Frequently Asked Questions for Students

Why undertake an internship?
An internship will provide you with real world experiences with writing in a professional setting. Many times, students leave the university with no work-related experiences in their major area, and they are unsure of the job possibilities available to them. An internship will provide you with a better idea of what you can do with a Professional Writing degree, and it will help smooth the transition between school and work. The experience will also help you know how to market your skills after graduation.

What kinds of internships are available to students?
Professional writing students have a variety of internships available to them. We have relationships with local businesses and agencies where we regularly place students, including local businesses, university departments, and non-profit agencies. The internship coordinator will work with you on finding an internship suitable to your needs and on establishing contact with the internship sponsor. Students are also welcome to seek out other local internships, as long as they are professional writing-intensive. These outside internships should be approved by the internship coordinator.

What kinds of writing tasks will I perform during the internship?
Students perform a variety of different tasks depending on their interests and skills. Internship opportunities available to students could allow them to develop promotional and marketing materials, design and test websites, produce manuals and training materials, develop documentation for software or computer products, copyedit documents, write press releases or news articles, compose and revise policy documents, research and write grant applications, assist in book/journal/magazine publishing processes, or create tutorials and other help materials. There may be even more possibilities depending on the internship.

What do I need to qualify for one of these internships?
In order to qualify, the student should be a junior or senior Professional Writing major with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The student should have significant coursework in the PW major and have supporting coursework in the specific area of the internship (for instance, students without coursework in technical writing would not be qualified for a tech writing internship). The student will also need to have time in his or her schedule for at least 8-10 hours of internship work per week during the Spring semester.

After I decide to undertake an internship, what do I need to do?
The first thing a student should do is contact the internship coordinator at the beginning of the Fall semester or at the time of Spring registration. You will need to make an appointment to discuss the internship and bring a recent copy of your resume with you to the meeting. With approval, you will sign up for English 488, which is offered in the Spring semester. You will also need to send a professional email/phone call to the internship contact to set up an initial meeting.

Why do I need to take the English 488 course?
The English 488 course is the companion to the internship experience. It is a course in applied rhetoric where we share one another's internship experiences, analyze and discuss the workplace environment, and receive feedback from each other on work-related projects. In short, English 488 is a support course in which students are asked to reflect on what and how they are learning in their internships.The latest syllabus and course materials are available on the Documents page.

Are there any paid internships?
Very few internships are able to offer monetary compensation for the internship experience. The vast majority of internships are unpaid.

I would like to get a summer internship. What can I do?
You can examine the supplemental resources on the internship possibilities webpage for potential summer internships. I also recommend that you develop a portfolio of your professional work and update your resume.