English Co-Op and Internship Info

What Is a Co-op or Internship?

A co-op or internship is an intensive writing, editing, or research experience with an employer in a professional workplace.  The co-op or internship is required of Professional Writing students, but is available to all English students.  For example, literature students thinking about graduate study might consider working on a research project with a faculty member.

ENGL 389: Co-op = paid; works 300-400 hours; final portfolio required

ENGL 483: Internship = unpaid; works 150-200 hours; final portfolio required

ENGL 589: Graduate Internship = unpaid; works 150-200 hours; final portfolio required

  • An internship or co-op counts for 3 hours course credits.  Grades are Pass/Fail.
  • You may find an internship or co-op on campus or off campus, in town or out of town. 
  • The co-op or internship should be the culmination of your course work.  Although you should prepare for it early, you should not take the internship before the last year or until you have received sufficient instruction in professional writing and editing.  Students considering a journalism internship are strongly advised to take introductory journalism classes in addition to Pro Writing courses.
  • The internship or co-op is equivalent to a part-time or full-time job, depending upon whether it is unpaid or paid.  It should not be taken with a full course load and generally not during a regular (fall or spring) semester.  We recommend the summer session so that you may devote your time more fully to this professional workplace experience.
  • Students must plan their own internships, though they get guidance in their search from
    the English Department's Internship Liaison and from Mardy Ashe in Career Services.  Begin looking for your internship or co-op between a semester and a year in advance.
  • In developing your internship, talk to employers in occupations that you might actually want to enter.  Avoid looking for internships only on campus or "just to get it out of the way.”  The internship has two important functions: it gives you real-world experience with real-world references and it helps you refine your future career plans.

Examples of Recent Internships and Co-ops:

  • Western Carolinian   
  • Cartoon Network, Turner Broadcasting   
  • Charleston SC City Paper
  • Cherokee One Feather   
  • Lake Junaluska Conference Center   
  • Asheville Citizen-Times
  • U.S. Dept. of Education, Washington DC   
  • City Lights Bookstore   
  • Smoky Mountain News
  • WCU Office of Public Relations   
  • Crossroads Chronicle, Cashiers NC   
  • Sylva Herald
  • Lark Books   
  • Music Matters Entertainment  
  • University of Haifa, Israel   
  • WCU Athletic Dept.   
  • Harrah's Casino, Cherokee
  • WNC Magazine   
  • Coulter Faculty Center   
  • U.S. Representative Ginny Brown-WaiteCharlotte Parent Magazine   
  • Falling Creek Camp   
  • Stanley News, Albemarle NC
  • Blair Publishing, Winston-Salem   
  • Women's Center WCU  
  • Grace Moravian Church, Mount Airy 
  • Special Collections, Hunter Library
    •   Kernersville News, Kernersville NC
  • Timeline for a Co-op or Internship

    • Have a preliminary conversation with the English Department's Director of Professional Writing & Internship Liaison.  This person's job is to make sure that the learning experience is a valuable one and that the student is properly supervised.  She or he approves all internships and evaluates all final portfolios. 
    • See Mardy Ashe in Career Services (Killian Annex) and fill out the necessary forms.  She helps students identify internships and navigate the paperwork.
    • Identify an employer.  Then, in conjunction with the employer and Career Services, outline your duties as an intern.
    • Notify the Internship Liaison that you have found an internship or co-op.  She will enter an Instructor Override into the computer so that you may register for the appropriate course (either ENGL 389: Co-op, ENGL 483: Undergraduate Internship, or ENGL 589: Graduate Internship).
    • Begin work as an intern!  Be sure to keep track of your hours.  Contact the Internship Liaison if you have any questions or concerns.
    • Check your campus e-mail account frequently for important internship messages.
    • In the middle of the semester, your employer will fill out a mid-term evaluation and you will meet with the Internship Liaison to discuss your progress. 
    • Near the end of your internship, your employer will complete a final evaluation and  send this to Career Services.  You will meet with the Internship Liaison for an exit interview.
    • Turn in the final portfolio (see handout) to Career Services.  You should have all of your hours completed by the time you turn in your portfolio.  Plan ahead. 
      All work is due one week before the last day of classes each semester.
    • Career Services will forward your work to the Internship Liaison.  After reviewing your work, the Internship Liaison will post a grade (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory).

    For more information

    Deidre Elliott       
    Director of Professional Writing & Internship Liaison        
    Coulter 414      

    Mardy Ashe
    Director of Career Services
    230 Killian Annex


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