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New York Univeristy
Faculty of Arts and Science
College of Arts and Science

Internship Information

The Dramatic Literature Department offers credit for unpaid internships in fields related to the majors in English and Dramatic Literature. You must be an English or Dramatic Literature major or minor to receive department credit. Last year, more than 70 students held internships in publishing, television and related fields of interest. Positions were in editorial, publicity and marketing.

Finding an internship: Internship files and information offices exist at three levels: Departmental (English Department, 19 University Place, 5th floor); College (905 Silver Center); and University (Career Services,5 Washington Place, has terminals for online listings of current positions).

Internship Application Procedure

After finding a position: Call the agency to schedule an interview. Ask what information you will need to take, and be sure to take this internship pamphlet with you. Your potential supervisor should review with you the paragraph "Internship Tasks" when framing the statement about what your responsibilities will be.

Advisor Approval: English and Dramatic Literature majors must obtain their departmental advisor's approval. You should obtain a statement of responsibilities from your potential employer to bring to your departmental advisor, and plan to meet with your advisor to discuss the potential internship. The statement should be one or two paragraphs and should make clear the components of the learning experience for you. This statement is, in effect, a contract, to eliminate future surprises. Please take this statement of responsibilities, along with your internship application, to your departmental advisor for approval. The Assistant DUGS for Internships (Professor Bryan Waterman) will review applications for minors. English minors must have completed Literary Interpretation to be eligible for internship credit; Dramatic Literature minors must have completed one term of a Dramatic Literature course to be eligible. Your advisor must approve your application and the supervisor's statement before the end of the TorchTone drop/add period.

Once approved: Bring both the application and statement of responsibilities to Taeesha Muhammad to be enrolled. If you have to drop a course to make room for the internship, you must notify Taeesha that you have done so before you can be enrolled. You may elect to register for either 2 or 4 points of credit. The number of credits does not affect the number of hours you work as an intern. It is customary to register for 2 points because your tuition covers 18 points per term. If you take a 4-point internship, putting you up to 20 points, NYU charges you for the 2 extra points of tuition beyond the 18-point flat rate

Grades: You receive a grade on your transcript for your internship course, just as you do for your academic courses. The grade is based on two inputs: 1) your internship supervisor's evaluation of your performance; and 2) a 900-1500 word report describing very concretely what you did and what you learned. These materials are due on the last day of the term. At this time, you will turn in these documents to Taeesha Muhammad(not directly to your department advisor.) It's a good idea to keep a daily journal so your final report can be specific. Reports are kept on file in the Dramatic Lit department. You may want to consult them for internships that you are considering.

Restrictions: You can register for a maximum of eight points of internship during your undergraduate career at NYU. Internship credit counts toward your 128 points needed for graduation, but they do notcount toward the requirements for the English major or minor.

Internship Tasks: Essentially, when you do an English department internship, you are putting yourself in an apprentice-learning situation. The English department internships follow the guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Labor (attached). Direction and supervision are the responsibility of the agency, not the student's departmental advisor. The only requirement is that you explore an area that might be of possible career interest to you. The internship responsibilities should involve you in tasks that provide hands-on learning about the practical working of a profession. An internship usually will involve a range of activities from routine office work to involvement in projects that require research and writing skills.

This statement of duties from a McCall's editorial internship is typical: "The internship includes editorial research, fact checking and administrative support duties, as well as potential writing assignments." There should be a balance of routine and non-routine, of course; but that distinction does not correlate directly with learning and non-learning: the ability to answer the telephone in a professional way is a learned skill. Another aspect of learning to work in an office is not at all routine: the "ability to pitch in whenever necessary" (as a posting from Seventeen magazine put it). It is this sort of attitude that will turn "potential writing assignments" into actual writing assignments.

Hours must be negotiated between you and the agency. Typically, you will work 10-12 hours per week. More than 15 hours begins to sound like exploitation of free labor.

A Sampling of Recent Internships

Students' reports on these internships, and others, are available in English department internship files. The department files include information on other internship possibilities, as well.

Literary Agencies: Carlo Mann; David Black; Sanford J. Greenberger Associates; Lukeman Literary Management; Charlotte Sheedy; Russell and Volkening, Inc.; Balliot and Fitzgerald

Magazine Publishing: Arts and Antiques; Child; Elle; Kid City; McFadden Trade Publishing; Marvel Comics; New Yorker (marketing); Nickelodeon; Playboy; Rolling Stone; Sassy; Seventeen; Soap Opera Weekly; YM (Young and Modern)

Book Publishing: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon and Schuster); Applause Theatre Books; Dutton and Plume (Penguin); George Braziller, GroveAtlantic; Henry Holt and Company; Little, Brown and CO.; Simon and Schuster; Walker and Co.

Television, Film, Recording, Theater: Cappa Film Productions; Columbia Records; Comedy Central; CBS Morning News; CNBC; Elektra Entertainment; Epic Records; Good Morning America; Gordon Elliott Show; Conan O'Brien; David Letterman; Edysis Video Productions; EMI Records; Hearst Entertainment; Charlie Rose Show; Howard Stern Show; MTV; JB Music Publishing; Martha Stewart Living Television; Manhattan Theatre Club; Mercury Records; Navigator Films; One Life To Live; Rosie O'Donnell Show; Ricki Lake; Papp Public Theatre/Shakespeare Festival; Saturday Night Live; Showtime; Sony Music; TAG Records; Today Show (NBC); Ture Fiction Pictures; USA Networks/The Sci-Fi Channel; Vanguard Records; Virgin Records; Video Hits One (Viacom); WABC-TV; WNET

Legal Research: AEA Investors; Jacobson and Colfin (entertainment law)

Non-Profit/Public Service: NYCParks and Recreation; Foreign Policy Associate; Planned Parenthood of NYC; Ingles para la Communidad (teaching English as a second language­ -- knowledge of Spanish helpful, but not required.)

Internships and the Law

The United States Department of Labor has developed six criteria to help employers determine who qualifies as a learner/trainee (intern), and, therefore, who may be unpaid.

  • The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school.
  • The training is for the benefit of the student.
  • The student does not displace a regular employee, but works under the close supervision of a regular employee or supervisor.
  • The employer provides the training and derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the student; and on occasion, the operations may actually be impeded by the training. (If the student is receiving credit for the internship, it is considered primarily for the student's and not the employer's benefit.)
  • The student is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period. (There is no prohibition on eventually employing the same student, however.)
  • The employer and the student understand that the student is not entitled to wages for the time spent training (meal and travel stipends are not considered wages.)

An employer should be able to answer "yes" to at least half of the questions listed below to qualify for an unpaid internship.

√    Is the work that you are offering an integral part of a student's course of study? (In other words, is the student receiving academic credit for it?)

√    Will the student receive credit for the work, or is the internship required for graduation?

√    Does the student have to prepare a report of his/her experience and submit it to a faculty supervisor?

√    Has the employer received a letter or some other form of written documentation from the school stating that the intern is approved/sponsored by the school as educationally relevant.

√    Are learning objectives clearly identified?

√    Will the student perform work that other employees also perform, with the student doing the work for the purpose of learning and not necessarily performing a task for the employer?

√    Is the student working and providing benefit to the employer less than 50 percent of the time, and/or is the student in a shadowing/learning mode?

√    Will the employer provide an opportunity for the student to learn a skill, process or other business function, or learn to operate a piece of equipment?

√    Is the individual supervised by an employer's staff member?

√    Is clear that a job is not guaranteed upon completion of the training or completion of the student's schooling?