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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I earn academic credit for an internship?

A: In many cases, yes, you can earn credit. University of Dayton Department of Communication majors can take Communication Internship, CMM 498, which provides an academic component to your professional work experience. Internships suitable for credit must:

  • Offer professional training in your field. You must learn during your internship, not just do busy work.
  • Provide supervision. You must be based in an office and meet frequently with your workplace supervisor/mentor to discuss your work, progress, objectives,challenges, etc.
  • Further your understanding of a career field and/or build upon your coursework.
  • Increase your employability in your career field:
    • 40 hours of work per one credit hour during the semester,
    • 80 working hours for two academic credits,
    • 120 working hours for three credits. 
  • the Internship Learning Agreement and its addendums, including resume and internship educational objectives,
  • two to three progress reports, with the number depending upon credits earned,
  • professional portfolio with all required documents, including a minimum of five work products created/developed by the student on the job, reflection paper, updated cover letter and updated resume,
  • Full details on the course work are in the CMM 498 Syllabus.


Q. How is CMM 498: Communication Internship graded?


A. Students do not earn specific grades for CMM 498, but instead they "successfully complete" or "fail" the course.

Q. How can I register for CMM 498?


A. You can register for CMM 498: Communication Internship by permission only, through the Department of Communication Internship Coordinator. The coordinator will register you online when possible or will sign you into the course with a drop/add form, which you then will file with the Office of the Registrar. The University of Dayton online course schedule may indicate that CMM 498 is full, but this course is never full.


Q. I just found out that I have an internship but the University course addition deadline has passed. Can I still add CMM 498?


A. Maybe. Because CMM 498 is by permission only and requires independent work, there is some leeway in the registrar’s deadline. CMM 498 has its own deadlines for academic reasons that help enhance the internship experience for the student. Generally, you should add the course no later than two weeks after beginning internship work and absolutely no later than week eight of the semester. During the summer, you must be registered for CMM 498 no later than two weeks after beginning internship work and absolutely no later than the first day of the second summer session. For exact dates, see UD's Academic Calendar.


Q. What fees are associated with CMM 498?


A. Fees for CMM 498 are the same as for any other credit-bearing course. Fees are based on your residence status (in-state or other) and the number of semester hours for which you are enrolled. For information about UD course costs, check with the Office of the Bursar.


Q. Can I defer tuition for CMM 498 taken during the summer and apply it during the fall or spring term?


A. No. Tuition is applied during the semester in which you take CMM 498 or any other course. That is a long-standing policy of the University and the Department of Communication.


Q. Can I get credit for an internship that I've already completed?


A. No. The Department of Communication does not award academic credit retroactively. There are no exceptions. The department and the Internship Coordinator are very accommodating and will work with students to process their preliminary course work quickly to register for CMM 498: Communication Internship, even after they have started their internship. But plan ahead and be aware of deadlines.


Q. Can I get additional internship credit for working at the same organization that I worked for in the past semester?


A. It depends. If you are already earned three semester hours during the previous semester, then your request for additional credit goes into a special circumstance category. Because you will be working for the same institution, the concern is that you will continue the same work. In that case, it would be similar to taking the same class twice. But if the organization agrees to give you more responsibility, move you into a different area, or assign you to a different, more challenging project, then taking CMM 498 for additional credit might very well be justified and worthwhile.


Q. Why are some internships denied for eligibility for CMM 498?


A. The most common reason for denying internships is that they do not offer professional training and experience in the student's chosen communication field. Internships must be educational experiences in journalism, electronic media, public relations or communication management that will enhance the student's qualifications for future internships or jobs. Some advertised internships are nothing more than menial labor that high school students could easily do. Unfortunately, many radio stations offer these kinds of positions.
 Another common reason for denying internships is that the sponsoring organization has no one knowledgeable in the specific communication field to regularly and routinely supervise the intern's work to provide that learning experience. An example is an organization without any paid, experienced employees in communication and is seeking an intern to fill the gap. That would be a crucial shortcoming.


