Internship and Practicum Program
Overview for Students
School of Journalism and Strategic Media students are required to complete a practicum or internship to add a professional learning experience to class skills. A practicum is usually completed at on-campus organizations, such as Sidelines, WMOT-FM or MTSU Athletics. Internships are placements with professional organizations such as advertising or public relations, newspapers or magazines, television or radio stations, hospitals, or graphics and web firms. You are not guaranteed an internship or practicum by the School of Journalism and Strategic Media. Just like your job search after graduation, landing a practicum or internship is an early step towards eventual employment.
Look for practicum or internship opportunities with companies or media organizations you already know about. The School of Journalism and Strategic Media receives postings from employers regarding internship opportunities but a review of a company website or a telephone call can help you identify the proper contact for an internship. Ask your advisors or SoJ faculty for suggestions. Have the practicum or internship approved by the School of Journalism and Strategic Media and obtain a permit to register for internship credit. And, remember to add the class to your schedule!
What to complete prior to registering:
- Secure an approved internship
- Complete and submit the internship application and supporting materials
- Complete and submit the learning agreement
What to expect from an internship
- A work environment that treats you professionally
- Tasks that are meaningful and relevant to your training and career expectations
- The tasks you complete may include some routine office duties. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Your goal is to learn about the organization and the people working there.
- A supervisor/mentor at your place of employment
- A work schedule that is agreed upon by you and your employer
- An evaluation at least once during the semester by your supervisor. You are encouraged to discuss your progress with your supervisor.
- A grade at the completion of the internship and successful completion of the course requirements. Practicum and internship students earn a Pass or Fail final grade.
- Payment, if any, from your employer as established in the initial internship or practicum offer. Be aware that some internships are unpaid.
What is expected of you
- Professional behavior in the workplace: arrive on time and dressed appropriately for work
- Act in accordance with MTSU and School of Journalism and Strategic Media policies, rules and regulations (this includes policies governing academic integrity, sexual harassment, or non-discrimination)
- Communicate with the internship coordinator regarding aspects of the internship/practicum
To receive a passing grade
- Register for the internship/practicum course
- Complete all the course requirements in the syllabus
- Attend meetings with the internship coordinator as needed and scheduled.
What happens if you don’t receive notice you’ve been selected for the internship until after the semester begins?
- Try to complete as much of the approval notice before the semester begins. If the selection comes after registration ends, you will have an option to register for an accelerated term practicum or internship experience.
- We do NOT award practicum or internship credit after-the-fact.
Hiring, Firing and Quitting
You are governed by the hiring, firing and quitting practices of your internship provider. Once you have accepted an internship, you have committed to complete the required number of hours during the semester for which you have registered. If a problem arrives, contact the SoJ internship coordinator.
You represent yourself, the School of Journalism and Strategic Media and MTSU during your time as an intern. Act in accordance with MTSU policies, rules and regulations.
Check the dates and restrictions in the MTSU Course Schedule. Register early to avoid late registration fees.
Grade of Incomplete
You may receive an incomplete as your grade for the internship or practicum course if you do not finish the placement hours or reports by the time grades are due. An Incomplete will become an F if you do not turn in your final work.
To register for an internship or practicum, the School of Journalism and Strategic Media representative will look for the following items
|Yes||No||Resume AND cover letter|
|Yes||No||Learning agreement form|
|Yes||No||Student has upper division standing|
|Yes||No||Internship or practicum placement approved by internship coordinator|
Overview for Employers
Internships allow companies to contribute to the educational experiences of students. The School of Journalism and Strategic Media at Middle Tennessee State University is dedicated to providing beneficial and relevant internship experiences. As an intern, you are not there to replace a full-time or part-time worker. An internship or practicum is an opportunity for you to observe and learn.
The internship or practicum should reflect the student’s concentration area. When students or employers approach one another directly, the internship must still meet the school’s internship requirements before a student will be allowed to register for the class.
- Interns must be treated in the manner required by State, Federal, and local law, including wage payment laws. Employers should consult with their private legal counsel in this regard.
- Employers wishing to provide unpaid internships should discuss the proposed internship with their private legal counsel to determine whether payment is required under U.S. Department of Labor criteria.
- Practicum or internship students must complete a minimum number of experiential hours to receive credit. Here are the minimum requirements:
- 1 credit hour = 75 work hours within the semester
- 2 credit hours = 150 work hours within the semester
- 3 credit hours = 225 work hours within the semester
Supervisors, mentors or others evaluating the student may not be family or friends of the student.
What we expect from employers
To participate in our internship program, we expect you to:
- Submit an agreed to and signed placement agreement.
- Provide the intern with tasks that are meaningful and relevant to the student’s education and career expectation.
- Provide the intern a workspace and equipment needed to perform requested tasks.
- Provide the intern with a supervisor/mentor who has experience in the area of the student’s internship.
- Monitor student hours to ensure a minimum number of required hours are completed.
- Complete and submit evaluations of the intern’s performance as requested by the coordinator.
- Communicate with the internship coordinator if issues arise.
Applications are due prior to registering for internship/practicum. If you register late, you may be subject to late fees as specified by university registration. If you have questions about the internship process, contact Dr. Katie Foss at Katie.Foss@mtsu.edu or Leann McBride at Leann.McBride@mtsu.edu.
Please note that internship and practicum sessions will never fill or close. SoJSM must approve all student applications, but the goal is to give approval and get students enrolled in the term and with the employer requested.
Minimum Registration Requirements
To participate in an internship/practicum you must:
- Have at least junior standing
- Have no grades of incomplete in previous attempts at the internship course
- Have completed an appropriate mix of classes to prepare you for the internship or practicum.
Internship/Practicum Application Requirements
- Please attach a cover letter and resume to your internship application. The cover letter should be written to the person who administers internships or practicums at the firm where you wish to be placed.
- Completed Learning Agreement form