Why the internship?
The internship is integral to RMU's core value of "Professional Focus." It allows for students to gain professional experience in the field prior to entering the job market. The department of Media Arts believes that the internship is so critical, that it is one of the few departments in the university that requires it. Students completing the BFA or BA degrees are required to complete at least one internship prior to graduation, although it is a recommended that students complete more than one to get that much more experience.
Internships for credit usually take place sometime during your junior year or later. Since you are a representative of RMU while in the workplace, it is critical that you have at least intermediate skills in your discipline and with your written/oral communication. To apply for internship, you must meet these minimum qualifications:
- Minimum GPA of 2.5
- Have completed 60 credit hours prior to the beginning of the internship
- Have completed 12 credit hours at RMU (applies to transfer students ONLY)
- Have completed three of your four COSK courses.
- Have completed the second-level course in your concentration. Second-level courses are as follows: Graphic Design > ARTM3110, Interaction Design > ARTM3210, Photography > ARTM3300, Video Field Production > ARTM2430
Securing an internship
Securing an internship is a multi-step process where the following will occur:
1. Assuming you have the pre-requisites listed above, you need to apply to be eligible for being an intern
2. You must secure an internship with the employer (there are two ways to do this - see below)
3. Department head will assign a full time faculty member to supervise your internship
4. You must sign and have your employer sign the "Mutual Letter of Agreement" and return it to your faculty supervisor.
Detailed instructions for securing an internship:
The first thing you need to do is to apply to be elgible as an intern. Stop by the PPG Career Center near the front lawn entrance of Nicholson and complete the application. This will be forwarded to the department head for consideration. The department head usually approves all applicants who meet the requirements stated above. However, if your GPA is hovering near the minimum or if your performance as a student is questionable, the department head has the option of denying your application until you better hone your skills.
Upon approval of your eligibilty, you can find employers with internship opportunities one of two ways:
1. Browse through RMU's ColonialTRAK, where employers have asked RMU to advetise their internship opportunities. Once you find one or more of interest, you must apply to that company/organization for the position. Be advised that most of the time, RMU is not the only place in which employers advertise. You may be in competition with other applicants from other schools, especially for some of the more exclusive opportunities like the major sports teams, ad agencies, or TV stations. This is why it's doubly important that you know your craft and give a good interview prior to applying.
2. Find an internship on your own, not using ColonialTRAK. Sometimes, you may get word of a last minute internship opportuntiy, or perhaps the opportunity is near your hometown - away from the Pittsburgh region. Before you can secure the internship for credit, the employer site where you would like to intern must be reviewed by the department head. The RMU Career Center can provide you with electronic documents that the employer must complete. Upon return of those documents to the Career Center, the department head will interview the employer to ensure that all academic requirements will be met. Basic requirements of the site are that you work at the business location (not from home), that you are supervised by an expert in the discipline for which you are studying, and that your intern duties are related to your discipline (designing, producing, photographing, etc.) If the site is approved, you may continue the process of securing the internship with that employer.
Once you have secured the internship with the employer, the department head receives a packet from the Career Center with all of the information about the internship. At this point, the department head will ask a full time faculty member in your discipline to supervise the internship. This process can take 24-72 hours depending on communication logistics between the department head and the faculty member. When a faculty member is assigned, you will receive an email from the department head introducing you to the faculty supervisor and it will include four attached documents: Employer guidelines, requirements of you for the internship, the employer evaluation form, and the mutual letter of agreement (MULA). You MAY NOT start the internship until the MULA is returned to your faculty supervisor with signatures from you and the employer.
Completing the internship
For three internship credits, you must intern for at least 150 hours. That equates to ten hours a week during a 15-week fall or spring semester. Summer internships may finish sooner or later depending on how you average your hours. In the Media Arts department, you are required to keep a weekly journal and submit the journal to your faculty supervisor in a timely manner. Near the end of your time at the internship site, you must provide the evaluation form to your site supervisor (not your faculty supervisor) so that s/he may evaulate your performance at the site. This form must be returned by the site supervisor DIRECTLY to your faculty supervisor. Upon the conclusion of your internship, you must write a five to seven page paper that reflects on your internship experience. Full details about the paper can be found in the internship requirements document that was sent to you as an attachment by the department head at the beginning of your internship.
What about two internships?
Doing more than one internship is highly encouraged. The more experience you can gain in the field, the more you will be better prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. A second internship also gives you the opportunity to try out different paths in your field (e.g. being a camera operator vs. editing, or package design vs. editorial design, or sports photography vs. portrait photography).
What is the six-credit internship?
Six credit internships are available and they require 300 hours of internship activity. This averages to 20 hours per week during a 15-week fall or spring semester. Six credit internships are only approved in special situations where you will be working on double the activities of a three-credit internship. Six-credit internships are not approved for sites were you will just be doing double the hours of same activities. To better explain this, think of a three-credit internship including activities A, B, & C for ten hours a week. A six-credit internship must include activities A, B, C, D, E, & F for twenty hours a week.
While ColonialTRAK has all available internships listed, there are a few of interest either for being a paid opportunity or being high-profile. Search for these on ColonialTRAK for more details:
KDKA-TV Commercial Production (TV/Video)
Acosta Sales & Marketing ($10.00/hr, Design)
Pittsburgh Magazine (Design)
PMI (Production Masters Inc., TV/Video)
Pittsburgh Zoo (TV/Video)
Late Show with David Letterman (TV/Video)
FSN Pittsburgh (TV/Video)
Innovations (Graphic Design/Web)
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (TV/Video)
Acosta Sales & Marketing Co. (Design)
Oceans Campus (Photography)
WQED Multimedia (TV/Video)
WQED Multimedia (Interactive)
Green Building Alliance (Graphic Design)
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