If you cannot find the answer to your question below, please feel free to contact us!
What does the Internship & Career Services Office do?
From the day students enter the program to the day they graduate, the Internship & Career Services Office is here to help with any form of career preparation. We help students and alumni connect with each other as well as experience providers as they seek to further their knowledge and skills in the field of communications.
Each student in the Communications program is required to complete an internship prior to graduating. The Internship & Career Services Office is responsible for spreading awareness of various internship/job opportunities as well as helping students register and complete the academic internship course required to graduate.
Why do I need an Internship?
Finding work can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any experience. Yet to get experience, you must first find a job! It’s a difficult obstacle to get around, but an internship is a good way to do it!
Internships provide work experience opportunities to university students, recent graduates, and people considering career changes. Employers are willing to hire interns with little or no experience, especially if the intern is willing to accept little or no monetary compensation. You might think working for free isn’t worth it, but the benefits of an internship extend far beyond a pay check. Internships can help you:
- Gain Valuable Work Experience
- Have an Edge in the Job Market
- Transition into a Job
- Decide if this is the Right Career for You
- Networking Opportunities
- Apply Classroom Knowledge
- Gain Confidence in the Workplace
The Communications program at BYU requires students to register and complete an academic internship course as part of its rigorous program in an effort to better prepare it’s students for life after graduation.
How do I find an internship?
There are infinite ways to go about this, but we’ve provided some basic recommendations below.
- Pick an appropriate location
- Think about places it would be feasible for you to live. Do you have a grandparent in Texas? An old mission companion in D.C.? While internships in New York City or San Francisco can be great, you should be mindful of housing costs in the location of your internship. Since many internships are for college credit and not cash, you’ll want to find a place that you can reasonably live and survive without taking out another loan.
- Research companies in your field of study and location of interest
- You should start by looking up websites and HR contacts for the agencies/organizations/businesses you are interested in. As you become familiar with the company ahead of time, you can narrow your search to places that have the office culture/environment you’re looking for. If you’re not interested in Healthcare PR, don’t apply to an internship at a hospital. Being familiar with a company before you interview also gives you a leg up on your competition.
- Once you’ve decided on a few locations, think about the resources in that area. Is there a university job site you could look on for that area? Have you inquired with those on your social media network? People are always wanting to help their friends. If you have family/friends in Arizona, start by asking them if they know of anything!
- Don’t be afraid to ask
- If you do not see any internships available online, ask someone! Some places don’t know they need an intern until someone asks them to be one. You can also explore your current professional network. Ask your friends, family and co-workers if they know of anyone looking for a(n) ____ intern. Be professional throughout all your communications and requests, but never be afraid to tell people you’re looking for an internship.
- Perfecting your application
- Before you apply, make sure to get as much information about the position and application as possible. The more you know, the more you can cater your resume, cover letter, and portfolio to fit the needs of your potential employers. Have several people look over your application materials to ensure there are no typos. If you’d like, you can do a mock-interview with Colton Griffiths in Career Services (2410 WSC). He also does resume and cover letter critiques throughout the semester in both 2410 WSC and 280 BRMB.
- Interview with Confidence
- Be sure to represent yourself well to your potential future employer. A firm handshake, well groomed hair and professional attire are all things you can be judged on before you even open your mouth. Tips on how to dress for an interview, commonly asked interview questions, and other helpful resources are available here.
- Follow up
- If interviewed, be sure to send a “Thank-you” note within 24 hours. Hand-written is great, but at the very least, an email. If you are not contacted by the company within 10 days of the application deadline, call or email to check on the status of your application. If the position has been filled, be gracious and ask about other opportunities within the company or how you could improve for future applications.
- APPLY, APPLY, APPLY!
- The odds of securing an internship go up significantly when you apply to several opportunities. Make sure you are not sending a generic letter/resume to every single employer. Tailor your materials to each employer and be careful that you’re not sending cover letter “A” to employer “B.” If you find yourself getting impatient waiting for an interview or a response from an employer, take a walk or call a friend. Do not hastily email the potential employer or pester them for an interview. Finding interns is the last thing on their mind and you have to respect that. ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL!
Which internship course do I need to register for? (COMMS 399R or 496R) What is the difference?
