Undergaduate Internship FAQ

Student Info (Undergraduate)

Internships are your transition to professional media careers. In third year you should start exploring the options open to you for your internship study. This will be the core of your final, fourth year of study in Media and Communications and two units MECO3671: Internship and MECO3672 Internship Project.
The Internship program has been tailored to be integrated as a complusory component into the BA (Media and Communications) degree. The Intern agrees to honour and manage their enrolment and participation in formal university units of study and take steps to ensure the internship does not impact adversely on their studies.

Who to Contact (Undergraduate)

For matters relating to Internship paperwork (Preference forms, letters of offer and completion), issues that might arise during your internship, or an alteration to your internship plan, contact the Internship Coordinator.

For matters relating to your enrolment in MECO3671 or the academic aspect of those units, including assessment of your reflective journal or essay, contact the Unit of Study Academic Coordinator for MECO3671.

When can I enrol in MECO 3671 Internship?
You may enrol in MECO3671 Internship in

  • second semester of 3rd Year, or
  • first semester of 4th year.

Are there any prerequisite units of study for MECO 3671 Internship?

MECO 3603 Media Law & Ethics is a prerequisite for MECO 3671 Internship.

How long is the internship?

Twenty working days (7 hours per day). Please note that weekends, public holidays, sick leave, study commitments, etc. are not included in these twenty days.

Can I do the internship full-time or part-time?

Yes, either is acceptable to us, as long as the host organisation is agreeable and you complete the minimum 20 working days. You may not undertake a full time Internship if it clashed with any of your timetabled classses in any unit of study (MECO or other department). For this reason, full time placements are usually undertaken during holidays.

Can I do the internship in the Christmas or mid-year break?

Yes. In the interests of flexibility, we will allow you to complete the internship during the holidays. You would usually be enrolled for the semester which follows. That is, there is no need to enrol in Summer or Winter School.

When will my internship start?
Not all internships start at the beginning of semester. Many students will not start until later in the semester. However, everyone gets the same amount of time to complete their written work.

I'm not sure what I would like to do for my internship. Where can I get some ideas?

Please begin by undertaking some research into the particular area of the media industry that you would like to complete your Internship ie radio, public relations, magazines.
You may find some ideas at the University Careers Centre, ­ Level 5, Jane Foss Russell Building G02, or sydney.edu.au/careers

Once you have started your own research, feel free to contact the Internship Coordinator.

Will I be paid for the internship?

Not usually. Most Internships are unpaid.

I have a job in the media or related industry - can I count this towards my internship?

Yes. If you already have a job that fits the general criteria of a media internship, then after obtain ing permission from the Internship Coordinator, this can be credited towards your internship. If you work in a media organisation, but not necessarily in a media job per se (eg. receptionist), you may be able to negotiate with your employer to take on some relevant media work. You are still welcome to do a placement somewhere else if you wish. Please note that you are not covered by the University's insurance if you are undertaking paid work.

Will I be covered by Insurance?

The University of Sydney offers insurance for all students on unpaid work experience or internships. If you receive an offer of employment and accept it, then you are considered an employee and would need to be covered by the employer for workers' compensation and professional liability. For students undertaking an internship in their own workplace, they would not be covered by the university scheme.

Are there any pre arranged Internships?

There are a number of internships that are available every year. It is the Internship Coordinator's job to secure this 'return business'. Interns have an important role to play in this process, by displaying professional behaviour while out on placement. It is also the Internship Coordinator's job to secure new internships year after year. Please look at the 'Current Interns' page regularly for new additions and for closing dates.

How are these pre arranged internships allocated?

Students will be shortlisted by either the department OR the host company and then proceed to interview before being offered the position.

Can I organise my own internship?
Students may use their own contacts to organise their own internship which must then be approved by the Coordinator.
In addition to this if you prefer to find your own internship, you are quite welcome to do your own legwork. A letter of support is available from the Internship Coordinator.

Either way - you must contact ye Internship Coordinator to ensure that the placement you are going after meets our criteria. You are also responsible for getting the Internship Offer form filled out and back to Robin.

Please do NOT contact the ABC SBS 9 or 10 TV News networks before speaking with the Internship Coordinator

I am thinking of doing an exchange during 3rd or 4th year - can I do my internship overseas?

