Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should I do my internship?
A: The best time is during your junior or senior year, or the summer in between. That way you can show employers you had recent experience in a position-related work environment while also having completed essential foundational courses.

Q: Does the Communication Department assign internships, or can I choose one?
A: While the Department can assign you to a particular internship, it's far better if you use the internship opportunity as practice in obtaining your first job. That means contacting the internship provider yourself. The Department has a large collection of available internships, locally and nationally (including support offices at Valparaiso University), on file. Just stop by and ask to see the internship descriptions. Regardless of where your internship will be, it must be approved in advance by the appropriate Internship Coordinator.

Q: Will my internship provider require me to provide anything prior to starting?
A: Some providers, particularly radio and television stations, may want a letter from the department chair confirming that you will be a VU student while taking the internship. See Dr. Steinwart ( if you need such a letter.

Q: Do I have to be registered for COMM 386 to receive internship credit?
A: Yes. No exceptions. In particular, students doing internships in the summer must be sure they have registered for, and paid for, COMM 386 through the Registrar's office in Kretzmann Hall.

Q: What kind of internship work qualifies for COMM 386 credit?
A: Generally, internships which have counterparts in the courses taught in the department of Communication qualify.
Those would include:

  • Public relations agency work (PR activities in nonprofit and corporate environments, media contacts, and special events)
  • Print/PR reporting and editing (newspapers, magazines, and newsletters)
  • Web/print designing (desktop publishing)
  • Broadcast/cable production (audio and video)
  • Broadcast/cable reporting (including radio)
  • Internet support positions (Webmastering, including html editing, and other approved work with Internet Service Providers)
  • Law firm office operations
  • Non-profit communication work

Q: What kind of internships aren't allowed for Communication credit?
A: Advertising and telemarketing/sales positions. The department does not teach courses in these areas.

Q: Are internships paid?
A: Some are, most aren't.

Q: Can I take an internship on campus?
A: Several VU support offices offer internships. See the appropriate Internship Coordinator for more information.

Q: If I'm not a Communication major, can I register for COMM 386?
A: No. The department maintains its internship program for the benefit of its majors. Exceptions: with approval from the Internship Coordinator, some Communication minors, or those with individualized majors with significant Communication components, may sometimes be approved for enrollment in COMM 386. See the Internship Coordinator.

Q. Will the internship provider place any limits on what I can do during the internship?
A. Providers vary in what they will need interns to do. Some providers, particularly television stations in major markets (e.g., Chicago) may place significant limitations on what interns may do, because of union work rules. In such environments, the intern may be restricted to observation only. Students will need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of an internship which has such restrictions.