Department of Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations

Wilson Hall, Room 316
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-4120

General Department Questions:
Debra Koehler

Department of Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations

Wilson Hall, Room 316
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-4120

General Department Questions:
Debra Koehler

The screen of a video camera showing a man and woman talking.

Communication

COM 4950, the internship class for communication and PR majors, now fulfills the capstone requirement for the B.A. in communication, and the B.A. in public relations and strategic communication. Other reasons to complete an internship include:

  • Employers prefer students who have done at least one internship.
  • Interns fare better in a weak job market.
  • Interns get the opportunity to network with people in their desired profession.
  • Interns can take their career for a test drive before they graduate.

Watch video testimonials from OU students who value their internship experience.

If you have any questions or would like to talk with someone personally about the internship course, contact Dr. Valerie Palmer-Mehta, internship director, at vpalmer@oakland.edu.

Prerequisites/Pre-Capstone Meetings

To enroll in the internship capstone course (COM 4950), students need to complete the prerequisite courses listed in SAIL; attend one pre-capstone meeting to learn about the three capstone options in communication; and secure a pre-approved internship, which has been finalized in Handshake by the first day of classes. 

If you intend to register for the class, the next pre-capstone meeting dates are:

  • Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
  • Monday, June 14, 2021, 6:00 - 7:15 p.m.

These meetings will be held online via Google Meet. Contact Valerie Palmer-Mehta to receive a link to attend the meetings. Please note these meetings are open to any Oakland University communication or public relations major. You need not be registered for the class to attend (but you must attend if you are registered for the class and you haven't attended a previous pre-internship meeting).

Requirements

COM 4950 is a four-credit course, requiring 12 full weeks and 150 hours of pre-approved communication and public relations internship work over the course of a 15-week semester. The value of the internship experience increases proportionately to the time students commit; however, only four credit hours may be earned for each internship experience, no matter how long the job lasts. While some employers may want students to work full time (40 hours/week), the department does not recommend this type of commitment unless it is a paid situation. Usually students start an internship at the beginning of a semester. However, they may start an internship at any time during the school year - pending approval from the internship director. Please reach out to the internship director regarding additional requirements and expectations. 

How to set up an internship

Students who are considering taking COM 4950, the internship capstone, should take the following steps:

(1) Attend a Pre-Capstone Meeting to learn about the three capstone course options that fulfill the capstone requirement in the Communication major. The internship course is NOT required; it is one of three options.

(2) Register for COM 4950

(3) Make an appointment with OU Career Services on Handshake to have a career consultant review your resume and cover letter, and learn about Handshake. Upload your revised documents to Handshake.

(4) Apply to the pre-approved internships on the Communication Internships List. It is recommended that you follow the time frames listed below, but you should check the specific date of each employer in case it is earlier:

  • Fall Term: June / Early July
  • Winter Term: Early October
  • Summer Terms:  February / Early March

(5) Prepare to be interviewed by employers by researching the company and practicing interview questions. 

(6) Complete the experience form in Handshake. The experience should be completely through the approval process by the first day of classes.  

 

Available Internships
Please see our list of pre-approved Communication Internships. These employers are seeking OU students and will be happy that you applied!
Off-list Internships

Students may apply to internships not on our pre-approved list. Generally, in order to be approved, the internship must offer a meaningful opportunity for the intern to gain professional experience in a career area focused on communication and public relations, the employer must be willing to provide the intern with 150 hours of work and mentorship over a 3 month period, and the employer must be willing to fill out a midterm and final evaluation form for the intern. Additional information and guidelines can be found on the Off-list Internship Application Form. Email the internship director, Dr. Palmer-Mehta, to let her know you have submitted the form. 

Career Options

Experts have predicted for years that communication will become increasingly valued as we move into the post-industrial era. Clearly this is happening now. More and more employers are looking for people with strong communication backgrounds.

Pathways to Careers in Communication offers some key observations. Excellent communication skills are incredibly important for both personal and professional success. Communication is the foundation of relational development and maintenance, family cohesion and workplace advancement. The U.S. Department of Labor has declared there are 16 qualities for high job performance. Ten of those qualities are commonly studied in the field of communication: listening, speaking, creative thinking, decision making, problem solving, reasoning, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, diversity and inclusion, and integrity.

All of the pathways normally pursued for obtaining a job should be explored when searching for a position in communication. Job searches can include going to Career Services, being active on job search sites like LinkedIn, conducting informational interviews, doing internships, and networking with people who may be aware of job opportunities.

Some career options include:

  • Public Relations
  • Corporate Communication
  • Government Relations
  • Community Affairs
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Event Planning
  • Management
  • Radio Broadcasting
  • Radio Production
  • Television Broadcasting
  • Television Production
  • Grant Writing
  • Publishing
  • HR/Employment Services
Career Prep

Prepare for a career in communications:

  • Consider doing an internship or taking on a volunteer position; these can help you build networks and gain relevant experience which can lead to jobs. 
  • Do informational interviews with people in your field who hold positions similar to your career aspirations.
  • Assemble documentation that demonstrates your talents, such as a portfolio of writing samples or "demo" tapes.
  • When asking anyone to write letters of recommendation, provide them with all the documentation they need to flesh out the statements about you with examples and illustrations. 
  • Students should visit Career Services to have their resumes and cover letters reviewed and to do a mock interview.  Additionally, this office provides career development opportunities and access to potential jobs through career fairs, career panels, and Handshake