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Communication Arts Practicum Page

Information for CMAT 249 Journalism and Public Relations Practicum

CMAT 249 is a 2-credit core course requirement for all students who declare the Strategic Communication/Public Relations track in CMAT.

Practicum is a "mini-internship" which gives students the opportunity to gain professional experience in an area of interest in the journalism and/or public relations field. Students will learn the day-to-day operations in a specific professional context and have the opportunity to grow as professionals and to further nurture the skills necessary to succeed in a career in that area.

In order to apply for Practicum, students must declare CMAT as their major and J/PR as their track (it must be indicated in Gullnet).  Students must also have earned a grade of C or better (a grade must be recorded in Gullnet) for CMAT 248 (Introduction to Public Relations) in order to apply.

After meeting the above prerequisites, students complete a Practicum Application with their academic advisors during a program planning meeting (these meetings are required each October & March). The application gives students a chance to share their career aspirations, the semester in which they desire a Practicum, and their projected graduation date. 

The Practicum Director reviews all applications, and based on student aspirations/needs and the availability of relevant Practicum sites, identifies the best place (on-campus, or if the student has transportation, in the community) for the student to engage in Practicum. 

There are approximately 35-40 Practicum students placed each semester at over 25 pre-approved and supervised Practicum locations.

Once the Practicum Director matches students with relevant Practicum sites, students are contacted via campus e-mail with their placement information (including information about the site and the supervisor).

Students then contact their prospective Practicum Supervisor and complete a face-to-face interview. Following successful completion of the interview, they negotiate a working contract together.

After the Practicum Director reviews and approves the contract, students are given registration directions. Once students officially register (via Gullnet), they are invited to orientation class sessions for the semester in which they are placed for their Practicum.

In addition to being mentored at the Practicum site, the "class" of Practicum students each semester meets periodically with the Practicum Director for instruction and guidance.

Practicum students complete a substantive graded written mid-term and final project, and Site Supervisors submit written evaluations of the students to the Practicum Director which are assessed as part of the final course grade.

Students must complete one Practicum (for two credits), earning a grade of C or better, as part of their graduation requirements. The 2-credit experience must reflect at least 90 hours of work.

Students are not expected to have expertise in a particular area, but are expected to have interest and enthusiasm about gaining practical experience outside of a traditional classroom environment .

For SC/PR students who are interested in earning credit for an Internship (CMAT 495), earning a C or better in CMAT 249 is one of the pre-requisites. A Practicum and Internship cannot take place at the same site. 

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