Internships are essential for journalism majors. We are proud that approximately 80% of our Journalism majors complete an internship before graduation.
We require students in the Public Relations and Sports Journalism concentrations to complete a 120 hour credited internship via the Practicum (JOURNAL 398) course. Students pursuing the general Journalism track are not required to complete a credited internship, but we highly recommend that all our students complete as many internships as they can—regardless of whether they count toward course credit or not—because experience matters in our field.
Applying an Internship Toward Credit
The first step in the internship process is to review our Internship Guide. This guide contains detailed information on how to find, apply for and register an internship for credit.
We encourage our students to start building their portfolio as soon as they arrive on campus. It is never too early to get started! Internship employers will want to see clips of your work, so we suggest you join any of these outlets right away: The Daily Collegian, Amherst Wire, The Rebirth Project, WMUA 91.1FM or UVC-TV. It is not uncommon for students to experiment with multiple campus outlets over the course of their time at UMass.
PR students may also get involved in campus media to hone their writing and multimedia skills, and our PR students participate on their social media teams. There are many jobs posted on the UMass Student Job Board for communication assistants for departments on campus, as well as volunteer positions running public relations for clubs and organizations on campus. The UMass Chapter of PRSSA is an invaluable resource to our students. They host guest speakers, professional development workshops and provide a strong sense of community. We strongly recommend all PR students become active members of the club.
Affording an Unpaid Internship
The Journalism Department, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and UMass have scholarships and internship awards to help fund unpaid internships. Look on Academic Works (scholarship portal) for opportunities and deadlines. It is worthwhile to create your profile on Academic Works as soon as possible.
Many internships recognize that interns may also need to work at paid employment and are willing to be flexible in arranging your schedule. Tell them about your requirements during the interview process.
Other Ideas for Getting Started
- Make an appointment with a career advisor via Handshake to start your resumé and explore internship opportunities. Go to the Career Center page within Handshake to make an appointment. This portal also posts job fairs and career development workshops.
- Build your portfolio and work experience via campus media.
- Keep your resumé up to date and make sure it is accessible via websites like LinkedIn. You may also want to develop a portfolio website using WordPress, UMassCreate or another service to showcase your work.
- Think “resumé building” as you plan your time at UMass. UMass has so much to offer to help you stand out from the crowd. Challenge yourself and explore new interests.
- Start looking in the fall semester for summer internships. Many of the major competitive internships have application deadlines in late fall. Most internships, however, do not have deadlines, but it’s good to start investigating the opportunities as early as possible.
- You may also email John Ciampa if you’d like arrange an appointment to discuss internships. Please note that availability may be limited during peak advising periods in November and April.
Enrolling in JOURNAL 398
In Summer and Winter sessions, you enroll for credits through University Without Walls (UWW). You must pay for these credits. That may come as an unpleasant surprise, so please take note of this. Even though our Public Relations and Sports Journalism concentration students need 120 hours of internship work, they only need to record one credit. This is a good way to save money over the summer and winter sessions. You can, of course, receive up to three course credits for your 120 hours of work. It is up to you.
In the Fall and Spring semesters, Journalism will enroll you for the credits on SPIRE after you request the internship on Handshake (see our Internship Guide for instructions). The credits are included as part of your regular tuition and therefore incur no additional cost.