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Undergraduate Program FAQs

Student, Studying, Campus Scene, Meg West, Environmental Biology, Sophomore, Fall Semester, Back to School, Photo by Everett SmithMay I complete an internship at the place I work?

You may not earn credit for an academic internship merely for working hours at your current job. An academic internship is designed to help you develop and broaden your workplace communication skills. However, some of our students do successfully complete internships at the place they already work. In order to do so, you must arrange to take on technical communication type duties or a project beyond your current job responsibilities and to get regular feedback from someone at your company with the appropriate background to comment on your technical communication work. For example, a student might already create paper-based instruction manuals for her company. She can’t earn internship credit for just doing the same work. But, her employer might want to explore developing online help and she could take on this new project for internship credit. Or, a student might notice that his employer would really benefit from having a new employee training handbook. He could propose to his supervisor to create this new handbook and earn internship credit.

You may get paid from your employer and receive reassigned time at work to complete your internship project and duties. Those arrangements are up to you and your employer. For information about arranging internships and contacting our Internship Director, see the internships information page. Please consult with your advisor to discuss how you might develop an appropriate internship at your work.

I already have considerable experience working as a technical communicator. Do I have to complete the internship requirement?

An internship allows you to gain valuable workplace experience and to investigate a specific career path. An internship also provides an opportunity for you to apply in a workplace setting technical communication concepts and skills you learn in your courses. However, some of our students already work as a technical communicator or have substantial experience with writing in the workplace. For these students, completing an internship might not be as valuable as taking another upper-division course. If you feel that you already have significant workplace experience as a writer and wish to replace the required internship with an upper-division course, please contact your advisor. If your advisor agrees with you, please submit to the Director of Technical Communication (email: a proposal that explains your workplace experience and that includes any appropriate supporting materials. If your proposal is approved, you will substitute another course for your required internship.

You and your advisor will fill out a Request for Adjustment of Academic Requirements form, which you can get from the Registrar (room 102 in the Administration Building).

May I enroll in a graduate technical communication course while still an undergraduate?

Yes, undergraduates with senior standing may enroll in a graduate course while still working on their undergraduate degree. You must meet all the graduate course prerequisites and you will need to complete and submit the Permit for Seniors to Take Graduate Courses form. Students may not apply the graduate credits to both their undergraduate and graduate degree programs. That is, the credits may count toward your undergraduate degree (with your advisor’s approval)  or a future graduate degree but not both. Some technical communication emphasis students enroll in a graduate-level technical communication course to get a head start on their master’s degree. Other students enroll in the graduate course to round out their undergraduate education.