Internship Opportunities & Policies
Internships offer an opportunity to apply the knowledge students gain in the Communication classroom to a working environment beyond Penn’s campus. Students who complete Communication-focused internships not only learn practical workplace skills but also begin to develop their professional networks.
Comm Majors have internships in a wide variety of fields including social media, advertising and journalism, television and film, publishing, and nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and political campaigns. Communications internships are not limited to communications organizations; rather they can be communication-focused roles in any corporate, nonprofit, or governmental organization.
Prior students’ communications internship duties have included a variety of communication tasks, such as undertaking research; preparing publications, presentations, and videos; participating in concept development; design; writing, photography, film, audio, and video; and content production (writing, photography, film, and video).
Communication Majors can receive academic credit for a communications internship by taking COMM 3091 (formerly 491).
How can I find a communications internship?
- Career Services has a "how to find a job or internship" community.
- Handshake, a Career Services platform, is a powerful tool to connect to internship opportunities.
- Career Services offers students access to the Vault Guide to Internships and Chegg Internship Guide. Both provide listings of available internships.
- The College has internship resources, as well as the Penn in Washington database for internships in Washington, DC.
- Some students have obtained internships through RealArts@Penn or The College & CURF's Summer Humanities Internships.
- Some students have found internships on idealist.org and other sites that are not connected to Penn.
- Communication majors may periodically receive notices of available communications internships from Annenberg.
How do I earn academic credit for my communications internship?
To receive academic credit for a department-approved communications internship, students must complete COMM 3091 (formerly 491).
Students enroll in and attend COMM 3091 (formerly 491) concurrently with communications internship placements in the fall and spring semesters. Students should expect to spend an average of 10–15 hours per week at communications internship placements during the fall or spring semester.
Students who want to receive course credit for summer communications internships can apply for approval to enroll in COMM 3091 (formerly 491) in the fall semester. Students must request approval BEFORE starting the summer communications internship. Accepted students are required to meet (remotely) with Annenberg School staff or faculty PRIOR to the start of the communications internship to discuss COMM 3091 (formerly 491)-related expectations. Summer communications internships must be a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least eight weeks during the summer break.
During the semester-long course, students attend class and complete assigned and self-selected readings and pursue their communications 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.
Who is eligible for COMM 3091?
- Enrollment in COMM 3091 is limited to Communication majors. It is an advanced credit course.
- Students who have a communications internship offer in hand are eligible to apply for departmental approval to register for COMM 3091.
- Students who have previously taken COMM 3091 (or the former COMM 491) are not eligible for the course.
Is my communications internship eligible for COMM 3091?
- Communications internships need to be communications-focused even if the organization itself isn’t. In other words, the internship work should in some way engage and enhance your communication skills and your understanding of how communication operates in private or corporate firms, non-profit organizations, government agencies, or political campaigns.
- Communications internships need to be with established organizations with multiple full-time employees and publicly available information.
- As a general rule, communications internships cannot be with for-profit start-ups or organizations with more interns than employees.
- Fall and spring semester communications internships must last the full length of the semester and require 10-15 hours of work per week. Shorter communications internships may not be stitched together in sequence as a substitute for a single continuous communications internship.
- Summer communications internships must last a minimum of eight weeks and require a minimum of 20 hours of work per week.
- Communications internships that include virtual work will generally be considered for credit only if a substantial portion of the work takes place in an off-campus organization setting. (NOTE: Exceptions will be made for remote communications internships during the ongoing public health crisis associated with COVID-19.)
- Communications internships may be paid or unpaid.
- With rare exceptions, Penn-sponsored communications internships are not eligible for COMM 3091.
- Before enrolling in COMM 3091, students must secure formal department approval for a communications internship.
How do I secure department approval for a COMM 3091 communications internship?
Once a promising communications internship has been identified, students should check with Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Dr. Litty Paxton, to make sure the communications internship meets eligibility requirements. If it does, students apply for formal approval by completing the application form below, if applying for a communications internship that takes place during the fall or spring semester ...
... or this form for students applying for a communications internship that takes places during the summer and for which they would like to apply for the fall course credit.
Since COMM 3091 fills quickly, students should submit their communications internships for formal approval as early as possible, but no later than the first day of the semester. Applications for formal approval of a summer communications internship for enrollment in COMM 3091 in the fall semester must be submitted before starting the internship and no later than June 1.
What if I am an international student and a Communication major and need CPT (Curricular Practical Training) in order to participate in a communications Internship?
- International Comm majors seeking CPT for Communications internships should apply for departmental approval to register for COMM 3091. Once approved to enroll in COMM 3091, students can apply for CPT.
- International students should check their eligibility for CPT with the College and follow the instructions to apply for CPT from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).
- International Comm majors are only able to receive CPT through COMM 3091 (or the former COMM 491) and are only eligible to take the course once.
What if my communications internship requires me to earn credit, but I don't want to take COMM 3091?
Students whose employers require them to receive academic credit but do not wish to register for COMM 3091 may apply to the College of Arts and Sciences for a notation on their transcripts to indicate they have completed a communications internship. This option is also open to students who have previously taken COMM 3091.
Students should meet with a College of Arts and Sciences advisor to discuss applying for this special notation before beginning their internship and must complete the form linked below and return it to the College Office. See the College of Arts and Sciences internship policy webpage or contact Margaret Mary Thomas in the College Office, for additional information.
Is there funding for un-paid or under-paid communications internships?
Comm Majors taking un-paid or under-paid summer communications internships are eligible to apply for funding from a variety of Penn-related sources:
- Annenberg in Public Service (AIPS)
- RealArts@Penn Prize
- Career Services Summer Funding Program
- Summer Research and Internship Funding for Highly Aided Students
Recent Student Communications Internships
Below are just a few of the many communications internships our Comm majors have completed. The link to each organization below connects to information about their internship programs or career pages.
- News Group Intern, Production, Strategy, and Development Department, MSNBC ("Morning Joe"), New York City
- Advertising Design Intern, Braithwaite Communications, Philadelphia
- Promotional Strategy Planning Intern, Nickelodeon (Viacom), New York City
- Government Affairs & Policy Intern, GE Corporate, Washington, D.C.
- Equity Research Summer Analyst, Media, Cable & Satellite Team, Credit Suisse, New York City
- Marketing & Communication intern, National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia
- Marketing Intern, The Philadelphia Orchestra
- Communications Intern, Philadelphia City Council
- Reporting Intern, The Philadelphia Inquirer
- Communications Intern, Issues Advocacy, Ceisler Media, Philadelphia
“The Comm internship class enriched my internship experience and enabled me to give back to the nonprofit I was working with by conducting an internal organization case study. Through the process of interacting with previous interns and staff members in South Africa, I was able to implement my Comm internship findings at a global level.” — Grace Wu C'22, Global Communications Intern at Inkululeko