics of the project will depend on your interests and goals. Each project requires extensive research literature research. The final project must be between fifteen and eighteen pages, excluding references.

 

Q: If I have additional questions, whom do I contact?
A:

Kathryn Fonner
Associate Professor; Internship Director,
Department of Communication
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
fonner@uwm.edu