Three credits of English 410, a Writing Internship, is required for all Professional Writing English majors. Other students can get credit for internships as well. Finding, setting up, and conducting the internship is up to the individual student, but here we have posted information and guidelines that we hope will be helpful.
The internship takes place in some kind of professional setting, which can be a university office, a business, or even an on-line publisher. It may be paid or unpaid. The student finds someone in that setting who is willing to act as internship supervisor and then with their help creates a proposal (see Writing the Proposal) before the semester in which the internship is to take place. This proposal is handed in to the English Department, either to the Chair of the Undergraduate Committee (during the normal school year) or to the Chair of English & Philosophy (during holidays or the summer), who either approves or suggests changes. Once the proposal is approved, a section of English 410 is opened for the student.
During the internship, the student keeps a log of hours worked and a portfolio of materials written and/or revised. 25 hours of work are required for each credit of the internship; most commonly, students propose 3-credit internships with 75 hours. An internship may be continued over several semesters, up to six credits, and students may use several different sites and projects (each requiring a separate proposal).
To get credit at the end of the semester, the student submits to the Undergraduate Committee chair or Department Chair the following materials:
- a brief description of the internship experience;
- a report from the supervisor describing the internship;
- the log of hours worked;
- the portfolio of written materials.
The grade is entered as either S or U. If the internship is not completed in the timeframe of the semester, the grade is entered as an I; the student then has one year to complete the internship before the I is converted to an F.
Think of the internship as an opportunity to expand your professional contacts or gain experience that will be useful once you graduate. It can take place in many different forms and contexts, as long as it involves some kind of supervised writing in a professional setting. Some internships occur within the university; others in business, non-profits, or government. They can even occur on-line. It is quite possible that you already know someone or work in a place through which you could do an internship. ISU's Career Center frequently gets requests from employers looking for interns.
Below we have listed some of the sites where students have conducted successful internships, both inside and outside the university, in the last several years; these may give you some ideas of the kind of work interns have done in the past.
- Public Relations Department
Writing news releases, university-related newsletters and brochures
- Human Subjects Committee
Rewriting and revising Human Subjects Committee's Manual
- Enrollment Planning
Revising the Enrollment Planning Manual, writing brochures and university publications
- Center for Teaching & Learning
Creating a procedures manual for replacement staff detailing payroll, tutor assignments, and supply ordering
- Idaho Falls Computer Center
Updating procedures and training manual
- Idaho State Journal
Researching and writing investigative news articles
- ON Semiconductor
Creating a computer-based training program for supply chain management training
- Fairview Inn
Conducting market research, writing business reports, menus, advertising, and instructional labels
- Southeast Idaho Council of Government Incorporation
Writing large grant proposal for improving water system in Grace, Idaho
- Professional Engineering Consultants
Editing correspondence, designing brochures, writing technical reports
- Waddell & Reed Publishers, I.F.
Writing press releases and articles, creating material for website and other marketing
- Wild West Designs, I.F.
Creating an employees' manual, detailing policies and procedures
- Dreamscarred Press
Writing a series of articles for an interactive storytelling website
- Black Rock & Sage
Writing a handbook for the creation of the journal
The internship proposal should be a formal document which details the terms of the internship. It should include the following:
- Background—describe the internship location, supervisor, number of credits / hours intended, and rationale for doing the project.
- Objectives—describe the intended outcome of the internship. What specific product or outcome will the internship generate?
- Procedures—describe how the internship will be conducted. What kind of work will be done, and how will you be supervised?
- Preparation & Career Goals—describe how your own background and preparation is appropriate for this internship, and what benefits the internship may yield.
For a sample of a Writing Internship proposal, see Model Proposal.