From Mobile to New York, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, Miami and more, SHC Comm Arts/Visual Arts internships  provide real life experience for our students!

Comm Arts and Graphic Design internships are major-specific and required for graduation. CMM 490 or ART 490 is repeatable for up to six credit hours. The Comm Arts degree (PR/Ad, Journalism, DVP) requires a minimum of two credit hours of CMM 490 and one credit hour of CMM 290. Graphic Design requires a minimum of three credit hours of ART 490.

CMM 490 and ART 490 are offered online throughout the year, with in-person meetings as needed. Comm Arts and Graphic Design  students should schedule a meeting with Dr. Kiernan the semester before they intend to intern for coaching and instruction ( Students set the number of hours per week and number of weeks of internship except in summers. Summer internship hours and course components should be completed in six weeks. 

Internships can be paid or unpaid. If unpaid, the internship must comply with the seven tests provided via Department of Labor:

  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.


Pre-termMeet with instructor for résumé/portfolio review and discuss/continue to communicate options for internship to obtain verbal pre-approval Apply for internships; follow up; interview (send thank you afterward); secure internship; arrange start date and establish work schedule
Weeks 1 & 2The Personal Addendum to the Syllabus (Learning Agreement) is due at the end of your second week of internship and absolutely no later than the third Friday of the termBegin internship; customize LIVE REPORTING FILE and begin entering time/duties – this should be done each day you work throughout the term Download, type responses, SIGN/INITIAL, and upload the Personal Addendum to the Syllabus (Learning Agreement) – this should be done by the end of the second week of the term.
Approximately weeks 3, 7 & 12Reporting checkpoints & reflections (Instructor can check your LIVE REPORTING FILE at any time, but will review and comment during these weeks).
Weeks 3-15 Keep your LIVE REPORTING FILE updated because your supervisor can check it at any time and regular checks occur through the term. Perform well and document your learning each time you go to your internship via Canvas. Schedule a time after midterm to present your portfolio to your supervisor and seek his/her feedback and commentary on it at this point in your academic career.
Your supervisor’s evaluation submitted online. Your finalized LIVE REPORTING FILE including FINAL REFLECTION. Your FINAL uploads to Canvas. Link to updated résumé/portfolio that should have samples from this internship includedLinkedIn URL If you don’t have an online portfolio yet, set one up during the internship and have at least three samples of your best work.
Steps 1 through 4 are also required in summer. The summer internship session begins after graduation in May and lasts through July. Summer interns may begin their internship anytime before mid-June. Summer interns should plan to complete their internship hours and course requirements within six weeks of the internship start date.
Contact Dr. Kiernan for more information about CMM/ART 490
Internship Office: Murphy Fine Arts Center 219
Phone: 251-380-3842 | Email:

You and your faculty supervisor will share a Canvas folder. It will house all of your internship documents and reporting tools. 

  • a Learning Agreement with your supervisor 
    [download a template; complete it; sign it; upload it]
  • time/duty reporting and periodic reflections via Canvas
  • a final reflection via Canvas
  • your updated resume and portfolio uploaded at the conclusion of the term
  • In an internship, you’re the learner. You’re directed | supervised | mentored by a professional in your field of interest. 
  • In some client-based coursework, you’re directed by the instructor for that course. 
  • In Senior Seminar, you’re functioning fairly independently – you’re directing your efforts, not the “client” nor your faculty member. 

The CMM/ART internship program is coordinated by Dr. Taylor Kiernan. Schedule a time to meet with her ( during the semester BEFORE you’d like to intern to talk about  your internship search – résumé, cover letter, etc. Review the “Interns Wanted” section of this website for an idea of where you’d like to intern. Ms. Jordan Cockrell in Career Development is also available for coaching on résumés, interview skills and etc. That office also maintains a list of internships.

SHC’s Comm Arts/Fine Arts Internship includes four steps:
1) Secure your internship in a timely manner (ideally the semester before you’d like to intern).
2) Turn in a Learning Agreement[contact info, hours, intern’s & supervisor’s objectives] signed by you and the internship supervisor by the deadline date (the end of your first week of internship; no more than a month into the semester)
3) Complete the required number of hours, perform your internship well and report as directed (Reporting + Reflection file)
4) Turn in final materials: updated résumé, final time log, final reflection, work samples (portfolio)

It’s important to note that the faculty supervisor assigns 70% of the student’s grade and the professional supervisor assigns 30%.

