What is Experiential Learning?

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students "learn by doing" and by reflecting on the experience. Experiential learning activities can include, but are not limited to, hands-on laboratory experiments, internships, practicums, field exercises, study abroad, undergraduate research and studio performances.

Study Abroad

Don't worry about funding your trip!

JMC majors may apply for an SJMC Study Abroad Scholarship to help finance their studies overseas: https://clas.uiowa.edu/sjmc/resources/scholarships-and-awards.

International Programs also offer various scholarships to UI students for study abroad. For more information, visit the scholarship web page: https://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad/funding/scholarships.

Why Study Abroad?

As an aspiring media professional, you will be communicating with increasingly global and globally aware audiences. Immersing yourself in another culture will help you to understand how culture informs both your communication and how it is received. Some study abroad programs have journalism and mass communication-related course offerings while others do not, but we think the most important things for you to do abroad are to observe how media is created and consumed in different environments and to gain cultural awareness.


There is no one right time to study abroad, but it is easiest to fit into a typical JMC academic plan during junior year (either during an academic semester or during the summers before and after junior year). To ensure timely completion of the JMC major, we recommend that students who plan to study abroad during the academic year complete “Reporting and Writing” and “Multimedia Storytelling” prior to going abroad. Students wishing to study abroad during the summer should consider how that might affect internship opportunities.


SJMC students have studied abroad all over the world, and we encourage you to explore all of your options through the UI Study Abroad office https://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad/programs. Some recent programs our students have attended include:

  • CIEE Seville: Communications, New Media & Journalism (Spain)
  • CEA Prague (Czech Republic)
  • Wells College Florence: Lorenzo de Medici (Italy)
  • SIT Morocco Field Studies in Journalism and New Media (Morocco)
  • TEAN Australia: Bond University (Australia)
  • Regents Semester in Scotland (United Kingdom)
  • University of Kent Exchange (United Kingdom)
  • Semester at Sea (various locations)
  • IES internships in London, Dublin, and Rome
  • USAC Montevideo Program (Uruguay)
  • The Land of the Muses: Traveling Like a Writer (Greece)
  • India Winterim (India)


Ideally, begin planning two semesters before your departure. Start by attending a “Discover Study Abroad” info session and by exploring program options on the UI Study Abroad search page and in the UI Study Abroad Resource Room: https://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad/first-steps.

Once you have researched programs and narrowed your selections down, meet with your academic advisor and schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor. Your SJMC academic advisor will help you determine how studying abroad fits into your academic plan and whether courses in your programs of interest will meet JMC major requirements. Your study abroad advisor will help you through the logistics of applying to your program and getting ready for international travel.



Students are encouraged to complete at least one internship during their studies at the SJMC. Every semester, our students intern everywhere from local newspapers to national and international syndicates in places like Chicago, New York, Hollywood, and beyond.

To help students in their search and acquisition of internships, Internship and Placement Coordinator Michelle Sillman arranges for on-campus interviews and special training in search and interview strategies. During the academic seasons, he also compiles newsletters of job and internship openings sent to all majors. Michelle meets regularly with students to assist with finding internships and job leads. Please contact the Internship and Placement Coordinator below if you would like to schedule a meeting.

Internship credit does not fulfill requirements for the major, but it does count toward the maximum 52 s.h. of journalism and mass communication credit an undergraduate student may apply toward the degree. Students may take additional internships for no credit through CCP:1019 - Internship in Journalism.

Graduate students may not receive course credit for internships, though M.A. students are invited to work with the internship coordinator to find opportunities.

In addition to internships, student-operated media—including The Daily Iowan and KRUI-FM radio—provide students with opportunities for journalism experience on campus.

For more information or questions about internship opportunities, contact:

Michelle Sillman
Internship and Placement Coordinator
E350E Adler Journalism Building

Register an Internship for Credit

Each SJMC undergraduate may register for JMC:2100 - Journalism Internship for a total of 3 hours of credit, provided they:

  • have been admitted to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • have completed JMC:2010 - Reporting and Writing and JMC:2020 - Multimedia Storytelling
  • will work at least 10 hours per week for 10 weeks (or 8 weeks during the summer)
  • will be engaged in professional activities at least 80 percent of the time (see below for examples of professional activities)
  • will be supervised by a professional (not a student)

Course credit is based on the number of hours the student will work:

  • 300 hours of internship work = 3 credit hours
  • 200 hours of internship work = 2 credit hours
  • 100 hours of internship work = 1 credit hour

Credit for JMC:2100 - Journalism Internship does not count toward the 43 hours needed to graduate in journalism, but it does count toward the maximum of 52 SJMC hours majors are allowed to take, and toward the total of 120 hours they need to graduate from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Students registering for an internship for credit during the fall or spring semester should choose a faculty adviser who will monitor the internship and award a pass-fail grade. During the summer, the internship and assessment coordinator may advise students registered for credit.

Examples of professional activities

  • For a Print Media Internship: rewriting a press release, localizing a wire feed, writing news or feature stories, editing printed work, researching material for stories, interviewing sources, and learning about the medium.
  • For a Broadcast Internship: learning how to operate equipment and use technology, editing, writing material for broadcast, researching, interviewing sources, and learning about the medium.
  • For a PR Internship: writing releases, stories, or other texts, designing public materials, researching, editing, photography, event planning, general administration, and learning about the profession.

Students are also encouraged to register for internships for no credit through the Pomerantz Career Center.

Internship Checklist

Before the internship begins

  • Make sure you are eligible and that your internship meets all requirements.
  • Decide whether it’s best to register for credit or no credit.
  • Find a faculty member to serve as your advisor.
  • Give your advisor and the internship coordinator your contact information, site name and address, supervisor name and telephone number, dates of the internship, and a job description.
  • Get a special permission number from the internship coordinator and register for the internship on MyUI—or, if the semester has already begun, use an add slip.

During the internship

  • Be a professional and look for opportunities to develop your skills.
  • E-mail weekly updates to your advisor, describing your activities as well as your biggest success, your biggest problem, any other problems you had, what you learned in SJMC that helped you, and things you wish you had learned in SJMC.
  • Keep these updates in a journal, and keep copies of all your professional work.
  • Fill out a two-week evaluation when you receive it.

At the end of the internship

You must provide your advisor with:

  • An updated resume
  • A list of all the activities you were involved in as part of the internship
  • A 2–3 page reflective essay

Your advisor may require:

  • A meeting to discuss your experience
  • A sample of your professional work
  • Other work he or she feels is appropriate


You will earn a grade of satisfactory if your advisor determines that you have fulfilled the hours requirement, engaged in sufficient professional activities, documented and reflected on these activities adequately, and received satisfactory evaluations from your site supervisor.


University Resources

The University of Iowa provides general information concerning research, internships, studying abroad, and experiential learning. For more information about these learning opportunities, please visit the following links:

Undergraduate Researchhttps://research.uiowa.edu/researchers/student-research/undergraduate-student-research
Internships: https://careers.uiowa.edu/internships/finding-your-internship 
Study Abroad: https://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad 
Experiential Learning: https://careers.uiowa.edu/career-communities
Engaged Learning: https://engagement.uiowa.edu/students