Internship Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about undergraduate internships in the Department of Communication.


Qualifying for Internships 

What qualifies as an internship?

An internship is a paid or non-paid work opportunity through which students gain familiarity, development and mentorship in a potential career track or industry. Internships that are simply clerical in nature or that involve routine maintenance or service responsibilities are not true internships, and do not qualify for internship credit. The internship is supposed to serve as a hands-on, academically important learning opportunity that bridges higher educational learning with a prospective professional career. A hosting company or organization should not use an intern to perform chores that do not engage the student's higher mental and creative capabilities.

Do I have to major or minor in communication for you to sponsor me for an internship?

No. You will be considered regardless of your major, as long as the internship is communication-oriented. Jobs that require you to work independently, in laboratories, "pushing paper" or in bookkeeping, for example, will not be considered an internship in communication. You must be involved in steady interactions with customers, co-workers, and/or an involved management team.


Enrollment in Internships

How do I obtain approval for my internship?

Email our internship director, Dr. Virginia Hamilton and briefly describe where the internship is and what you will be required to do. She also will need to know how many units of internship credit you have earned up to the present time. If your internship is communication-related and not clerical in nature, it will be approved for a designated quarter or summer session. The course registration number (CRN) for the course changes every quarter, so you must access the correct one.

Do students enrolled in CMN 99 or CMN 192 attend classroom sessions, as with a regular course?

No. The workplace setting is your "classroom," and your supervisor at your internship company is your teacher and mentor. However, during the internship period you will be required to complete academic assignments and turn them in to Dr. Virginia Hamilton at the end the quarter. She will grade those assignments on a pass/no-pass basis. Of course, if you encounter any problems or have concerns regarding your internship, you may meet with her during her posted office hours.

Should I request a transcript notation for my internship?

Dr. Hamilton does not consider transcript notation necessary. If you perform an internship, you can include that work experience on your resume, and all future employers will see that. Few, if any, employers will ever look at your transcripts.

On the other hand, if you are planning pursue admission to graduate school, selection committees will review your transcripts. They are typically not impressed, however, with units earned for internships. Therefore, listening an internship on a transcript is superfluous.

One exception may be if you are applying for a business-oriented graduate degree; that is one of the rare situations in which the selection committee will review your transcripts and will be pleased that you have had some hands-on work experience. Consider, though, that those graduate programs will require a resume as well as transcripts.

What is the difference between CMN 99 and CMN 192?

If you have completed all of your lower division requirements you should enroll in CMN 192. If not, you must enroll in CMN 99.

Can I enroll in the internship course during the summer sessions?

Yes. Dr. Hamilton is sponsoring all interested interns during the summer sessions. However, that means that you will have to pay summer tuition. If you plan to return to UC Davis during fall quarter, you may complete the internship and the assignments during the summer, delay enrollment in CMN 99 or 192 until the fall quarter, and then earn your units at the end of fall quarter. If you will not return, and you want units for a summer internship, you will have to pay tuition for all of the units earned during that session.

If I am hired for an internship in the middle of the quarter, may I still enroll?

Yes. You can enroll in CMN 99 or 192 at any time during a quarter, as long as you have a permission to add (PTA) number. First, obtain approval from the Department of Communication internship director. Then email the department's undergraduate advisor at to request the form used to issue a PTA. If it's very late in the quarter, and you anticipate working at the internship past the last day of the quarter, you may enroll in the following quarter, carry those hours into the next quarter, and apply those hours toward the units earned at that time.


Unit Credits

How many internship units can I earn?

The number of units you can earn is based on the number of hours you work at the internship company. For every 30 hours you work, you earn one unit of credit. The university and Department of Communication allow you to earn up to 12 units of credit for internship activity. The more units you earn, the more academic work you are required to do. Learn more about how to enroll for internship credit

Can my internship units be applied to my major?

No. Internship units are elective units only.