The three-absence rule does not apply to internships and neither does the concept of excused absences for athletic or other official travel.  It’s up to the student to plan or adjust his or her schedule, with the supervisor, accordingly. It’s the student’s responsibility to complete the required number of hours for his/her internship. If you cannot be on site when you’re scheduled, call your supervisor. Never miss without alerting your supervisor in advance.

Dress as other professionals at your internship site dress. You are an ambassador of the department and the college. Your professional comportment will not only reflect well on you, it will encourage your internship supervisor to work with future Comm Arts and Fine Arts students.

First, you should learn a lot. You should be given professional assignments and not only clerical or maintenance duties. (Occasional clerical work is OK, but in general you should be given tasks commensurate with your educational background.) You should meet lots of people in the field. You should attend meetings and begin to build a network of contacts for future employment. You should receive clear instructions about tasks to be accomplished. You should get story bylines, clippings, photo credits or videography credits that you can show to prospective employers. You should be able to get letters of recommendation from your site supervisor. It’s not unusual for an internship site to hire an intern full-time upon completion of the internship. However, this is often a matter of availability of a position and you should not feel that you’ve failed if you’re not hired.

Most likely, your supervisor will be someone who is extremely busy.  He or she wants you to be able to work independently! Surveys have shown that internship supervisors value your initiative and independence even more than your specific job skills, except writing. Good writing is prized! Offer to undertake new tasks once you’ve completed assigned tasks. Make yourself invaluable to your employer. Do not engage in upward delegation by demonstrating: “I’m helpless; you do this task for me, because you’re experienced at it.” If you haven’t done something before, it’s OK to ask a few questions.  BUT, as someone almost out of school, you should be able to figure it out and get it done. Your thoroughness and attention to detail are also important. Be a problem-solver, not a problem-creator.

Yes, though it is rare. If you’re fired from your internship, you will receive an “F” for CMM/ART 490.

Your final week of work should coincide with the final full week of classes in the semester for which you’re registered in CMM/ART 490, but if you complete your requirements before the semester ends, you can turn in your final materials at that point in the semester.

To continue your current job as your internship, you should be able to show that you will be doing professional level tasks under the guidance of an experienced communication professional. How will you learn more and grow professionally by staying within your old job? Though this is not encouraged, sometimes it is possible by upgrading your duties within your current employment.

To this and similar questions, consider the department’s position: The Internship is primarily a learning experience. You should only work under the supervision of a professional in your field. If a relative is such, your internship may be considered, but it’s the intern’s responsibility to build a case as to why this should be allowed. 

You must complete a learning agreement, keep a time and duty log, turn in weekly informal reports, check in regularly with the instructor supervising your internship, attend class meetings as scheduled, prepare a formal resume and portfolio, turn in mid-semester and final reports, and complete other assignments as required by the instructor. Your grade will depend on both your course work (70%) and supervisor evaluations (30%).

Yes. According to SHC’s General Financial and Academic Policies, students MUST be enrolled in CMM/ART 490 the semester they are interning to receive academic credit.  Students interning during the summer must submit their reports by fax, email or moodle and all required reports MUST arrive by the final day of class.

No. You should work each week during the internship.  Additionally, your work schedule should allow for blocks of time at your internship site AND be consistent (ex. MWF 1 to 5 p.m.).

Information for Supervisors

Dear intern supervisor or potential supervisor, 

SHC’s Communication Arts and Graphic Design degree programs require internships and portfolios prior to graduation. We couldn’t have that requirement without the support of professionals like you, so THANK YOU for agreeing to serve or considering serving as an internship supervisor. 

SHC Communication Arts and Graphic Design interns are generally upper-division students who have taken most of their major courses, but students occasionally intern earlier. Please consider your intern’s level (Senior, Junior, Sophomore, Freshman) when setting your expectations for his or her performance. 

Course description: An internship experience under the supervision of SHC faculty and an experienced advertising, public relations, journalism, digital video production, graphic design, gallery or similar professional. Internships provide students meaningful field experience, building their portfolios and benefiting the professionals to whom they are assigned.

