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Practicum? Internship? What's the difference?  

  • ENG 4449 English Practicum is for work experiences of 1-5 credits  

  • ENG 4495 English Internship is for work experiences of 6-12 credits

  • 1 credit of a practicum or internship = 40 hours of work during the semester

Practicums are for students who would like to work while taking other classes. For example, a 3-credit practicum means 120 hours of work during the 15-week semester, or 8 hours of work a week. Internships are for students who want to spend half or all their time during the semester working. For example, a 12-credit internship  means 480 hours of work during the semester, or 32 hours of work a week.

As a guideline, students who apply for a practicum should have a minimum 3.25 overall GPA or 3.5 in the major, and students who apply for an internship should have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA. Specific work sites may have additional requirements. Because the focus of degree programs is on-campus credits, a practicum or internship is typically a one-time opportunity. Both require a current signed agreement between the site and Mansfield University. Practicums and internships are for gaining work experience: hence, most do not pay wages.

Typically, a student applies for a specific position and develops a work schedule with the Site Supervisor. The student also requests a Faculty Advisor, who helps determine the academic side of the experience, including course goals, content, evaluation methods, and student learning outcomes. Students might, for example, be asked to keep a work time log, maintain progress notes, collect artifacts, and submit a portfolio for evaluation. The Faculty Advisor will also meet with the student regularly and arrange for at least one site visit. At the end of the experience, the student will receive a grade for the practicum and internship, just like any other course.

Practicums and internships are a wonderful opportunity to gain work experience and build upon what you know while developing new skills. Moreover, employers tend to prefer graduates with practicum or internship experience. We hope all qualified English majors will apply for a practicum or internship! 

Below are some examples of Mansfield University students who have undertaken practicums and internships in English.

Kate Haywood, BA English - Professional Writing

Practicum with Mansfield University Marketing (Summer 2016)

This summer, Kate Haywood has a Copy Editing practicum in MU Marketing. Her responsibilities include copy and content editing of existing documents, publications, and web information. She reviews information for grammar, spelling, clarity, and message cohesion tied to the university’s mission, vision, Academic Promise, MU2020, and  marketing campaigns. She drafts copy for new projects; edits and presents materials, and rewrites content as necessary. Her other duties include preparing correspondence for internal and external entities; scheduling meetings; conducting  research; seeking story information from the campus community and storyboard material; and performing office duties such as scanning and filing.

Melissa Walker, BA English - Professional Writing

Practicum with Tioga County Partnership for Community Health  (Fall 2015)

In Fall 2015, Melissa Walker had a practicusm with the Tioga County Partnership for Community Health. She attended workgroup meetings, recorded and transcribesd minutes, assisted in website development, and created materials that showcased the organization's value to the community. She even helped create a new mission statement for the Be Your Best You workgroup! "My time spent with the Partnership has been extremely valuable," commented Melissa, "and I can confidently say I’ve successfully assisted the Partnership with its goal to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of Tioga County."

Paige Kisner, BA English - Professional Writing

Practicum with Nancy Rue (Fall 2015)

In Fall 2015, Paige Kisner had a practicum with author Nancy Rue. Paige assisted Nancy by doing research, posting blog entries, and testing soon-to-be-released courses. Paige also created a Facebook page for Nancy’s anti-bullying campaign and created content daily for 20 weeks.

Kirsten Demonstoy, BSE English

Internship with Mountain Home Magazine (Summer 2007)

As an English Education major looking to supplement the “teaching” part of my education, this summer [2007] I’ve been doing an internship with Mountain Home Magazine, a local publishing company based out of Wellsboro, and I’ve been having a fabulous time! I never realized just how many steps are involved in getting a document put together and put on newsstands. The laid-back atmosphere suits me, and the editors and staff are extremely knowledgeable about publishing programs, sales and distribution, and journalistic writing. Everyone here has gone out of their way to guide, teach, and assist me in assigned tasks like copy editing, using publishing programs, the interviewing process, and, of course, writing, which has undoubtedly been my favorite task. I’ve been able to apply the writing skills and literary knowledge I’ve learned from Mansfield University English professors to my writing assignments, and I’ve received very encouraging feedback. The best part about my internship thus far, I must say, has been seeing my work in print for the very first time. I would highly recommend that English students, both BA and BSE, take advantage of an internship with the folks at Mountain Home, or with any publishing company for that matter, because the knowledge and experience gained will be an invaluable experience.

Katherine Kounovsky, BA English

Internship with Penguin Books (Summer 2005)

During the summer of 2005, I interned at Penguin Books in New York City for precisely ten weeks, and I’ve got to say that it was the most rewarding educational experience of my life. I worked for a senior editor, and my job mostly consisted of reading unsolicited manuscripts and rejecting or approving them. Of course there were parts of my job that weren’t so glamorous. Making copies of 400-page manuscripts, delivering contracts to different departments, running errands in general--these are the things that people typically don’t mention when they’re bragging about their job. I didn’t mind them, though. I viewed them as my part in helping a well-known and respected publishing house run. All in all, I would recommend that any student do an internship in publishing or otherwise. You learn how a business works. You’re exposed to a world that’s completely different from the collegiate one and asked to function in it. But most of all, you learn more about who you are and what you want, and any experience that can show you something more about yourself is definitely worth doing. 

Internship Opportunities

book jobs
Association of American Publishers

Magazine Publishers of America
Magazine Publishers of America Internships

Penguin Group
Penguin Internship Program

The Washington Center
The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars

W. W. Norton & Company
W. W. Norton Internship Program