Writing Internship Program

The UConn Department of English Writing Internship Program places students in professional organizations that give them real-world, experiential practice in handling multiple responsibilities.

About the Program

The Writing Internship course (ENGL 3091) is open to all upper-division students with a 3.0 overall GPA and 3.0 in their major. After application materials have been submitted and a student is accepted to the program, placements are determined on an individual basis in discussions with the internship director.

Writing internships are not repetitive, standard office work. Interns are assigned to important projects and contribute to the ongoing missions of their placements. Positions are available both on- or off-campus during the spring and fall semesters. Students can earn one to six academic credits for the course depending on the projects and hours specific to each placement position.

Since writing internships come in a variety of types and locations, and since many businesses and organizations actively seek writing interns, qualified students generally will find a valuable placement.

Current placements include positions at the New Britain Museum of American Art, the Ballard Institute of Puppetry, Globe Pequot Press, World Poetry Books, the Disabilities Studies Quarterly, the Connecticut Writing Project, the UConn Women’s Center.

Apply to the Program

Contact Us

For more information, please contact:

Ruth Fairbanks
Writing Internship Director
Philip E. Austin Building, Room 233
(860) 486-9017

For additional internship advice and opportunities, visit the Center for Career Development’s website.

Why Consider a Writing Internship?

A writing internship placement presents important opportunities for you to:

  • Reflect on your interests and future professional goals;
  • Practice transferring classroom skills toward professional aims, and to engage with the value of the English major in the job market;
  • Benefit from a structured framework that helps you develop problem-solving skills, interpersonal communication, professional collegiality, and self-confidence in a professional environment;
  • Work alongside supervisors who love their work and are committed to the experiential internship as a substantive learning process.

The Writing Internship Experience

A writing internship serves as a pivot point in an academic career. The process of applying for ENGL 3091. The Writing Internship marks a serious step, showing awareness of professional qualifications and readiness for professional challenges.

  • The application and screening process prove to field supervisors that you can function at a high level of responsibility.
  • As a whole, the internship experience becomes a positive investment in your future.

Writing interns represent the Writing Internship Program, the Department of English, and the University of Connecticut. Given the substantive responsibilities attached to your placement, you will be expected to adhere to professional standards of commitment and reliability, to fulfill the high expectations of your field supervisor, and commit to completing all responsibilities as your best possible work.

Advantages of a Writing Internship

Internships set future career paths in motion because internships create networking opportunities, test career choices, and enrich résumés. Employers perceive supervised writing internships taken for academic credit as evidence of an applicant’s commitment to professional standards. Internships become a critical experiential factor in the real-world hiring processes because they are seen as legitimate professional job experience.

A writing internship offers participants multiple practical advantages in the job market:

  • Internships become important credentials on resumés and develop confidence in professional environments.
  • Internships signal that agencies and businesses have entrusted interns with professional work experience and significant responsibilities.
  • Internships serve as a point of access to professional standards and mentoring.
  • Internships develop leadership skills.
  • Internships serve as preparation for professional job applications, screening, interviews, and contract processes.

Writing interns also apply their academic skills in complex analytical, writing, and interpersonal communication operations under professional conditions. As a result, interns develop new non-academic writing and communication skills. As a further benefit, internship projects provide invaluable portfolio elements for future job applications.

Careers for English Majors – Alumni Career Panel

The Writing Internship Program also hosts a “Careers for English Majors” panel discussion scheduled each year in early November. Four recent alumni return to speak about their decisions to major in English and the skills they gained through the major. The panelists share their experiences in English courses and the internships that informed their job searches and career successes.

For more than a decade, the annual career panel discussions have inspired undergraduates in the major, assuring them that the English major has serious traction in the job market. The partial list below of alumni job affiliations proves the career range open to English major:

  • Children’s Law Center of Connecticut; Calisto Media; Globe Pequot Press; Ipsos Research; NPR, Oxford University Press, Rowman Littlefield Publishers, Penny Publications, Sourcebooks Casablanca, Simon and Schuster, The Hartford, Aetna, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, Prosek Partners, Food52, Rodale Books, MEDITECH, Meriden Record-Journal, JSTOR, Abrams Publishing.
  • English majors and Writing Internship Program interns have also entered graduate programs and pursued careers in professional fields such as teaching, law, and medicine.

Meet more UConn English alumni.

Academic Requirements and Guidelines

Students enroll in ENGL 3091. Writing Internship. The course may be repeated for credit.

As part of their internship obligations, interns are required to submit a log of hours, professional journal, and portfolio of field work.

Interns present their projects in digital format to the Writing Internship Program director twice in the course of an internship: at mid-semester small group meetings during 6th-7th week of classes; and at the end-of-semester individual conferences during the final week of classes.

Log of Hours

The log of hours presents a clear record of hours worked (not including breaks or travel time to and from the placement). Confirmation of hours must be submitted in two forms: an excel sheet format and the time sheets available from the Writing Internship Office. All time sheets must be consistent with dates on the journal entries.

Time sheets are completed by the intern, signed by both the supervisor and intern, and included in the midterm and end-of semester binder/portfolios.


Portfolio materials created in various projects assigned by field supervisors are placed after the journal section. These visual elements range from discursive drafts to polished final versions and may include complicated projects such as infographics, research, website design elements, social media platform outreach, diagrams, and spreadsheet work. The final assembled portfolio proves an intern’s substantive contributions in the 14-week semester and therefore validates the important supporting role an intern has played in forwarding the organization’s goals.

Professional Journal Section

The professional journal is placed after the log of hours. The journal (typed in Times-New Roman, double-spaced, 1-2 pages per day of work), submitted at midterm and end of the semester, become important ways to describe, reflect on, and assess each day’s work and over the course of 14 weeks confirm the learning process and skills-development.