I'm at my unit cap and am unable to earn any additional elective units. Do I have to seek units for my internship?

If you are serving a paid internship, the internship company will not require you to receive units for your work. However, for all unpaid internships, the company is legally required to make certain that you earn academic units. (A company cannot legally permit you to work for nothing.) If you have reached your absolute unit limit, you will not be able to accept an unpaid internship.

Often, students enroll in fewer CMN 99 or CMN 192 units than they could technically earn, in order to have an internship experience without exceeding their unit cap. For example, perhaps you will be working in an internship 10 hours per week for 10 weeks. Working 100 hours would allow you to earn three units of internship credit (at the rate of one unit for every 30 hours worked). Even though you would be eligible three units, you don't have to claim all three units — you could enroll in just one unit if you wish. Doing so satisfies the internship company's requirement that you are compensated in some way for your work, but you can keep that number at a minimum if you are approaching your unit cap.

May I earn units for more than one internship?

Absolutely. You can have as many internships as you like. However, you can receive no more than the maximum number of 12 units from the department and the university for your combined internships.

What happens if the UC Davis online Student Information System (SISweb) says I'm enrolled in only one unit for my internship, but I want more than one unit of credit?

CMN 99/192 is a variable unit course, which means the number of units each student earns varies from student to student. When you enroll, the system defaults to one unit. You are responsible for manually entering into the system the number of units you plan to earn (at 1 unit of academic credit per 30 hours of work). If you forgot to change the default when enrolling, and the amount of work you complete qualifies for more than one unit of credit, we will have to submit a "retroactive change request form" to the Office of the University Registrar.

What if I work more or fewer hours than the amount I estimated when I enrolled in CMN 99 or 192?

If this situation arises, please fill out a retroactive change form, give it to the internship director, and she will sign it and submit it to the Office of the University Registrar to make the appropriate unit change.



What should I do for each assignment to receive a passing grade?

Simply follow all of the assignment descriptions and requirements outlined above and on the "Assignment Descriptions and Requirements" page on this site. This is all the detail you need. Self-directness is expected. If you need reassurance that you are on "the right track" you may visit Dr. Virginia Hamilton in Kerr Hall 173 during her scheduled office hours.

If I have more than one internship, how do I choose which one I should use for my assignments?

Select whichever internship is the most interesting to you or has given you the greatest depth in experience and the most substance on which you can reflect and write about.



Will the Department of Communication or its internship director help me find an internship? 

No, not directly. You as a student are responsible to seek internship openings and interview for them, just as you would for any paid position. All students who are enrolled in any of the director's upper division courses will receive periodic announcements about internship offerings. The UC Davis Internship and Career Center and Aggie Job Link will also give you some direction. Consider asking Internship and Career Center personnel to evaluate your resume before you embark on an internship hunt.

Can my current job count as an internship?

Most of the common student or minimum wage jobs are not suitable for earning internship credit. Your job may count as an internship only if you are working in a professional environment that employs people with college degrees, and you are actively learning problem solving, leadership, group dynamics, and/or management skills. You must seek prior approval from the faculty sponsor before enrolling in CMN 99 (Special Study for Undergraduates) or CMN 192 (Internship in Communication)

My supervisor at my internship company said that s/he needs proof from the university that I am enrolled and will be receiving units for my work with them. How do I go about doing that?

The Department of Communication's internship director, Dr. Virginia Hamilton, will officially verify your enrollment by email or by writing and printing a signed letter. Email Dr. Hamilton and let her know the supervisor's contact information and what form of verification he or she requires.

What if I don’t like my internship?

We hope that you will think carefully before accepting an internship, as reneging on a work commitment does not reflect well on you or the university. If the supervisor of the internship does not meet the expectations you were given, you may quit, as with any job. If you did not work enough hours to earn the number of units for which you enrolled, then we must fill out and submit a retroactive change form to the Office of the University Registrar, reducing the number of units to the amount that reflects the amount of time you worked.