James Madison University
School of Media Arts & Design
SMAD internships are for 2 credits (SMAD 495). In rare instances, the student can receive 4 credits for twice the number of hours of work. You must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work at the internship to receive 2 hours of course credit and 240 hours of work to receive 4 credits. Students interested in an internship for credit must fill out an application, which will then be screened by SMAD to determine if the experience is worthy of credit and if the student meets SMAD eligibility requirements. Not all companies/organizations will be deemed suitable for internship credit. The entity must do business in a related field and they must have the resources to assign a supervisor who can devote time to the intern. It is presumed that the company/organization will provide a valuable learning environment and not merely benefit from the free labor of a largely unsupervised intern.
In order to receive SMAD internship credit, the student must:
- Be a fully admitted SMAD major.
- Have at least a 2.75 G.P.A. through the semester prior to the internship.
- Have completed SMAD 201 and SMAD 202 at the time of the application.
Seeking an Internship
Students are responsible for seeking internship opportunities by searching online or contacting companies directly. Companies sometimes send us information about available positions. All such information is posted on the SMAD Jobs & Internships link: http://smad.jmu.edu/jobint.php. Once you have targeted a company, it is up to you to contact them to determine their eligibility requirements and application process.
Before Your Internship (3 Forms)
Step 1: Fill out an Internship Application Form (contained in this packet) with the your signature.
Step 2: Schedule an interview with the company and bring the Internship Application Form (filled out) for them to sign.
Step 3: Complete a Company Background Form with attached information (if available). This form asks you to provide information about the company where you intend to intern. You may fill out only the top portion of the form, as long as you attach detailed information about the company and its internship program. (This could be as simple as a print out of a webpage or two). Where that information is not available, you will need to provide a written statement describing the company and its program. The goal here is to provide enough information for the SMAD Internship Coordinator to determine the legitimacy of the company and its program and to provide contact information in case more information is needed.
Step 4: Internship Credit Acknowledgement Form
In many cases, sponsoring companies require that you are enrolled for internship credit. Therefore, if the internship requires credit, you must enroll for credit and carry the SMAD 495 course to completion. If you drop the internship course for credit, you must inform the sponsoring company/organization of the change in your status by letter and file a copy of that letter with the SMAD Internship Coordinator. Your signature on this form indicates that you acknowledge that it is an Honor Code violation to accept an internship that requires academic credit and not register for the credit or not complete the course without notifying the company/organization and the SMAD Internship Coordinator.
Step 5: Provide the three forms above: the Internship Application Form (with the on-site supervisor's signature), the Company Background Form and the Internship Credit Acknowledgement Form to the SMAD Internship Coordinator. The coordinator will look over the material and if approved, will sign the form and arrange for the SMAD Director's approval.
Step 6: Registration
After all the completed forms have been provided, the SMAD office will create an override for you and notify you via email that the override is in place. You cannot register for SMAD 495 credit until the override has been placed in the registration system. Once you've been notified the override has been entered, you must still register for the class as soon as your registration period opens. You must register and pay for the credit hours in order to be enrolled in SMAD 495 and receive course credit. This is your responsibility. The Internship Coordinator does not register for you.
During Your Internship
Step 1: Daily Log
You must keep a typed, daily log of the hours you work. This should be an organized listing of the date, hours worked, duties performed and a statement of your perception of the experience that day and how it builds on what you are learning or prepares you for future assignments at the internship. You may also include assessments of the way you are being accepted by your co-workers and supervisor. Keep this in a timely fashion; don't try to remember it all the week before it is due. An example log is included as part of this packet.
Step 2: Evaluation Interview
About halfway through the internship, schedule an evaluation/assessment interview with your on-site evaluator. Discuss with this person your progress, what you need to do to improve, and any concerns you have about the experience you have had so far. This is the best way to insure that you are meeting the company's expectations and that they understand what your needs are. Include your assessments of this meeting in your daily log.
Materials Required at End of Internship (Two Forms and a Log)
Step 1: Supervisor's Internship Evaluation Form (Available at http://smad.jmu.edu - "Internships" Link)
Provide your on-site supervisor with a Supervisor's Internship Evaluation Form. It is your responsibility to give your supervisor the form. The supervisor must return this to the Internship Coordinator by the first day of exams during regular semester or by Wednesday of the last week of classes during summer session. If this is not received, the intern will receive an incomplete grade. This form is confidential between SMAD and the supervisor.
Step 2: Student's Internship Evaluation Form (Available at http://smad.jmu.edu - "Internships" Link)
You must submit your student evaluation of the internship form by the first day of exams during the regular semester or by Wednesday of the last week of classes during the summer session. If this is not received, you will receive an incomplete grade.
Step 3: Submit Daily Log
You must submit your typed log at the same time as your Student's Internship Evaluation Form (see above).
A. You must meet the minimum number of hours for your internship experience. If you do not, you will receive an incomplete grade. Meeting the minimum hours does not guarantee you a grade of "A." Likewise, exceeding the minimum hours does not guarantee you a grade of "A."
B. The Supervisor's Internship Evaluation Form will be filled out by your supervisor. These are the areas in which your work will be assessed. There is a mathematical formula for determining the 40% grade concerning attitude and professionalism and a similar formula for calculating the 60% grade for skills and work performance. This is the major rationale for your final grade. If you are concerned about the person who is supervising you, let the SMAD Internship Coordinator know of your concerns before grades are recorded. In other words, don't wait until the mail arrives to complain that your supervisor wasn't really the one you worked for and you don't think the evaluation is fair. The Internship Coordinator needs to know this early in the internship so that questions can be asked and the problem solved.
C. The completeness of your log and the professionalism with which you write it will help in determining whether a borderline grade should be higher or lower.
D. Finally, certainly you want an "A." However, you should recognize that in a professional setting, a grade of "B" is a good grade. This means the supervisor recognizes that you do good work. This is a compliment when you are compared to professionals at the work site. This evaluation is a professional's assessment of your work!. If you feel you did your best work, ask the supervisor to write you a letter of recommendation. That will be much more valuable than the grade on your transcript.
SMAD has created a checklist to help you with this process. It can be downloaded here.