English students work in Van Etten Lacey House

Preface: English 380 and 399 are formally described in the academic catalogue. The purpose of this document is to give you a better idea of what information the  Department of English and Creative Writing expects to see in an internship proposal and to state in more detail what work is required for the successful completion of an internship.

Step 1: Identify a Suitable Internship

Step 2: Prepare to Earn Academic Credit for this Internship

Step 3: Be Successful in Earning English Department Credit

Step 1: Identify a Suitable Internship

Students identify internships in a number of ways: you can scan listings available on the Cornell Fellows website, visit with the staff at the Berry Career Institute, and consult with your advisor for suggestions; or, perhaps you have a good idea for an internship and are willing to initiate appropriate contact. Be creative! English students in the past have completed internships with academic publishing companies, public policy organizations, educational groups, graphic novel creators, and others--and the list of possibilities is endless.

Some internships are paid, but many are not. You might be able to obtain funding for an unpaid internship through the Cornell Fellows Program. Consult with the director about your options.

Step 2: Prepare to Receive English Department Credit

Not all internships are credit-bearing. An internship that bears academic credit must have a significant academic component, and it is important that the credit be earned in ways appropriate to the sponsoring department. Here are the preliminary steps:

Secure a Sponsor: Once you have found a suitable internship, seek a sponsor by submitting a proposal to a faculty member in the Department of English and Creative Writing. The proposal must contain the following:

  • a statement of your goals in enrolling in the internship
  • a description of the position
  • an explanation of why or how the position promises to fulfill the goals
  • an explanation of why the Department of English and Creative Writing is the appropriate department to sponsor this particular internship.

Plan an Academic Project: If a faculty member agrees to sponsor the internship, you must work out with the faculty sponsor an appropriate academic project associated with the internship. The Department of English and Creative Writing requires the following work from each student involved in an internship:

  • a portfolio of written work that may include a journal, a set of formal papers, or other written work completed as part of the internship, submitted in installments over the term or the summer (the precise assignments and schedule to be worked out with the sponsor)
  • interviews with two different people with experience in the field, the interviews written up to gain a wider perspective on the field and for the use of students in the future
  • an essay of assessment handed in at the end of the internship, discussing how well the experience met the goals, in what ways it was a worthwhile experience, and in what ways it was not.

Submit Proposal to English Department Chair: The internship proposal, including the sponsor's signature, must be submitted to the department chair for approval and formally filed with the department before it begins.

Submit Proposal to Registrar: Finally, according to the College Catalogue, you must file with the Registrar's office a proposal endorsed by the faculty sponsor: "The proposal must be submitted to the Registrar before the start of the term in which the Internship is to be credited. Internship credit will not be approved retroactively." Forms can be obtained through the Registrar's website.

Step 3: Successfully Earn English Department Credit

In order to receive credit for the internship, you must:

  • Provide your faculty sponsor with sufficient information about the host institution so that your sponsor can understand your program and assess progress toward goals.
  • Report for the internship position on time and fulfill all work responsibilities according to the job description.
  • Meet routinely with their direct supervisor, and be available to meet with the faculty sponsor (by phone or email, if necessary), to assess progress towards goals.
  • Execute all work required by the faculty sponsor and by the on-site supervisor to the satisfaction of your faculty sponsor.

Your faculty sponsor will read the material you submit and will assign credit or no credit.