Q. How do I know if my proposed internship deals with my communication field and that I will be supervised by a qualified employee?


A. Obtain the organization's job description for the internship, usually found on the organization's web site or in the posted notice that enticed you to apply. If no written description exists, ask the employer to draft one. The job description doesn't have to be long or fancy, but it should specify tasks and projects. If you find nothing in writing about supervision and mentorship, ask the employer in advance. The Department of Communication requires that an intern's supervisor have at least three years of prior experience in the specific communication field. The organization will need to clearly demonstrate that you will be working in your professional field under a qualified supervisor as part of the Department of Communication Internship Learning Agreement.


Q. Can I still earn credit if the internship is paid?


A. Yes. In fact, it is better for the student and the employer if the internship offers a salary or at least a stipend. That way, you won't have to get another, paying job to cover your expenses and tuition. If the internship offers compensation, then you will have more time and energy to devote to internship work and to your studies.


Q. Should I take an unpaid internship?


A. The decision is yours. Keep in mind that you would be working for free and, if you get academic credit, you also would be paying tuition. To determine whether you should or could afford to take an unpaid internship, evaluate the organization's ability to pay, the training that you would receive, work requirements, and your financial situation. You might want to ask the organization's internship supervisor for compensation of your tuition since many organizations don't realize you are paying for credits or to provide some other stipend. It doesn't hurt to ask.


Q. Are there advantages to doing an unpaid internship?


A. Some budget-strapped nonprofits and government agencies might be providing a valued, important community service that interest you and you find worthwhile. Some organizations that do not pay might be more flexible about work schedules than those that pay. On the other hand, organizations offering paid internships are more likely to treat their interns as regular members of their staff.


Q. Aren't nonprofit organizations too poor to pay salaries to interns?


A. Perceptions of nonprofits as habitually poor charities are based on a flawed stereotype. Many large, national nonprofits have multimillion-dollar incomes and can afford to pay interns and some do. But it's also true that some local nonprofits are serving the community on ever-eroding budgets. You might consider doing a for-credit internship at a large nonprofit and doing a non-credit internship at a small nonprofit to gain the experience you seek. Visit GuideStar for information about non profile organizations (www)>>


Q. What does it mean when an organization says that it doesn't pay interns but does offer academic credit?


A. The Department of Communication is responsible for awarding academic credit for internships, not the organization. Internships at all appropriate organizations are eligible for academic credit for students who meet the course prerequisites. But keep in mind that if you want credit, you must take action and follow the procedures for enrolling in CMM 498: Communication Internship. Some organizations with a no-pay policy most often broadcast companies will only take student workers who are enrolled in an academic internship course due to concerns about legal, union and insurance issues.


Q. What should I do if an organization says it will consider me for an internship only after I'm registered for academic internship credit?


A. Organizations that require internship candidates to register before being selected for the post do not understand university registration procedures. It is pointless, and potentially costly, for you to register for CMM 498: Communication Internship when you don't know whether you have secured the position. If you don't get the internship, then you would have to drop the course and could face late fees. You will have also wasted time and energy completing preliminary course work for CMM 498 time better spent on your other courses. If an organization says you must get academic credit, make sure that you are eligible to take CMM 498 and that the internship qualifies. If you need to double-check eligibility, confer with the Department of Communication Internship Coordinator. Then you can promise the organization that you will register if and when you have been selected for the position. The Communication Internship Coordinator can write a letter to the organization confirming your registration, upon request. Be sure that you complete those preliminary requirements in a timely fashion in order to register for CMM 498. See the Course Syllabus and Course Checklist for details.