COMMS 496R is required for all Communications students (except Comms Studies) to graduate, so you’re probably looking for that. The difference between 399R and 496R is as follows:
COMMS 399R is an optional, one-credit, pass/fail internship course. For students seeking a degree in communications, it will NOT count towards the requirements for graduation. This course is used ONLY in the following situations:
- Students doing internships that require academic credit, but have not yet finished the 496R prerequisites
- Comms Studies or Non-Communications majors (pre-majors, masters students, or non-majors)
- Students that have already taken COMMS 496R (COMMS 496R can only be taken once)
- International students that are required to register for off-campus work (in the field of communications)
COMMS 496R is the internship course required for all Communications emphases (except Comms Studies) to take prior to graduation. Students must register and pay tuition for the four-credit internship course concurrent with their internship experience. Prior to enrolling in this internship course, students must complete a series of prerequisites with a C- or better in each course.
I secured an internship, how do I register for academic credit?
First things first, you need to make sure the experience qualifies for the academic credit.
- Does the experience provide entry level work in your field (Communications: Advertising, News Media or Public Relations)?
- Does the experience provide direct supervision by a professional in your field (in person, and on a daily basis)?
- Does the experience provide you with enough hours of work?
- For 399R, make sure you can work 70 hours total
- For 496R, make sure you can work 280 hours total (minimum of 15 hrs/wk)
- Are you working with family or relatives of any kind? (Yes? Then it will NOT count)
If you answered yes to the first three questions and no to the last one, then your internship DOES qualify for credit. Now, simply follow the registration instructions HERE.
How can I know if this internship will be approved for the 496R credit?
Each internship that is used for the COMMS 496R credit must meet the following requirements:
- Experience provides entry level work in the student’s emphasis (Advertising, News Media, or Public Relations)
- Experience provides supervision by a professional in that same emphasis
- Experience provides a total of 280 hours of work over the course of 18 weeks or less (minimum of 15 hrs/wk)
- Student must not work with family members or in-laws of any kind
If you are not sure your job-description qualifies as “entry-level” work or if you are unsure about the supervisory role at the internship, please send Nicole Norris an email. Provide her with the internship description and a supervisor profile (either a resume or Linkedin account will work, resumes are preferred) and he will get back to you with an answer.
The hour requirement and anti-nepotism policy are non-negotiable.
What is a Master Agreement and why do I need it?
Brigham Young University has created the Internship Master Agreement because BYU carries liability insurance on each of our internship students. The insurance carrier requires Brigham Young University to have a written agreement in place to verify that the intern is covered under the plan. The insurance policy indemnifies the internship provider, Brigham Young University, and the student from any potential damages (view the Internship Master Agreement). If we do not have the agreement in place, the insurance carrier is likely to deny any claim filed. We hope that you will appreciate that this insurance coverage is a benefit to the internship provider and Brigham Young University.
Brigham Young University is often asked why many other schools do not require such an agreement. The reason is that many schools rely on some form of governmental immunity and so they do not carry similar liability insurance. Brigham Young University is a private institution and we believe it is prudent to carry insurance in order to protect ourselves and our interns. Brigham Young University has worked out agreements with many high level placements and government agencies using the Internship Master Agreement.
Who do I submit the Master Agreement to?
Once the Master Agreement has been signed by the experience provider, please submit it to either Nicole Norris or the Internship Office (firstname.lastname@example.org, 280 BRMB). The agreement will then be processed and an executed copy will be returned to both the experience provider and the school. Any questions about the agreement can be directed to the University Internship Office (801-422-3337).
I found an internship that starts mid-semester, how soon can I register & count hours?
You can register for an approved internship at any time during the year. The start date for the internship will determine which semester you can register for. If the discontinuance deadline for the current semester has already passed, you will register for the next closest semester/term.
If you have questions specific to your internship start date, please contact Nicole Norris
What do I do if my internship crosses over two semesters/terms?
Registration will take place as mentioned in the question above. In regards to grading, when the calendar start and end dates of your internship do not coincide with the start and end dates of a BYU semester or term, you will receive a T-grade while you finish the internship course. A grade of T indicates “course work in progress” and is used only when an internship extends beyond the semester or term in which it began. You can refer to the School of Communications T-Grade Policy for more information on T-grades.
You may also have the option to repeat COMMS 496R for 4.0 credit hours, if need be.
What is a T-Grade and how long does it last?
