Annenberg School for Communication

Internship Program/Seminar

Interested in earning academic credit for a media-related internship?

Media-related internships offer an opportunity to extend the communication classroom to a working environment beyond the world of the campus. Communication interns learn employment skills and begin to develop their professional networks. Internship duties may include a variety of communication tasks. These may include undertaking research, preparing publications, presentations and videos, participating in concept development, design, strategic planning and content production (writing, photography, film and video) in news, social media, advertising, and marketing. Interns may work in nonprofit organizations, private and corporate firms, or government agencies.

To receive academic credit for a department-approved internship, you must complete Comm 491. This seminar runs concurrently with internship placements throughout the academic year including the summer.

Students should expect to spend an average of 10–15 hours per week during the Fall or Spring semester and at least 20 hours per week during the summer at internship placements. During the regular school year, students complete assigned and self-selected readings and pursue their internship research projects. These may include structured observations and interviews at their work sites, and typically lead to a final research paper on a communication issue.

Because many students undertake internships outside Philadelphia during the summer months, the summer seminar does not hold face to face meetings. Class is structured around online communication and written assignments. Students enrolled in the summer seminar are billed for summer tuition.

General Policies and Deadlines

1. Enrollment in COMM 491 is limited to majors in Communication. It is an advanced credit course.

2. Students may not register for COMM 491 without an approved internship in hand.

3. Internships must last the full length of the semester. Shorter internships may not be stitched together in sequence as a    substitute for a single continuous internship.

4. Credit will not be granted for virtual internships.

5. Credit is not granted for Penn-sponsored internships with rare exceptions.

6. Internships may be paid or unpaid.

7. Students may complete COMM 491 only once.

How to Look for Internships

Career Services has an internship site that students in Comm 491 have used.

A voluntary database created by students for students reports where students worked and what their experiences were like (The site is moderated by Career Services):

Some students have found internships on and other sites that are not connected to Penn.

Securing a Department- Approved Internship

Before you can enroll in Comm 491 you must secure formal department approval for your internship. This is a two-step process.

Once you have identified a promising internship, check with the Internship Coordinator, Susan Haas or the Director of Student Services, Alison Feather to make sure your internship falls within department guidelines. Approvable internships are sponsored by media organizations or involve media-focused tasks within non-media organizations.

The second step is to apply for formal approval by filing two documents with the Undergraduate Office : (1) A document from your employer on company/organization letterhead describing the duties you will perform at your internship and the dates and hours you will work. This document is signed by your field supervisor at the internship. (2) A copy of the contract form provided by the Undergraduate Office filled out and signed by you and your field supervisor.

Since Comm 491 fills quickly, students should submit their internships for formal approval as early as possible.

For further information and approval forms, contact Alison Feather, Director of Student Services in the Annenberg School, 215-898-8892, or Susan Haas, Internship Coordinator,

Notation on Transcript for the Completion of Non-Credit Internship

Students whose employers require them to receive academic credit but do not wish to register for COMM491 may apply for a notation on their transcripts from the College of Arts and Sciences to indicate they have completed an internship. This option is also open to students who have received academic credit for a previous internship and are ineligible for additional academic credit.

Students should meet with a College of Arts and Sciences advisor to discuss applying for this special notation before beginning their internship. After students fill out a request form, the College Office will write to the sponsoring company/organization granting permission for the student to work there as an intern while making it clear the University will not indemnify the company or organization during the internship. The University also will not insure the student during the internship.

When the College Office receives confirmation that the student has successfully completed an internship under this arrangement, a notation will be placed on the transcript.

For further information and credit forms, contact Margaret Mary Thomas in the College Office, 215.898.6341.

Annenberg Washington Summer Internship Program (ASWIP)

The Annenberg Washington Summer Internship Program aims to develop skills and knowledge related to the use of communication in public service through internships at selected government, political, nonprofit, advocacy, media, and private organizations based in Washington, D.C.

The program, which is administered through the school’s Institute for Public Service . It accepts up to 12 Communication majors each summer and runs from late May through early August. Preference is given to students who have declared the Communication and Public Service (ComPS) concentration. Students who are undeclared majors, but have intentions to declare the major in the following school year are also welcome to apply.

Accepted students are assisted in finding appropriate internships in the D.C. area, but also encouraged to conduct their own search. Students who are unable to be placed in an internship by April 15th are not eligible to participate in AWSIP. Accepted applicants are responsible for regular correspondence with Ms. Alison Feather Ms. Alison Feather, Director of Student Services,, in regards to the status of their internship search. Failure to remain in touch with Ms. Feather may result in your spot being granted to a waitlisted applicant.

Participating students are provided with housing on George Washington University’s (GWU) campus. Students with alternative housing may opt out of staying at GWU. Four students (same sex, co-ed living arrangements are not allowed) will be housed in a campus style apartment. Students may select their own roommates and will be housed when possible with other Penn students. Vacant spaces will be filled by other college students who are also interning in the Washington, D.C area. Apartments are air-conditioned and include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a common living space and kitchen. Internet, cable, and local phone service is provided. Students will need to provide their own linens and house wares.

A stipend of up to $2,000 will be provided for all nonpaying internships, payable in two installments. The first $1,000 will be received at the end of June and July. Students who qualify for the stipend will be responsible for providing the Annenberg business office with all required paperwork. Please note that this stipend is subject to state and federal income tax.

Students may also register for COMM309: Washington Politics and the Media. This is a seminar course taught by Alvin Felzenberg, Ph.D., and meets weekly in the evening during the internship period. The School covers the cost of tuition. COMM309 is designed to enhance students' understanding of the role the media plays influencing the course of public policy in the nation's capital. It provides students with opportunities to assess major issues currently in the news from multiple perspectives (those of Congress, the President, interest groups, the old and new media, lobbyists, political consultants and others). Students explore the emergence of multiple media "narratives" that frame policy debates, and investigate how these are formed, and how they change over time. Readings and class discussions are supplemented by appearances by guests who have had played important roles in important ongoing and past policy debates.

Questions may be directed to Mr. David Eisenhower, Director of the Institute for Public Service, or Ms. Alison Feather, Director of Student Services and Register,