WRIT 498 Internship FAQs
How do I find an internship?
You are responsible for finding and arranging your own internship. Begin by considering your learning needs:
- What kinds of writing do you want to practice?
- What problems do you want to work on?
- What kinds of experience do you seek to accumulate?
When you can answer questions like these, you’ll know what type of internship that best suits you. The next question is where: do you want your internship to be local, in another part of the state or country, or in another part of the world? As you consider what location you desire, also consider what you already know about autyhors who write the kind of work you want: are there companies or organizations you are familiar with? Will you need to search options? As you locate potential sources of internships, contact them to see if they offer internships or if they are interested in providing an internship.
Does the English Department have “standing” internship arrangements that students can apply for?
No, the department does not generally maintain such arrangements or relationships. Internships are individually tailored; it’s important for each student to develop their own internship arrangement.
What resources can help me find internships?
Many, perhaps most, internships are arranged through personal contacts the student already has or develops through their research. For less local internships, MSU’s Office of Career, Internship, and Student Employment Services can be helpful, particularly their Hire a Bobcat job search system.
Does my internship have to be with a certain type of organization, like a company or a publisher?
The only requirement for whom you intern with is that the person or organization be professionally engaged in a legitimate business or service pursuit. Examples:
- Companies / businesses
- Publishers and journalist organizations
- Non-profit and non-governmental organizations
- Community-service organizations and initiatives
- Government offices and services
- Professional services (e.g., legal, medical, design, etc)
- Religious organizations
- University offices and initiatives (including Extension)
Can my internship be paid?
It may be paid or unpaid. It is often easier to arrange unpaid internships; however, paid internships are ideal. Avoid taking unpaid internships at corporations or organizations that have high profit margins—a major company should not be using free labor; in fact, federal law prohibits it. At a small community or volunteer organization, an unpaid internship may make more sense. Most importantly, there is no rule against earned academic credit for a paid internship. The idea that this is not permitted is a myth.
Can my current employment count as an internship?
Perhaps. The internship essentially adds an academic element to any professional experience.
If your current employment involves substantial writing, if your work supervisor is
willing to evaluate it for internship credit, and if a faculty sponsor (see below)
agrees that it has merit as a learning experience, then you could consider enrolling
for internship credit by adding that academic component (see below). You should consider
whether using an existing job for internship credit provides the best possible learning
experience balanced with your other responsibilities.
How much work does an internship require?
Generally, a semester-length three credit hour internship should require about the same amount of work as any other three-hour course, which the university calculates at nine to ten hours per week. (In a regular course, that’s three hours in class and six hours out.) However, writing is often not a task well measured in hours. You may want to negotiate with your faculty sponsor that your internship should be measured in writing production rather than time. A typical three-hour internship might ask you to produce a handful of major documents.
Does my WRIT 498 internship need to be only writing and no other kind of work?
No; a WRIT internship must include a substantial amount of writing, however, there
may be many other duties in addition to the writing an intern produces. If the internship
does not contain a substantive amount of writing, you may either need to serve as
an intern longer (to build up a sufficient amount of writing experience in the position)
or you might not be able to count it toward the Writing option. Finding a fair balance
will be what you negotiate with your faculty sponsor. You are encouraged to remember
that “writing” can include documents in many modes and genres.
How do I know how many credit hours a given internship should be worth?
See the previous question. Like most elements of an internship, there is no hard-and-fast
rule; you and your faculty sponsor will review the amount of work you propose to accomplish
and negotiate a fair amount of academic credit for the work.
What academic work will my internship require?
Internships require both professional work you do as an intern, and academic work you do as a student. It is the academic work that allows the university to award academic credit for your experiential learning. A typical set of academic assignments would be a weekly learning log (the work completed for the internship that week and what have you learned from it) with an end-of-semester learning reflection of six to eight pages addressing the question of what do you know now that you did not know at the beginning of the internship, and how did you learn it. An internship which was “thin” on other writing might be bolstered by additional academic work, such as a research project related to the work or organization you’re interning with.