A grade of T indicates “course work in progress” and is used only when an internship may extend beyond the semester or term when it was begun. The T grade is to be used at the school’s discretion in the following cases:
- When the calendar start and end dates of a student’s internship do not coincide with the start and end dates of a BYU semester or term.
- When (in rare cases) students are not able to complete all the required hours on site for an internship within a given semester or term because the internship provider for some reason does not have enough meaningful work for the student to do for a period of two or three weeks. In such a case, a T grade may be given while the student completes additional work elsewhere to achieve the required hours.
- When a student is participating in an internship that extends across multiple semesters or terms. The student may enroll for the entire number of internship credits during the first semester or term and receive a T grade until the student completes the internship hours and course assignments, at which time the T grade will be changed to a letter grade.
A T grade will NOT be used as an incomplete. If the student simply does not hand in the required assignments on time, the student’s final grade will reflect the missing assignments. (For students who have legitimate difficulties that prevent them from completing work by the grade deadline, they should work with the professor to obtain an “Incomplete Contract” from the Records Office).
Changing T Grades to Letter Grades:
T grades should be changed to a regular letter grade as soon as the student completes the work. The university has granted individual departments permission to impose their own deadline for changing a T to a regular letter grade. T grades awarded for communications internships must be changed within one semester or term after the grade was awarded. NO EXCEPTIONS. After the one-semester/term grace period has ended, the student will be awarded a letter grade based on the assignments he or she has submitted. Points will be deducted for non-submission as outlined in the grading rubric.
Examples of T-Grade uses:
- Jenny registered and started her internship on October 20th and will not complete her hours until mid-February. At the end of Fall semester, she will receive a T and will have until the end of Winter semester to submit her assignments and receive a letter grade. On the last day of classes for Winter semester, Jenny will be awarded a grade based upon the assignments she submits (or the lack of).
- Ben registered and started his internship promptly at the beginning of Spring term. It is a part time internship and will span a 14-week period. Because of the timing of his internship, he will receive a T grade in Spring term and will have until the last day of class for Summer term to complete his hours and assignments.
- Hilary registered for her internship promptly at the beginning of Winter semester. She will be working part time and is expected to finish her internship in 14 weeks. At the end of the semester she is missing two assignments. Hilary will NOT receive a T grade. She could have reasonably completed the assignments within the given semester and her grade will reflect the missing assignments.
I’ve been working at my internship for a while, but just registered last week. When can I start counting hours towards the course?
You can only count hours towards your internship course if you have already registered for it. The earliest you can start counting hours is within the business week you registered. For example, if you started working on Monday, July 1 but you didn’t register until Wednesday, July 10, you can only count the hours you work from Monday, July 8 and beyond.
I'm registered for the internship course, now what?
Everything is now on Learning Suite. You will submit assignments throughout your internship as well as a final report. Failure to meet deadlines will adversely affect your grade. If you have any questions about the assignments laid out in the syllabus on Learning Suite, don’t hesitate to contact the internship office.
Who is my faculty advisor and who do I send my assignments to?
All assignments should be sent to Nicole Norris and the faculty advisor over your internship. Faculty advisors change each semester. If your internship extends across multiple semesters, your faculty advisor will likely change when the semester changes. Please contact Nicole Norris if you have any questions about the transition.
I did an internship last year, can I register now and use that internship for 496R this semester?
No. Students must register for the internship PRIOR to counting hours towards the internship course. It is BYU policy to not offer retroactive credit. If you completed an internship in the past and didn’t enroll for credit at that time (or didn’t qualify for the credit) you must find another internship and enroll for the course prior to starting that experience.
Where can I go for resume help?
Colton Griffiths is the BYU Career Services representative for the College of Fine Arts & Communications and is happy to review resumes and other materials (cover letters, reference pages, etc) with students. You will need to make an appointment to meet with him.
Nicole Norris from the Communications Internship Office also does resume/portfolio/cover letter critiques. Appointments are preferred, but not required. The internship office front desk in 280 BRMB can help with scheduling that as well.
I am an international student. Are there any special requirements/procedures as I find/secure an internship?
YES! International students participating in off-campus experiences (such as internships) should consult with International Student Services (1351 WSC, 801-422-2695, email@example.com) and the internship director (Nicole Norris) prior to beginning the off-campus experience.
