Below are some of our most frequently asked questions about the Emerson Los Angeles internship course. If you need further assistance, please contact our internship staff at internela [at] emerson.edu and we would be happy to assist. You an also review answers to questions about residence life.
When are the information sessions for the Los Angeles program and where are they held?
Information sessions for accepted students will be held in Boston the semester prior to arrival in Los Angeles. Students who have been accepted to the program and paid their deposit will receive an email informing them of the date, time, and place of the mandatory information sessions. Information sessions for the Fall semester are held in February or March and information sessions for the Spring semester are held in October. During the two-hour meeting, students will meet with the Los Angeles internship and residence directors to ask questions about the program, including the process of finding an internship. Specific program information, dates, and deadlines will also be shared. Attendance is mandatory; you cannot participate in the program without attending an information session.
When should I send an email to Emerson Los Angeles' internship program staff?
Anytime! We can provide support and suggestions for the application and internship experience. You can set up a phone meeting or enquire via email.
What are Emerson’s general requirements for internships?
You can read through a complete list of Emerson College's internship requirements and responsibilities.
When can I begin the process of searching for an internship?
We recommend doing so after attending the mandatory information session, but aside from that, you can begin as soon as you feel ready to do so! Be sure to first review your resume and cover letter with Career Services to ensure that your application materials are ready. From there, you may apply to as many internship sites as you are interested in.
How do I find an internship?
There are many ways that you may find an internship: the Emerson Los Angeles internship site, the Hot Site Lists that are sent to all incoming students, Variety Insight, Google searches, and other internship websites are all great places to search. Once you have been accepted into the LA program, you will receive access to the LA internship information and website (your username is your FULL Emerson email address; your password will be emailed to you). You may browse the internship database by keyword, organization name, industry, position type, major, category or classification. The Hot Site Lists will be emailed to your Emerson email weekly and contain information that we wish to highlight for the coming semester. (it is extremely important to have a working email address.)
What criteria should I use in my selection process?
Your search should reflect your academic major, your production and work experience, and/or your future career plans. Keep in mind that, even at a small company, you may not be able to do everything and should distinguish between various departments. Be selective and thoughtful in your search, whether it be within a specific area of interest, varied companies and roles, and so on.
Is there a limit on how many sites I may apply to through the Emerson Los Angeles internship database?
There is no limit to the number of sites you may apply to! We recommend applying to at least 8-10 sites that you are MOST interested in. There is no need to send out dozens of applications for internships that you would not want.
How will I know if my choices are good ones?
There is no “wrong” choice! As long as you are applying to companies whose work you are interested in and whose policies and practices reflect our guidelines, trust yourself and your search.
Should I focus on the big-name companies?
Choosing a small company vs. a large company is a matter of personal and professional preference. Employers tend to be more concerned with WHAT you’ve done rather than WHERE you’ve done it. Often, smaller companies offer many more opportunities and experiences for an intern, whereas a larger company may place you in a specific department and limit your exposure to other areas of interest. However, for a more fruitful search, you should vary the type of companies you apply to.
Can I expect to intern in production on a film set?
This is not a realistic expectation, but that does not mean that students have never worked on a film set through the LA program. Usually, it comes down to a combination of luck and timing. Film productions do not necessarily correspond with the semester system. Also, many films are shot on location, not in LA. As an intern, you are not an employee and, therefore, are not bonded, insured, or a member of a union, which makes it difficult to get on a film set. However, in television and video production, there tend to be more “on set” internships that are readily available.
Applying to Internship Opportunities
How do I apply for an internship?
Each internship opportunity in our database provides the appropriate contact information and details regarding how best to apply for the internship. Usually, you email your cover letter and resume to the intern supervisor. You should follow up with a phone call (whenever possible) to make sure the contact person received your application. If you have not heard back from an intern supervisor after two follow-up phone calls, move on to the next internship site.
How soon should I send my cover letter/resume to internship sites?