Do I have to achieve a certain class standing (e.g., junior or senior) before undertaking an internship?
No, you may enroll for internship credit at any time.
Is there a certain time of year internships are “supposed” to be done?
No; internships can be accomplished during any semester. There are only two rules (or strong guidelines) for syncing internships with the semester schedule at MSU:
- Internship work should vever begin without a signed contract detailing the work responsibilities. This is for your protection so that a supervisor can't claim that you have not done sufficient work because some was off-contract.
- Your internship work must be completed by the end of the semester in which you’ve registered for it. Internships can not be graded for work that has not been completed. Additionally, MSU requires that internships that take more than one semester to complete, you must be enrolled for WRIT 498 credit in each semester you work on it.
We recommend against summer internships unless scheduling or availability make them a necessity, simply because you wind up paying for the credit hours. If you do your internship in fall or spring and add the hours above the 12 credits you pay for full-time status, they are “free” to you.
How do I set up an internship?
Once you’ve located an internship or identified an internship you’d like to establish, your first step is to select a faculty sponsor who can advise you on what work the internship should consist of. Then you’ll contact your (potential) work supervisor and negotiate the nature of the internship: what work would be involved, how much, over what period of time, etc. You and your work supervisor will complete the “Overall Description” and Section 1 of “Student Responsibilities.” Then you’ll negotiate the academic work to be completed (Section 2 of “Student Responsibilities”) with your faculty sponsor, obtain the necessary approval signatures, and forward the contract to the Internship Coordinator. The Internship Contract must be completed electronically.
What does a faculty sponsor do?
Your faculty sponsor will coordinate negotiations on your internship contract, monitor your progress during the internship, provide any necessary academic background or teaching necessitated by the internship, and evaluate your work at the end of the internship in order to assign you a grade.
How do I choose a faculty sponsor?
Any member of the English faculty may serve as an internship sponsor if they choose. It usually makes the most sense to ask a faculty member you’ve previously enjoyed worked with. Faculty members take on internships as extra work beyond their normal teaching load, which means a faculty member you ask might not be available to work with you that semester. If you’re having difficulty identifying or obtaining a faculty sponsor, please consult with the current Internship Coordinator.
What if the “Add” period is already passed for the semester I want to enroll in the internship?
You will need to follow the same procedure for a late-add of the internship as you would for any other class. Instead of the office automatically enrolling you, you’d need to complete an Add Form with signatures from your faculty advisor on the internship, your academic advisor, and an additional signature from the Dean’s office, and then return your internship contract and add-form to the English department office.
How should my work supervisor evaluate my internship work?
Your supervisor should submit a written evaluation of your work to your faculty sponsor
- Your contribution to the betterment of the organization
- How you performed the duties requested
- What grade they would recommend, if they choose to do so (not required)
The supervisor’s grade suggestion is advisory only and the faculty sponsor will factor it in with their own assessment of your internship work and your academic work.
How much internship credit is required for the Writing option in the English degree?
The Writing option requires three credit hours of WRIT 498 for graduation.
How much internship credit can count toward my MSU degree?
MSU allows students to count up to 12 hours of internship credit toward the 120 hours required to graduate. The department allows Writing majors to count 12 hours toward required elective credit.
Can I do multiple internships in order to accumulate required internship credit?
Yes. Three one-hour internships, a one-hour and a two-hour, or a single three-hour will all suffice for graduation.
Is there benefit to doing more than one three-hour internship?
Perhaps. Internships are projects, and for writers, projects lead to other projects.
The internship requirement is designed to break the chicken-and-egg cycle by providng
you experience without having to be employed. Thereafter, it should be easier to obtain
employment that gains you additional experience. It’s possible that one internship
may lead to additional projects in the form of other internships. If additional internships
seem valuable, great.