College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

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Steps in the Process

What is an internship?

The Department of Communication and Media has developed an internship program to provide academic credit for professional experience related to your course of study. The goal is to provide you with a learning experience that allows you to synthesize your course work with experience in professional settings. An internship serves as a useful bridge from academia to the work world and will greatly enhance your job possibilities.

Most internships are unpaid positions. An organization offers you a learning experience in exchange for your labor. Internship credit is not given for doing clerical work or working in your family business. An internship is a structured learning experience; it is not a way to get academic credit for a job you would have anyway. Your internship placement is meant to provide both significant, professional experience that goes beyond the repetitive and limited tasks involved in most minimum wage jobs and with contacts in your chosen field.

Credits are not given retroactively. You must earn internship credits during the semester you are performing the internship. Internships are not possible over the winter break as school is not in session.

You must have departmental approval to seek an internship as well as for your internship placement, and you must enroll in a one-credit seminar that runs concurrently with your internship experience.

You may take more than one internship during your college career as long as the total credits do not exceed 15. In most cases, you will want to plan your internship for the last term of your senior year.

Journalism Majors: Journalism majors must complete an internship. While an internship at the Legislative Gazette, the department's weekly newspaper in Albany, is preferred, internships at other media outlets are allowed. Journalism students should consult with their advisors before making a decision.

Requirements for departmental approval for an internship.

  • You MUST have a minimum overall and Communication & Media grade point average of 2.5.
  • You MUST have completed 18 credits in Communication and Media Department. You also may be required to complete specific courses related to your internship.
  • You MUST have completed one year in residence at New Paltz before doing an internship through us.
  • You MUST be at least a junior (61 or more credits completed). Again, we strongly encourage students to intern during their senior year.
  • Journalism and Public Relations majors must complete two writing courses from the following list to be eligible for an internship: Journalism 1, Journalism 2, Feature Writing, Public Affairs Reporting, and Public Relations 1.

You MUST apply for departmental approval to seek an internship before the following deadlines unless otherwise notified by the faculty internship director.

  • For Spring Semester Internships - The Second Friday in November
  • For Summer Session Internships- The Second Friday in March
  • For Fall Semester Internships- The Second Friday in April

Overview of the steps in process

FIRST: You must get departmental approval BEFORE you look for a placement. These are things the Director of Internships must have to approve you for an internship:

  1. A completed application form
  2. A resume including local and home address
  3. An updated copy of your transcript or progress (DARS) report

SECOND: You must register. If this is your first internship, you must sign-up for both internship credits and the Internship Seminar. If this is your second internship, you do not need to take the Seminar again, but you must complete all of the appropriate forms. You may preregister for the Internship Seminar and the internship credits before you have actually secured an internship. The Seminar (CMM491) is a 1-credit course. Register for the combination of Internship classes (CMM490, sections 94-97) that total the number of credits of your internship. Legislative Gazette interns do not need to take the Seminar and must register for JRN461, 462 and 463.

If your internship placement is not approved (see below), you will need to drop those courses.

THIRD: You must find an acceptable placement in an organization. Finding a placement is just like a job search. The internship coordinator can help you by making suggestions, but the responsibility rests with you to be pro-active. These are the things the Director of Internships must have AFTER you have a placement:

  • Internship Placement Approval Form: must be turned in two weeks prior to the start of the semester. Journalism placements for both majors and minors may also be approved by the Director of the Journalism program. All others are approved by the Internship Director.
  1. Intern Information Sheet: due at the first Seminar meeting
  2. Internship Letter of Agreement (Completed with on-site supervisor): due at the first Seminar meeting.

Often, intern sponsors require a letter from SUNY to confirm that you are a registered student approved for an internship. Contact the Director of Internships for the letter.

FOURTH: You must meet the requirements during your internship. These are some of the requirements to be completed DURING your internship:

  1. You must keep regularly scheduled hours at the sponsoring agency. Failure to attend work, frequent tardiness or other unprofessional behavior will result in forced withdrawal from the course.
  2. During the first week of your internship or sooner, you must complete the Internship Letter of Agreement as well as the Information Sheet.
  3. You will be required to participate in three intern seminar meetings scheduled during the semester of placement.
  4. You must regularly participate in Blackboard discussions and other assignments as specified in the Seminar Syllabus.
  5. You will need to complete a final term project.
  6. You will secure a final evaluation from your on-site supervisor.
  7. It is your responsibility to keep in touch with the Director of Interns, if questions arise, and to make sure you meet all requirements. Normally, email is most the most efficient means of communication.
  8. You will be required to complete an evaluation of your internship placement.
  9. If you have questions or problems during your internship, contact your coordinator right away. Problems might include: not being assigned to the types of activities described in the Letter of Agreement; being asked to spend more hours at the agency than indicated; not receiving feedback about your progress. Don't let questions or problems wait.

 How you find an internship placement

Once the department has approved you for an internship, you can then begin to look for a specific placement related to your individual interests. However, the Director of Internships must approve your final placement.

There is a list on the web site of some of the sites where Communication and Media students have done internships. In some cases, you will note the email of a student who has agreed to be available to discuss the internship with you. You can open an account at eRecruiting.com through the Career Resource Center web site. The college subscribes to this service so you have better access as a New Paltz student. Also, most large companies have information on their web sits about internship opportunities. Individual faculty members can also provide suggestions. It is up to you to contact sponsoring agencies and gain their approval for your internship with them. Passing the department's screening process does not guarantee placement.

What the sponsoring/placement agency must provide

The sponsoring agency must be willing to assign an on-site supervisor who will develop a specific description of the tasks for the internship (See Internship Letter of Agreement). We view an internship as a stepping stone to professional employment, so we prefer that you develop professional-level skills. While we know that stuffing envelopes and answering phones is a part of any entry-level job, we do not want you to be unpaid clerical workers. The sponsoring agency must provide an on-site supervisor who will train you. We request that a supervisor provide a minimum of one hour a week in directing your activities. Good supervisors spend more time, particularly in the first weeks of orientation.

In addition, the sponsoring agency must allow you time to attend three seminars on the New Paltz campus during the course of the semester. The on-site supervisor must also be willing to evaluate your performance during the course of the semester.

For more information contact:

Robert Miller, Director of Internships in Communication & Media
Phone: (845) 257-3462
Office: SB 49
E-mail: millerr@newpaltz.edu
Department of Communication & Media
SUNY New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, New York 12561-2443