Each entry must be at least 1-2 pages but may need to be longer to convey the substance of the work and learning process.

The professional journal serves several essential functions:

  • At a basic level, it helps you clearly account for hours to prove that hours were devoted to projects assigned by the supervisor even if an intern may be working off-site.
  • The internship is a complex learning experience and interns are selected for their readiness to take on professional responsibilities and learning in a professional setting. Your projects aren’t repetitive operations but rather allow you to work independently
  • to forward the work of the office and then in the journal cogently summarize the facts, details, and realities of responsibilities and specific projects.
  • The journal record allows internal reflection, processing, and self-assessment of the daily internship work, challenges, and education process. This substantive summary and self-evaluation are important professional skills for the future.
  • The entire journal document will show that you have developed a professional identity and an increased ability to assess and reflect on aspects and challenges of the internship.
  • The journal trains you to use professional, temperate language and present a factual, public document.

Writing interns also apply their academic skills in complex analytical, writing, and interpersonal communication operations under professional conditions. As a result, interns develop new non-academic writing and communication skills. As a further benefit, internship projects provide invaluable portfolio elements for future job applications.

Grading and Credit

  • Grade: Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory (not used in calculating GPA).
  • English Majors: May count up to three credits toward the major.
  • Graduation Requirements: May count up to six credits.
  • Credit: The number of academic credits is derived from the total number of hours committed to the internship placement during the semester. The total number of hours must be completed during the semester to satisfy the credit requirement.
Total Hours Hours Per Week Number of Credits
42 hours 3 hours per week for 14 weeks 1 academic credit
84 hours 6 hours per week for 14 weeks 2 academic credits
126 hours 9 hours per week for 14 weeks 3 academic credits
168 hours 12 hours per week for 14 weeks 4 academic credits
210 hours 15 hours per week for 14 weeks 5 academic credits
252 hours 18 hours per week for 14 weeks 6 academic credits


Applying to the Writing Internship Program

You are welcome at any point to email questions about the program, application materials, and the application process to Ruth.Fairbanks@uconn.edu.

Although students may apply at any point in the semester, internship placements are assigned on a rolling admission basis. Therefore, it’s important to apply as soon as this opportunity is seen as a sensible, necessary step. It’s essential for upper-division students to confer with their academic advisors to help them decide.

Application Instructions

  1. To be considered for an internship you should collect the following materials to the internship director:
    • the completed application form;
    • a formal letter of interest addressed to Ruth Fairbanks;
    • one or two papers showing your best academic writing in a 6- to 10-page paper, or two shorter papers (but not creative work);
    • an online version of your current UConn transcript.
  2. Submit these materials as doc files in one email during the midterm advising period to Ruth.Fairbanks@uconn.edu.
  3. At the same time, you should also send a recommendation form (see recommendation form) to three UConn faculty. Recommenders may be from any course in which you did very well. They should e-mail completed recommendations directly to Ruth.Fairbanks@uconn.edu.
  4. After the application materials and all recommendations are in place, you should arrange a personal conference with the internship director (email Ruth.Fairbanks@uconn.edu). This conference is designed to help you find an appropriate placement that will forward career goals. A second conference may be needed.
  5. Interns aren’t assigned to placements but rather are given opportunities to select from the program’s placement list of organizations and agencies. Occasionally interns find their own placements, but these must be approved by the internship director.
  6. Once a preferred placement is identified, you’ll be connected to the field supervisor to discuss responsibilities and professional readiness.
  7. After acceptance to the placement, you and the supervisor must complete the Placement and Academic Contracts provided by the Writing Internship Office. The contracts clarify your responsibilities and projects and define the number of credits and hours committed to the placement. Once these contracts are completed, the director of the program will give you a permission number to enroll in ENGL 3091: The Writing Internship.
  8. Please note that travel time does not count toward internship hours committed to the placement. This is important to consider when choosing an off-campus internship. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to and from an off-campus internship.
  9. Applicants can be connected to students who have recently completed the internship to help make the decision about the preferred placement

Advice for Writing Interns

In preparation for interviews and general professional standards, please see the advice below.

Internship Placement Interview

  • In preparing to meet with a supervisor, know your schedule of availability; email a letter of interest, resumé, and writing sample.
  • Research the agency or organization: study their website; understand their mission statement; read other available information about the placement; determine the population they serve.
  • Be organized in scheduling an interview and courteous in follow-ups.
  • Wear business-casual, not campus, clothing.
  • Ask questions to determine the kinds of projects you may be assigned and work schedule during the semester.
  • Write a thank-you email after the interview. Expressing thanks and appreciation is an important habit and builds collegiality and mutual respect.

Protocols for Professionalism

  • Your appearance and attitude should be professional at all times. The office will provide cues about levels of formality and informality.
  • Address all staff formally by last names (Mr. or Ms.) until asked to do otherwise.
  • Arrive for all scheduled work shifts on time. It’s essential to be punctual and reliable.
  • It’s essential to alert the field supervisor when traffic, illness, or emergencies interfere and if you will be late or unable to work. Then follow-up to determine a make-up time for those hours.
  • Follow through on all assigned tasks, directions, policies, and procedures. Keep your promises.
  • It’s important to ask questions and clarify the supervisor’s expectations but also important to differentiate important questions from problems that can be figured out independently.
  • Use the problem-solving skills you already have: analytical, editorial, communication.
  • Check the spelling and punctuation of everything you write including e-mails.
  • Take initiative in communicating with the supervisor about stages of projects and responsibilities. When a project is completed, it’s essential to clarify your readiness for the next one.
  • Approach all projects with creativity and a positive attitude.
  • Be non-judgmental in interactions with staff and clients.
  • Maintain confidentiality and professional communications.
  • Smile and enjoy the experience. Always do more than the minimum.