We strongly recommend that you do any exchange during your 2nd Year, as missing compulsory Media units in 3rd Year may affect the finishing time of your degree. Having said that, if you do go overseas during 3rd or 4th year, you should know that while you cannot complete an internship as part of your study load while on exchange, we are happy for students to undertake relevant internships while overseas. You may wish to do the internship before or after your exchange or while travelling. However, you must find your own internship position, subject to the approval of the Department. Speak to Robin at least six months prior to your exchange for assistance.

What are the International Fellowships?

In January of each year, six to ten 4th year Media & Communications students are awarded $5000 each to undertake internships with an English-language newspaper in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, New Delhi or Seoul. Please note, these internships may not be offered every year as they are contingent upon external funding. Applications usually close in early October at the end of 3rd Year.

I am an international student. Can I do my internship in my home country?

Yes. Some international students have found this option easier because it allows you to work near home and in your native language. You must arrange your own placement, subject to approval by the Department. See the Internship Coordinator for assistance. Of course, you are welcome to do your internship in Australia too.

What is the assessment for the internship?

There are two units of study for the internship:

MECO3671 (6 credit points) is the placement itself. This is an ungraded unit - you will receive a result of "R" (meets requirements) if you

  • attend the minimum 20 working days,
  • provide an Offer Form at the beginning of your placement,
  • provide a Completion Form at the conclusion of your placement and
  • Submit your Reflective Journal two weeks after your placement concludes

What about Honours?

Please see the Honours section of the webpage or the MECO department's Honours Coordinator for more information.

Can I do more than one internship?

No. Our goal is for students to have a unified and coherent experience in an organisation that suits your interests. The internship period can be short, and we are reluctant to make it shorter and fragment your internship. The only exception is in cases in broadcast where it is difficult to fill 20 days, but these cases are handled directly by the Internship coordinator.

What if I have problems at my internship?

Unfortunately, sometimes students do face difficulties in internship placements. If you are concerned about any aspect of your internship, please phone the Internship Coordinator immediately on 9351 6886. The sooner that we are involved, the more likely that a positive outcome can be arranged. This includes the scenario where you are not given work appropriate to your degree level. Don't sit on the problem; let us know.

Who do I contact with concerns about the the running of my internship, or a complaint?

Your first port of call should be the Internship Coordinator. If your concern is about the academic quality and your enrolment in MECO3671 or MECO3672 you should contact the Unit of Study Academic Coordinator. You should raise the matter directly and promptly with the appropriate member of staff. If you need to take the matter higher or further, you should put your concerns in writing to the Chair of Department. It is best to raise concerns as soon as they arise. In doing so, we ask that you treat academic and general staff with respect and refrain from making personal remarks. Please also refrain from making anonymous complaints, as we are unable to test their validity. We take all student concerns very seriously and no student will be discriminated against for making a complaint. Waiting to make complaints may mean we cannot properly respond to your concerns.

I'm an overseas fellow, who do I contact regarding technical or editorial issues to do with publishing on the Parallax blog?

The contact is Marc Fernando of Digital Media Unit

I've been offered a great opportunity to do do work experience at …. Can I get Department approval to miss the start/end of semester?

The Department does not offer this approval. The Department position is that internships and work experience should never interfere with formal university study. Students are sometimes confused by terminology. The Department's internships which are integrated into the curriculum are different to work experience. These internships are listed as units so they are properly recognised in your study.

I have already been doing my work experience over summer, can I get this recognised as my Internship?

Unless it is part of an approved program it is not recognised. You need to submit the appropriate paperwork (see description below) for any placement to be part of an approved program. Contact the Internship Coordinator urgently.

What happens if an alteration to my Internship program occurs?

You should raise it with the Internship coordinator.


The requried paperwork is

  • an Offer Form to hand in when your internship is organised, and
  • a Completion Form when it is completed plus
  • a Reflective Journal due no later than 2 weeks after your internship is over.

It is very important to submit the all the documents.
Please do not forget to do so otherwise you will receive an INComplete from Student Records for this unit.

In the 2nd semester of 4th year, there is also a unit called Critical Practice in Media (MECO3609).