PUBLIC RELATIONS INTERNSHIP: KEY FACTS AND GUIDES
Repeatedly, internships have been identified as a critical component of learning. High-quality internships have been identified as a significant contributor to post-graduation success and employment. Additionally, within public relations education specifically, the opportunity to apply your classroom knowledge into a real-world environment is a core expectation.
PURPOSE OF INTERNSHIPS
The purpose of an internship in our program is to help you develop and apply the knowledge, values, and skills you’ve gained in courses to real-world problems in a public relations environment. Our goal is that you can apply theory, best-practices, and standards you’ve gained through your other courses into the actual practice of public relations. Additionally, we want internships to help cultivate an engagement with your education and a pursuit of life-long learning, to foster skills in collaborative work, and to provide the space for your to have reflective learning of the internship experience. With the above goals and purposes, we have created particular requirements for internships that will count for credit in our program.
INTERNSHIP PROGRAM OVERVIEW
In this program, we require several courses to be dedicated to your pre-professional preparation. You will take three courses, that must be taken in order:
PREL 267 – Public Relations Career Readiness. This is a one-unit, online course.
PREL 344 – Internship. This is a one-unit, online course that must be taken simultaneously with your internship experience.
PREL 444 – Advanced Internship. This is a two-unit, online course that must be taken simultaneously with your internship experience.
INTERNSHIP PROPOSAL AND APPROVAL PROCESS
Each internship requires formal approval as well as supervisor verification prior to being accepted as qualifying for our internship class. Internship approval is based on a specific set of criteria (Full Internship FAQ here.)
After you gain approval, an internship agreement is needed that ensures you and the internship location supervisor have a clear understanding of the expected hours, requirements, and components of the internship process.
Once both of these steps are completed, you may begin counting hours at the internship location towards your required number for the course.
While there may be a variety of internships you consider participating in during your time in our program, we have several factors we expect in ones that qualify for credit. The reason for these standards is that we are dedicated to not only expecting internship experience but also working to ensure it is a quality experience that has significant benefits toward your educational development. The following represent expectations.
Hours: You must be able to meet the minimum required hours. For each internship unit, you need 45 hours of work with the internship location. Thus, for PREL 344 you need 45 hours and PREL 444 will require 90 hours.
Supervision: The internship supervisor is expected to have the experience and training necessary to not only oversee your work, but provide quality feedback that helps you advance as a professional. Your supervisor needs to have direct work experience with public relations strategies or tactics in the area that you are completing the internship. Additionally, we expect them to have a minimum of two years in the industry or be in a position within the organizational structure that is given the oversight of interns. When addressing your supervisor’s qualifications, we look to see if they have qualifications in public relations, the appropriate years of experience or role in the organization, and the direct experience with the tasks they expect you to perform as an intern. Note: your internship supervisor needs to be not a family member.
Internship Tasks: While interns will typically be assigned a variety of tasks in an internship, the expectation for the experience is that it bridges your classroom education with applied industry activities. When you describe the role and tasks you will perform, the expectation is that the majority will be directly related to public relations. In addition, if you are in our B.A. program, your internship should align with your concentration or skillsets that are directly linked to your concentration.
Location: In order to accomplish the above expectations, you need to identify a quality internship location. Usually, these locations are more established organizations that have an existing structure for public relations initiatives and roles. If the organization is too new or too small, it will be significantly harder to find an opportunity that has both a supervisor with direct public relations experience who will be specifically mentoring you in tasks they have performed and a location that has a clearly designed structure for public relations initiatives. Note: typically internship locations will not be approved if it is a family business, as we are working to help you diversify your experience. However, if your organization is significantly large, there may be an exception provided that the supervision is not directly tied to your family member.