Santa Clara University



English 198: The Practicum Class

"Internship in Professional Writing" is a course that offers students an opportunity to secure five quarter units of upper-division P/NP academic credit for on-the-job work experience. Students apply for an internship with the Internship Director and work with the director to establish an appropriate internship experience. The organization of the course varies with the number of students enrolled during any quarter. Regardless of enrollment numbers, the course is organized so that students and the Internship Director can meet regularly to discuss their internship experience and their progress on course assignments due throughout the quarter.


Several English major alums sponsored internships. One was working for a company that delivers software and the documentation to go with it. This alum hired a Santa Clara intern who had a chance to "shadow" a professional at the same time he acquired the kind of practical experience that helped him decide if this is the career for him.

Another alum was a senior partner at a company that began a study "intended to identify business issues and trends influencing communication professionals and their organizations." This alum was looking for interns who could complete literature scans, write summaries of research findings, and provide writing and research support for other assignments.

A third alum was the principal of a new Jesuit middle school for at-risk boys. He used a student intern to help write curricular and policy documents On campus, the Santa Clara Magazine and the California Legacy Center regularly put out calls for interns.



Advantages In addition to earning five upper-division P/NP English credits, an internship offers you the opportunity to apprentice with professional writers in workplace settings and to acquire the invaluable experience of addressing "live" communications problems.



Texts, such as the following, are often recommended to introduce interns to issues in the field:

  • Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. "Technical Communication in the 21st Century:Where Are We Going?." Technical Communication Quarterly 8 (Spring 1999): 165-174. Porter, James.
  • "Composing the Discourse Community." Audience and Rhetoric. NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992. 105-118.
  • Slack, Jennifer D., David J. Miller, and Jeffrey Doak. "The Technical Communicator As Author: Meaning, Power, and Authority." Journal of Business and Technical Communication 7 (January 1993). 12-36.
  • Spilka, Rachel R. Writing in the Workplace: New Research Perspectives. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 1998.



  1. A planning memo describing the sponsoring organization, the intern's writing tasks, and a tentative schedule of projects as well as any anticipated problems, concerns, or special needs.
  2. An internship log recording the intern's work experiences.
  3. A progress report describing and assessing the internship at mid-quarter and establishing goals for the second half of the term.
  4. An internship portfolio including a resume, a recommendation letter from the site supervisor, and copies of professional work completed during the placement.
  5. A final internship report describing and assessing the internship experience.


How to Enroll

To apply, you need
  • A writing sample
  • A recommendation letter from a professor who can speak for you and your writing abilities
  • A desire to devote around fifteen hours a week to your job.

As soon as you know that you have been hired as an intern, and no later than the first week of the quarter(s) during which you will work in that capacity,

  1. Fill out the English Department's internship application form, securing signatures from the department internship director, the department chair, and your internship supervisor.
  2. Go to Student Records to pick up an add/drop form and petition for independent study form. Fill these out.
  3. Make an appointment (usually you can just walk-in) with a University adviser in the Drahmann Center, for a signature of approval. Take your paperwork with you for this appointment.
  4. If your GPA is below 3.3, at this appointment, you must also secure approval at the Drahmann Center meeting to take a unit overload.
  5. Deliver a copy of your completed paperwork to the English Department's internship director.
  6. Deliver your completed paperwork to Student Records, who will forward it for final approval and registration.


Questions or concerns? Contact Stephen Carroll at or at 408-554-7087.

Printer-friendly format