This internship experience comprises four steps:

Step 1: The intern secures an approved internship in a timely manner
Step 2: The intern prepares a Learning Agreement with his/her supervisor – typed, signed, scanned and submitted
Step 3: The intern performs well and reports regularly
Step 4: Final submissions (finalized REPORTING & REFLECTION FILE, updated résumé & portfolio, updated LinkedIn Profile and supervisor’s evaluation)

Learning Focus

  • Always keep in mind that the internship should be a supervised learning experience for the intern.
  • Particularly if the internship is unpaid and the sponsoring organization is not a nonprofit or government entity, the U.S. Department of Labor and subsequent legal precedent say that the student should be the primary beneficiary of the internship and seven tests have been established and communicated via Fact Sheet #71:

 Course Goal, Objectives & Outcomes:

  • Goal: Pre-professional and personal growth
  • Objective: To provide a link between the classroom and the workplace
  • Objective: To provide students with meaningful work experience in the professions they’re exploring
  • Objective: To cultivate initiative, resourcefulness and time management skills
  • Objective: To cultivate leaders engaged in learning, faith, justice and service for life
  • Outcome: Complete the internship with a positive and approved reference from the internship supervisor
  • Outcome: Gain career experience and portfolio pieces
  • Outcome: Learn work pace via the reporting file to better estimate future time/task management

Learning Agreement:

The intern is responsible for completing a Learning Agreement for and with his/her supervisor. This allows you and the intern to set personal learning objectives for the internship – example phrasing: The intern will learn X by doing Y. This completed and signed document is DUE BY THE END OF THE SECOND WEEK OF INTERNSHIP .  The intern, supervisor and faculty supervisor all keep a copy of this file and refer to it prior to completing the final evaluation (supervisor) and reflection (intern). 

Internship hours:

  • Graphic Design students must complete approximately 165 hours to earn three hours of academic credit.
  • Comm Arts students must complete 110 hours to earn two hours of academic credit, but they can intern for more or fewer credit hours.
  • Internship hours include time on site, time working on reports, time on his or her résumé & portfolio or LinkedIn, and/or time in the text.
  • Most “logged” time should be supervised, on-site hours, but some time (1 to 2 hours each week) should be set aside for the academic components of CMM/ART 490 or for the students to work on their portfolios.

Intern Reporting:

  • The intern’s Reporting + Reflection File is live on Canvas and it can be checked and commented upon by the internship supervisor at any time. 
  • Final materials are due at the conclusion of the student’s required hours and definitely on or before the day/time established for the final exam. 

Course grading:     

  • Student’s grades are comprised of the following. Supervisor reports still comprise about 30% of the total grade
Discussion Board Assignments (4)
Learning Agreement (completed – including signatures)
Weekly Reports
Midterm Evaluation (submitted by supervisors)
Final Evaluation (submitted by supervisors)
Personal Branding Assignment
Final submissions [final résumé + portfolio, final reflection, finalized reporting file]

Portfolio Review:

During the internship, the Graphic Design interns MUST schedule a time with their supervisors to review his or her portfolio to date. Ask him or her to present the portfolio to you. Gauge and give feedback to the intern on his/her presentation skills, technical skills and ability to use vocabulary of the field to discuss his/her work. Communication Arts interns SHOULD do the same with their supervisors.

Important Information:

  • It is unacceptable for interns to have frequent mistakes and writing errors or fail to demonstrate the basic knowledge, skills and abilities expected of an entry-level team member, including how to function as part of a team and to adhere to standard business practices. Alert the faculty supervisor immediately if there are problems, especially anything considered egregious such as intellectual property infringement, defamation or failure to adhere to basic tenets of the profession, as these are wholly unacceptable and carry academic penalties.
  • Always keep in mind that grades are earned, not given.  Please be fair, but not overly generous in assigning your portion of the final grade: 
    • A=excellent/superior
    • B=above average
    • C=average
    • D=below average/mediocre
    • F=poor/seriously lacking.
  • Interns are responsible for their own transportation and are instructed to carry auto insurance.
  • Interns should be reimbursed for any expenses incurred at the direction of their professional supervisors.
  • Interns/Supervisors must disclose any familial relationship and purposeful arrangements must be made to ensure objectivity. Failure to do so constitutes academic dishonesty and may result in a failing grade.
  • Interns at media outlets should not assume privileges not granted to media by the College
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