As soon as internship opportunities become available, you are welcome to apply. However, keep in mind that companies may not respond to your application materials until a few weeks before your arrival.
I need help with my cover letter and resume. What do I do?
You should attend a resume-writing workshop offered by Career Services the semester before you begin at Emerson Los Angeles. You are REQUIRED to have your cover letter and resume completed before you arrive in LA. Contact the Career Services Office for information and assistance with your cover letter and resume. You can also contact the internship staff at Emerson Los Angeles to provide application material support.
What do I do if an internship supervisor returns my call?
Great! The company is interested! Ask the supervisor if he or she would like to set up an interview. The interview might be scheduled for your first few weeks in LA or via Skype before you arrive. You can accept an offer at any point; however, once you have agreed to intern with a company for the semester, you will be expected to honor that commitment (just as we expect the internship site to honor its commitment to you, too). NEVER accept an internship without first interviewing and understanding what the experience will be like. Please DO NOT schedule any interviews during mandatory orientations, which are held the first week you arrive in LA.
What do I do if no one responds to my cover letter/resume?
Contact the Emerson Los Angeles internship staff. They will work to provide you with additional contact information and other resources and support you in your search.
Can I set up my own internship at a site not currently listed in the internship database?
Yes, but you must contact your internship advisor to make sure the internship meets their approval. With your introduction, the internship staff member will email the intern supervisor and discuss the LA Program’s internship guidelines. If the policies and practices of the company align with the Emerson Los Angeles program guidelines, then the Emerson Los Angeles staff will conduct a site visit at some point during the semester.
Do I have any other paperwork to complete once I secure the internship?
Yes, you must complete the Learning Agreement, which is a contract between you, the internship supervisor, and Emerson Los Angeles. The Learning Agreement is due two and a half weeks after arrival. Your Learning Agreement must be completed and signed by ALL PARTIES, by the deadline.
How many hours can I work at the internship site, and for how long during the semester?
For 4 credits, you must intern 16-23 hours per week. For 8 credits, you must intern 24-32 hours per week.
The student and the internship supervisor will decide how to schedule those hours. You must remain at the internship site for the ENTIRE SEMESTER. You may not leave early, take a non-school holiday vacation, or work additional hours per week so that you can conclude the internship before the semester ends.
Can I intern for additional hours if I want to?
There are many reasons why we do not recommend working longer than the required hours. Your Learning Agreement stipulates the specific hours you can intern per credit unit, therefore, you are not receiving academic credit for any additional hours. The internship staff can discuss the other problems with interning additional hours at your orientation.
How many credits can I receive for an internship?
Students may intern at ONE internship site, for 4 or 8 units of credit ONLY.
Can I expect to get paid during my internship?
It is up to the internship site whether or not the intern receives compensation. The majority of sites do not compensate students. However, many will provide a free lunch, a small stipend, and/or gas money for an occasional errand.
The company where I want to intern has asked for a letter verifying that I’m enrolled for academic credit. What do I do?
Emerson Los Angeles will provide you with a letter of verification either when applying to or after you have accepted your internship. Please provide company name, address, site contact and email, and the number of credits you are enrolled in.
Are there particular internships that are more likely to lead to a job after graduation?
California law specifically states that unpaid internships must be part of an educational curriculum and that students are not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of training. Your reward for completing the internship course is academic credit from Emerson College. However, there is no better way to receive hands-on knowledge, meet people who might help you in your future career, and become acquainted with your industry of choice than through an internship in Los Angeles. Depending on fit and evaluation of experience, an internship could lead to a job at the conclusion of the semester.
Are there academic assignments involved in the internship course?
Yes, the concept of this program is to fully integrate theory and practice, so there is an academic component to the course. You will be assigned a professor and class will meet twice during the semester as a large group and on a more regular basis in smaller groups. You will be required to complete assignments according to the syllabus.
Are there any other requirements for the internship course?
Yes, you are required to take part in two professional development experiences and complete eight hours of community service during the semester.