Students spend an average of 10–15 hours per week during the regular academic year
and at least 20 hours per week during the summer at their internship placement.
As interns, students preform a variety of tasks from undertaking research to writing
copy and preparing publications, presentations, and videos. Internships qualified
for academic credit may take place in a variety of communication-related organizations,
but requires formal school approval and completion of the Internship Seminar
(COMM 491). In the Internship Seminar students analyze the communication
processes that they observe firsthand in their internships. In the seminar, assigned
readings and weekly field notes lead to a final research paper on a communication
issue. The objective of the course is to apply research methods based in ethnographic
theory to explore the working world of media organizations.
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Enrollment in COMM 491 is limited to majors in communication. Credit is not granted
for on-campus internships. Students may complete COMM 491 only once.
Credit is granted only for internships with a demonstrable link to the academic
offerings of the Annenberg School for Communication. Some activities, even though
sponsored by a media organization or billed by sponsors as a “communication internship,”
may be primarily business or public service activities and, thus, more appropriately
considered for credit by another school or department at the University of Pennsylvania.
COMM 491 is offered throughout the academic year and during the summer. Because
many students undertake internships outside the Philadelphia area during the summer
months, the summer seminar is structured around written assignments and does not
hold meetings. Students enrolled in the summer seminar are billed for summer tuition.
Over the summer, spaces in COMM 491 fill up very quickly and, since there are a
limited number of spaces in this course, it is recommended that students secure
an internship as early as possible.
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Each student is responsible for securing his or her own internship. Students must
identify a field supervisor in the organization sponsoring the internship and complete
a contract, signed by both the student and the field supervisor, detailing their
explicit professional responsibilities. This contract must be filed with the Undergraduate
Office—along with a letter, signed by the employer, describing the duties of the
position—before a student can be enrolled in the seminar. Because seminar enrollment
is limited, students should arrange internships and receive approval as early as
possible to have the best chance of securing a place in the seminar.
The College of Arts and Science offers to students the opportunity to have a notation
placed on their transcript indicating that they have completed an internship. This
is an option for students whose employers require that they receive credit, but
they are not interested in registering for COMM491or have already completed the
Students should meet with a College advisor before they begin the internship to
discuss applying for this special notation. In order for students to have a notation
regarding their internship placed on their transcript, they must fill out a request
form and submit it to the College Office.
The College Office will then write to the sponsoring company/organization granting
the student permission to work there as an intern while making it clear that the
University will not indemnify the company or organization during the internship.
The University will not insure the student during the internship.
When the College Office receives confirmation that the student has successfully
completed an internship, the notation will be placed on the transcript.
For further information and credit forms, contact Margaret Mary Thomas in the College
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The Annenberg Washington Summer Internship Program (AWSIP) 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.
Students can apply to participate through the school’s Institute for Public Service,
and accepted students are assisted in finding appropriate internships in the D.C.
area. Participating students are provided with housing; a stipend of up to $2,000
(for nonpaying internships); opportunities to attend periodic talks by Washington-based
journalists, public officials, and leaders in the nonprofit, advocacy, and business
communities; and tuition to attend a parallel seminar.
The seminar, COMM309: Washington Politics and the Media, is taught by Dr. Alvin
Felzenberg. This course is designed to enhance students' understanding of the role
the media plays influencing the course of public policy in the nation's capital.
It will provide 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). They
will explore the emergence of multiple "narratives" the media uses to frame policy
debates, how these are formed, and how they change over time. Readings and class
discussions will be supplemented by appearances by guests who have had participated
in important ongoing and past policy debates."
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