The COMS 499 Internship

The COMS 499 internship is a communications-related activity that is required to finish your degree in communications studies. The majority of our students say that their internships have led them to jobs or to the next step in their career path, and it just may be one of the most important classes you take while at Sonoma State.

As you get ready for your internship, please consider the following guidelines. If you have further questions, contact Hillary Homzie, the internship coordinator in the School of Arts and Humanities. 

These are the steps for securing an internship:

1) The first step is to decide what sort of internship interests you.

For example, would you like to work for a winery? Retail? A non-profit or government agency? In human resources? In a public school? A film festival? A newspaper or radio station? Are you interested in administrative work? Social services? Event planning? Creating an in-house newsletter? Please note that COMS majors must do an internship involving a COMs related activity, such as journalism, digital marketing, sports and entertainment marketing, public relationships, editing, broadcasting (radio/TV), podcasting, blogging, vlogging, videography, filmmaking, music business, photography, public speaking, editing, social media, event planning, advertising or internal communications/publications.

2) Make sure you have a polished resume and a cover letter.

It's important to have a resume in place as well as to craft a compelling cover letter introducing yourself. You will want to always follow up when you send out inquiries and sound enthusiastic and respectful. You will also want to update your Linkedin account (which Career Services can help you with).

3) Visit the Drop-in Hours at the Career Center, International Hall 107

Visit during the Zoom drop-in hours between 10-2 Mon-Thursday or schedule a consultation by going to Mon-Thursday and the Career Center advisors will critique your resume as well as your cover letter. I also recommend that you take a career test offered through the Career Center website as well as sign up for Handshake, a job and internship search portal.

4) Start your internship search.

You can also simply call up places that interest you as well as email. And don’t forget to search for potential leads through LinkedIn. Employers are always thrilled to hear from Sonoma State students. Simply ask them if they sponsor or will consider sponsoring internships for undergraduate students.

Check your email regularly for COMS internship opportunities sent by our Administrative Coordinator Shelly Stephens. The early bird gets the worm. Also, remember to speak with other students who have completed internships and ask for recommendations as well as network through family and friends. You can find internships through Internet searches, but you will often have the most luck sticking with local and regional employers or contacts through family and friends. In addition to looking for internships in Santa Rosa, consider looking in Petaluma, Sonoma, and Healdsburg as well as Napa County, Marin County and San Francisco. However, during COVID-19, you’ll have a tremendous opportunity to find remote opportunities all across the United States. Currently, all internships must be remote. 

You may complete a remote internship as long as there is sufficient training and supervision. Some students have found internships at their current place of employment but have shifted responsibilities for their internships. For example, students who work in retail or in recreation or hospitality have asked their employer if they can take on COMs related activities, such as social media.

There are also plenty of internship possibilities right here on campus. It's just a matter of asking! 

5) Once you have nabbed a semester-long internship, fill out your internship agreement and get your internship supervisor's signature. 

Please note that COMS internship agreement, as well as the advising logs, are available on the COMS website under forms:

You will need both forms in order to register. You cannot register online and you don’t need an access code. You upload the paperwork onto Arts & Humanities Internship Prep Course on Canvas. This is not an actual course but a place to approve paperwork for the internship. Hillary will message you on Canvas when she has signed and approved of the paperwork and the internship. She will send the paperwork onto Shelly Stephens to obtain the chair’s signature as well as

6) Decide how many units that you want for your internship

You must work 45 hours per one unit. That means for a four-unit class, you would need to work 180 hours. By the time you graduate, you must have four units of internship. However, you can also have more! When you plan for an internships, make sure that this fits into your schedule. Remember you can sign up for a one-unit, two-unit, three-unit or four-unit internship. Some students even sign up for multiple internships in one semester. 

It's always best to check in with your academic advisor to see if you are on track to graduate and to figure out how many units you might need. Typically, a COMS student can take up to 8 units of internships (sometimes more in special cases). Always check in with your advisor first as everyone comes in with unique and different needs.

7) Once you have filled out the agreement as well as the advising log, then email me and let me about your internship. I will add you to add you to the Canvas Prep course. Then after you're added to the prep class, please upload the signed forms onto Canvas on the Arts & Humanities Preparation course to get my signature and approval. You must upload them as PDFs. Please note that you can download the free Adobe App which allows you to scan documents with your phone and turn them into PDFs.

8) After I have signed off on your paperwork on Canvas I will send the agreement onto to Shelly, the Administrative Coordinator, Communications.

Shelly will obtain Communications Chair Ed Beebout's signature, as well as the Dean's signature. The dean's office will give it to Dennis Goss, the Scheduler, who then sends it on the Registrar. It will take about ten business days for the class to show up in your portal. It is your responsibility to make sure that the class, COMS 499, shows up in your portal and with the correct number of units. If you receive financial aid, please mark financial aid in capital letters at the top of your agreement.

How are you assessed and receive a grade?

The midterm/final internship performance reviews can be downloaded on the COMS 499 Canvas course. You can also download them from the Coms website. Once you download an evaluation, have your supervisor fill it out and upload it to Canvas.

There are several ways to handle the midterm and final evaluation. The easiest way is to print it out, and then hand it to your supervisor in person and have them fill out it. Then you would scan the entire document or take photos of each page and upload this to Canvas. Note, you must send images or scans of every page.

The alternative way is to email the evaluation to your supervisor and have them fill out the Word version (or print out the PDF version) and send it back to you via email and then you download the document onto Canvas.

For a list of file formats compatible with Canvas go here::

Additionally, at the end of the semester you will fill out a self-survey on Canvas.

It is your responsibility to make sure that the supervisor receives and fills out the midterm and final evaluations. In order to receive a grade and your units, I must receive the midterm, the final and the self-survey. Lateness will affect your grade.

Internship Criteria

In order to qualify as an internship, your work needs to not just be supervised but you need to experience supervised intellectual and skills growth. 

To ensure that an internship is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship, Sonoma State University Arts & Humanities Internship program follows the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) criteria for a quality internship:

  • The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform. (This means work that is clerical in nature or involves routine maintenance or service responsibilities does not qualify for academic work).  
  • The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  • The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  • There are clearly defined learning objectives and goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework. In other words, the student will experience significant intellectual and skills growth as a result of the internship.
  • There is supervision by a professional with expertise and an educational or professional background in the field of the experience.
  • There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  • There are resources, equipment and facilities provided by the host employer that support the learning objectives and goals.

In addition, internships cannot be:

  • located in someone’s residence (home office or on someone’s home property). However, you might be able to work remotely with someone working in a professional capacity from their home residence due to COVID-19. However, students are never to visit the residence of their internship supervisor or other employees.
  • In a family-owned business or in an organization where a family member is supervising you or is in a position of authority over you
  • In an organization where you have previously volunteered, interned, or worked (although exceptions can be made)
  • service sector positions don’t qualify as an internship. However, if you are working in management for the service sector, event planning or communications then, yes, you may potentially use the experience as an internship.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All best,

Hillary Homzie

Faculty, Communications

Coordinator, Internships

Arts & Humanities

Sonoma State University

Carson 51