International students receiving any form of compensation for off-campus experiences are required to first get approval with International Student Services. You need to file a CPT Request Form and, upon approval, you will receive a new Form I-20 with the CPT listed. As part of the CPT process, you are required to register for the semester in which you are participating in the off-campus experience. Also, the experience must be related to your field of study (communications). Please review the eligibility requirements for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and (if applicable) begin the application process immediately. CPT information can be found HERE.
If your internship is not required for graduation, and you apply for CPT, you will be required to register for COMMS 399R every semester in which your internship takes place.
If you are using this experience for the required COMMS 496R internship credit and your internship spans multiple semesters, you do not have to register for multiple semesters. You will receive a T-grade at the end of the first semester/term and a grade-change will be submitted once the internship experience is completed.
After reviewing the CPT application process and the information above students should bring the following materials to the Communications Internship Office (280 BRMB):
- Letter from the prospective employer on company letter head with all required information as outlined on the CPT instruction form (name, physical address, phone and fax number of the company; specific detail on the nature of training; part-time or full-time; paid or unpaid; exact start and end dates; and signature of HR department official authorized to hire for the company)
- All COMMS Internship Forms (See Registration Instructions Page)
- COMMS 399R OR 496R Agreement Form (signed by both you and your employer)
- COMMS Anti-Nepotism Agreement (signed by you)
- Master Agreement (if one is not already in place)
Once the above materials have been submitted to your internship director (Nicole Norris) your application will be processed and you will be given a form to take to International Student Services.
You will need to register for the appropriate course prior to applying for CPT. Once everything is submitted to the appropriate people (and approved) you will be allowed to begin work at your off-campus experience. Please remember to pick up a syllabus in 280 BRMB and complete the required assignments for the course. Email Nicole Norris if you have any questions.
If the internship experience is on-campus, you do not need to do a CPT, but you still need to complete the comms internship registration procedures listed HERE.
I want to do an internship outside of the United States. What special procedures are there for that?
Students that want to do international internships should immediately get in contact with the Kennedy Center for International Studies.
If you want the international internship to count for your COMMS 496R credit, you’ll want to make sure it’s going to count before you start making plans. Please review the course requirements at COMMS 496R Registration Instructions. If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Norris.
I am participating in Washington Seminar, can I get COMMS credit as well?
Most internships offered through Washington Seminar will count towards the COMMS 496R credit. However, the internship will still need to be formally approved through the internship office prior to enrolling. Your internship must meet the requirements laid out on the registration instruction page. If you are still unsure if your internship meets the requirements, please send a job description and the resume (or a Linkedin profile) of your immediate supervisor to Nicole Norris. Please keep in mind that enrolling in COMMS 496R does not replace the credits required by the Political Science Department.
For more information on Washington Seminar, visit their website.
Is financial aid available for internships?
Yes! Please visit our Internship Financial Aid page or the School of Communications Scholarship page for more information.
Special Instructions for interning with KSL
Students that receive internship offers from KSL and are not being paid should be aware of the following:
- The agreement provided to you by KSL must be taken to Adrienne Chamberlain in 5435 HBLL. She is the only person on campus who is approved to sign that form.
- After getting that form signed by Adrienne, come by 280 BRMB and pick up an “informed consent” form to be signed and kept on file with our office.
- In addition to these documents, you will still need to follow the registration procedures and corresponding paperwork.
Special Instructions for interning with Intermountain Healthcare
All students interning with Intermountain Healthcare are required to complete a series of immunizations and screenings. Please check with the internship liaison at the IHC facility you are interning at for the most recent list of requirements. The University Internship Office has compiled a checklist of requirements for Intermountain Healthcare Interns. This checklist, along with resources to complete the requirements can be found on the University Internship Office’s website under the “Other Resources” bullet of the “Intermountain Healthcare Health Services” section.
All of the requirements mentioned above must be completed prior to your first day of work and documented with the COMMS internship office. Please bring documentation of each requirement to 280 BRMB for us to scan and upload to your online internship application. Upon completion, your online application will be approved and you will be cleared to register. Contact Nicole Norris if you have any questions.
Non-Approved Internship Providers (Campus-wide List)
- 10X Media
- Aqua Design Group
- Capacity Marketing
- College Work Painting
- Eleutian Technology, Inc.
- Fisher Financial
- International Media Services/IMS
- Natural Talent Agency
- Problem Solved Pest Control
- Satcom International, Satcom LLC, Satcom Wireless LLC
- Vivint (formerly APX)