An internship is an opportunity for a student to transfer knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to a professional setting while under the supervision of professionals. Students who take advantage of internships gain first-hand experience in their field of study, acquire marketable skills, and begin to establish professional networks.
Internships are a key element of a student’s preparation for a career in the arts or communication fields. Due to this, internships are an integral part of the Emerson College experience for both undergraduate and graduate students. A student can earn academic credit for an internship if he or she meets eligibility requirements and completes the internship approval process.
Locations for Internships
*If a student wishes to earn credit for an internship in Los Angeles, he or she must be enrolled in the program offered through the International Study & External Programs Office.
Finding an Internship
As a student, you will not be placed into an internship. It is your responsibility to find and secure your own opportunity. However, Career Services has many resources available to assist you such as eHire, our online internship database and resource library.
Before you start looking for opportunities, you should think about why you want to do an internship and what you hope to learn. These goals can be about the type of work you would like to do, what kind of employer you want to intern with, geographic location, time commitment, etc. Use these goals to guide your search.
Remember to start your search early to allow yourself time to look, interview, and make a decision. Sites will typically start recruiting for interns in July for fall, October for spring, and March for summer positions. Some internships have a deadline almost a year in advance.
If you're looking for an international internship or volunteer experience, read our International Internships fact sheet to help guide your search.
Tips for Safely Searching for a Job or Internship Online
The internet is a primary resource for networking, job searching, and recruitment. Are you searching safely?
Tips for Researching Organizations
• Visit the organization's website and social media pages
• Google the organization
• Search for the organization on glassdoor.com
• Ask questions in the interview
• Search public records for the organization, such as the Secretary of State in which the organization is located
• The organization does not appear businesslike. For example, the contact telephone is a residential line; people are difficult to reach or require you to talk at odd hours; written communications contain misspellings or poor grammar; websites have amateurish graphics or design; recruiters ask for personal information such as financial account numbers, social security numbers, or personal or relationship status, etc.
• The organization asks you to purchase or provide your own equipment, such as computer, cell phone, camera, or other personal equipment
• The organization asks you to make an initial investment or to purchase product or inventory
• The organization asks you to work “virtually” or in a private residence
• The organization tries to schedule an interview in a non-professional setting such as a cocktail lounge or bar, or in a non-public place, such as a personal residence or hotel room
• The recruiter offers to pick you up or meet you in his/her automobile
• The recruiter asks personal or non‐businesslike questions or uses social media in an intrusive or non-businesslike way
• If a paid position, the organization offers to pay you in cash or “under the table” or insists that you work at less than minimum wage or without overtime pay
What to do if you encounter a suspicious organization:
• Cease Communication
• If the position or organization was posted on eHire, contact Career Services at 617-824-8586 or firstname.lastname@example.org
• Visit www.dol.gov to report legitimacy/safety concerns after being hired
• Visit www.cybercrime.gov to report internet incidents
• Additional resources: http://www.ftc.gov/jobscams; http://www.bbb.org/us/article/beware-of-employment-scams-280
If you want to earn credit for your internship, you will have to go through the internship approval process. Your timeframe for searching for an internship should take this into account.
Applying for an Internship
Applying for an internship is similar to applying for a job. You will need to create materials to communicate your interest and employability to employers (i.e., résumé and cover letter). You will send in your application materials to different employers and then you will have an interview. To schedule a mock interview or to have your résumé or cover letter reviewed by a career counselor, contact us.
During the interview, you want to evaluate the nature of the internship and the employer to determine if it is a good match. If all goes well, you will receive an offer from the internship site. At that point, you will want to review your thoughts and feelings about the internship and site to make a decision about whether you want to accept the internship offer. Here are some questions you can factor into your decision:
Does the internship provide:
- Meaningful work experiences?
- Intellectual stimulation?
- Opportunities to work independently?
- Exposure to outstanding colleagues?
- Recognition for achievements?
- A supervisor whose personality suits yours?
Does the organization:
- Have a good reputation and image?
- Invest in improving its products or services?
- Engage in practices you feel uncomfortable with?
Other Questions to Consider:
- Who will be supervising you, and when will you meet? Regular supervision and feedback is very important for a good internship.
- Is the office accessible to you? Do you feel safe getting there and working in the neighborhood?
- Is the company legitimate? Do they have a website? Does it list contact information that includes an actual street address? Can you find information about the company elsewhere?
- What will your work schedule be?
- What are the start and end dates for your internship? All internships should have a designated start and end date, as they are to be a specific period during which you gain hands on experience and training at a company.
- What are the tasks, duties, and projects you will be working on during the course of the internship? Do these correspond to your goals for the internship and the skills you would like to gain?
Frequently, students will apply to multiple internships so they have multiple internship offers to choose from.
For more information about unpaid or paid internships, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor's website on wages.
Questions or concerns about whether or not an internship is right for you? Contact Career Services at 617-824-8586 to meet with a counselor. If you run into any problems during the course of your credit-bearing internship, contact your Departmental Internship Coordinator.
Starting Your Internship
An internship provides you with a chance to begin establishing your professional reputation. Remember that your internship site is full of potential employers, colleagues, or competitors. If you plan to work in the industry, you will see these people in the future.
Read our Advice for Interns fact sheet for tips to help guide you through the internship experience.
Emerson's Job & internships Database
Call our Front Desk at 617-824-8586 for the fastest and easiest way to make an appointment.