Q. Will the Internship Coordinator find a job for me?


A. No. The Internship Coordinator can provide advice on how to search for an internship. The coordinator has directories and posts notices of internships that come into the office from around the state of Ohio and the nation. These notices are sent by e-mail on regular basis to all communication majors. The coordinator also meets with representatives of local companies and organizations to encourage them to offer internships to UD communication majors. Time permitting, the Internship Coordinator searches the Internet and professional associations in communication fields for information about internships at nationally known companies and posts those for students. It is also encouraged that students take advantage of UD Career Services' Hire Flyer job postings.


Q. Will the Internship Coordinator review my resume and cover letter when I am looking for an internship?


A. Yes. The resume and a cover letter are part of the requirements for CMM 498: Communication Internship, so the Internship Coordinator will be happy to review this material and provide feedback. Also consider using the services of UD Career Services, which offers professional workshops, one-on-one counseling, computer programs and templates for internship and job hunting resumes. Roesch Library also has self-help books on resume writing. Ask a librarian for help to locate a book, if you cannot find one. After experimenting with a few designs and drafts, bring your best ones in to the Internship Coordinator for feedback.


Q. My internship ends a few weeks after the end of the semester. Can I turn in my final coursework for CMM 498 after the term?


A. No. The professional portfolio, the final requirement for CMM 498, must be received by the Communication Internship Coordinator no later than 4 p.m. on the first day of examinations, regardless of when your internship ends. You can still add additional material to your portfolio after the semester. The portfolio is for your benefit. Keep adding to it so that you have a tangible record of your skills and accomplishments in addition to your electronic version. You can use this material to demonstrate your abilities to the next employer.


Q. After I have take CMM 498, when will my portfolio be returned to me?


A. You can pick up your portfolio the week after final examinations. If you need it sooner for a job interview, contact the Internship Coordinator as soon as possible. We will do our best to have it ready for you quickly. All unclaimed portfolios are kept in the Department of Communication main office for approximately six weeks after the semester ends. Then, any remaining portfolios must be discarded because of space limitations. Be sure to pick up your portfolios as soon as possible. After all, you prepared the portfolio not only for the course, but to help you secure new internships and jobs.


Q. Can I change the number of semester hours for which I am registered later in the semester?


A. Yes. But you must drop the course with the original semester hours and add the course with different semester hours. Doing so requires approval of the Internship Coordinator and Department of Communication chair which is usually not a problem. You may be charged late fees to process the necessary paperwork. Check with the Office of the Bursar on deadlines and fees.


Q. How much course work is required for CMM 498: Communication Internship in order to earn academic credit?


A. Course work for CMM 498 is modest. For that reason, students enrolled in the course must successfully complete all requirements in order to pass the course. Generally, students must review the Pre-requisites for Communication Internship, CMM 498, on the Department Communication Internship to see if you and the job meet the course criteria. If you and the job do, review the Course Requirements and the Internship Learning Agreement, which spell out responsibilities of the participants. If you are still interested in pursuing academic credit, then begin formulating your education objectives which are part of the Internship Learning Agreement. After completing a draft of your objectives, see the Communication Internship Coordinator, who will help you finalize your goals for a successful and productive internship. Then you will settle into your internship, filing two to three progress reports and preparing a professional portfolio. See syllabus for more information.


Q: How many semester hours can I get for an internship?


A. You can earn one, two or three semester hours for a single internship, depending on the hours worked and your needs. In special cases, you can seek additional credit for a different internship in another semester. But keep in mind that you cannot acquire more than a total of six semester hours for both Communication Internship, CMM 498, and Independent Study, CMM 398, during your entire time at UD. Keep track of your semester hours.


Q. How many hours do I have to work at an internship to earn credit?


A: That depends on the number of semester hours you enroll in for CMM 498. Divide the 120, 80 or 40 hours by about 13 semester weeks to get a weekly hourly requirement. The Communication Internship Coordinator recommends that students in fall term end their internship around Thanksgiving because of the holiday and upcoming exams, unless you intend to work during December. Spring internships usually wrap up at the end of April to allow you time to prepare final papers and for exams. Students have more flexibility during summers, some students work up to 40 hours a week but for fewer weeks.