Internships & Independent Study | Media Studies

Internships and Independent Study

  • Graduate Student Internships

    The School of Media Studies recognizes the crucial role of internships in students' professional development. Internships enable students to gain relevant experience and an understanding of the industry and the job market. An internship can also supplement academic learning in certain subjects. In addition, internships allow students to build networks and make contacts for career development.

    Internships are available at many media companies and independent and educational media services in New York City and around the world. Companies and organizations at which our graduate students have recently interned include NBC, CBS, ABC, VH-1, MTV, GLAAD, Telemundo, Miramax, Universal, and Bertelsmann.

    A graduate student's internship experience should be at a higher level than a typical undergraduate internship. We expect graduate interns to be directly involved with the business or production work of an organization. Their regular tasks should allow them to apply their broad skills and talents to benefit the organization and further their own development.

    The department posts vetted internship opportunities in a weekly blog, which is password protected for graduate Media Studies and Media Management students. Students receive digested updates and password reminders weekly through New School email. They can also pursue their own opportunities. Many companies advertise internships on their websites, and many other external websites and job aggregators are devoted to assisting students searching for internships.

    Students in the MA or MS program can take a total of six internship credits: three research-based credits and three production-based credits.

    Academic Requirements

    The department is aware of the time and financial pressures our students face, and we have made accommodations to provide more students with opportunities for internships.

    All for-credit internship proposals must be submitted to the director of Student Affairs before the start of the term of employment. In most cases, this will require two or three business days to turn around. Since an internship is set up for variable credit, the student must work out in advance with the director of Student Affairs the number of credits for which he or she will register (the default is one credit) and whether the internship is research based or production based. This information must be included in the Internship Contract (PDF) drawn up between the employer and The New School. Terms of employment must specify duties and hours, and the internship usually must run during the academic term. Once the terms of employment are approved, the student receives a course registration number with which to register. The student can then register online through or in person at the registration office with an add/drop form signed by the student's advisor.

    Upon completion of the agreed-upon term of employment, the student writes a short paper summarizing the experience (see guidelines below) to submit to the director of Student Affairs. The student's on-site supervisor must submit an Internship Evaluation (PDF). Both documents are due ten days after the internship end date or five business days after the end of the academic term, whichever comes first. The director of Student Affairs must receive both the student summary and the supervisor evaluation in order for the student to receive a grade and course credit for the experience. Internships are graded on a pass/fail basis.

    Guidelines for the Summary Paper

    In eight to ten pages, double spaced, describe the mission of the organization and characterize the company's role in the industry; describe the administrative and operational structure of the organization; identify the department in which you interned and describe its purpose and the rationale for its location within the organization's structure; discuss the purpose, focus, and content of the projects you worked on; summarize your day-to-day duties; explain how the internship has informed your education and vice versa; speculate on the future of the firm or the industry; restate your learning objectives and discuss the ways the internship helped you achieve them (skills learned, knowledge acquired, career ideas developed); discuss the contacts you made and state whether you expect to make use of this experience for your professional development.

    Additional Note

    Paying for credits to take on a work experience that is often unpaid can be a hardship for students. The School of Media Studies works with students to lessen the burden. In particular, we assist students who wish to have an internship on their transcripts but not to pay credit tuition. If you are in this situation, please speak to the director of graduate studies. We do our best to work with students whatever their situation; our first concern is always the students' education.

    Graduate Independent Study

    Graduate students who have completed 18 credits—including appropriate production courses in the case of Independent Production—can apply to undertake independent study for credit. Each student must define a specific subject or problem to investigate and find an interested faculty member to serve as an advisor and help him or her develop a proposal.

    The Independent Study/Production Proposal must be submitted to the director of graduate studies for approval with enough time to allow for full evaluation before registration (at least two weeks). Upon approval of the proposal, an Independent Study Contract (PDF) must be submitted.

    Independent study is normally pursued with a member of the principal faculty during the fall or spring semester. Please consult in advance with the director of the graduate program or with an adjunct faculty advisor before developing a proposal for a summer independent project.