Why do an internship? The better question might be "Why not?" Employers look for experience when reading the resume of a potential employee. A recent college grad with an internship will be more attractive than one without that work experience. Employers know that internships give students hands-on experience with workplace skills, challenges, and environments — experiences that make those students valuable employees.

95% of employers want college grads to have internship experience.Internships give you the chance to try out a profession and collect references and professional contacts. You can also get course credit. If there's a downside to interning, we haven't heard about it.

Opportunities for English Students

The English Department cooperates with university-wide and off-campus partners to give our undergraduate students majoring and minoring in English internship experiences. Many internships have resulted in part-time or full-time employment after the semester has ended. Our students have interned in some of the following ways:

  • assisted the editors of the literary magazines NELLE and Birmingham Poetry Review throughout the editorial process, including assistance with author readings and publication launches
  • contributed to campaigns and health messaging with UAB Health Systems Marketing and Children’s Hospital of Alabama
  • worked with organizations within the Birmingham community specializing in magazine and book publishing, non-profit fundraising, and education (e.g., Birmingham Holocaust Education Center; McWane Science Center)
  • written copy for websites and organizations including GirlSpring and First Avenue Ventures
  • assisted professors one-on-one with research and writing projects, as well as with pedagogical material development (e.g., The Annual Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop)
  • worked in public libraries in a number of capacities, sorting and classifying documents in the Birmingham Public Library Archive, planning activities and programs for the children’s department, and promoting new materials and opportunities
  • served as reading tutors at the Alabama Literacy Council and as writing tutors at UAB’s University Writing Center

Students with internship experience have a higher job-offer rate than students without that experience.English majors and minors interested in internships should meet with Cynthia Ryan, English Internship Coordinator, to discuss eligibility requirements and available internship opportunities. Internships are graded classes, and final grades are based on the student's work ethic and written work. Grades are determined by the Internship Coordinator in consultation with the student's on-site internship supervisor.

Eligibility Requirements

To participate in an internship through the English department, students

  • must be enrolled full-time as English majors or minors at UAB
  • must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or higher for an off-campus internship or an on-campus research internship, and a 2.5 overall GPA or higher for a publications Internship
  • must have at least junior standing or the equivalent course credits
  • must be able to work the required number of hours (10-15) to fulfill commitments to the employer
  • if awarded an internship, must enroll in EH 311 or EH 411 for the internship semester and — under the supervision of the Internship Coordinator — fulfill all requirements for that course.

EH 311

Requirements include:

  • performance of 10-15 hours of research or publications activities per week, as defined by the on-site supervisor,
  • completion of guided journal entries that draw on the intern's experiences, and
  • completion of a written report addressing an aspect of the internship approved by Dr. Ryan in consultation with the student.

On-site supervisors also provide written evaluations of interns, feedback that can assist students as they pursue careers following graduation.

EH 411

EH 411 satisfies the Capstone requirement for the major and involves more academic work, including:

  • more extensive journal assignments,
  • regular meetings with the Internships Coordinator and other EH 411 students,
  • participation in discussion sessions with scheduled speakers, and
  • a final professional portfolio and exit interview.

Students who wish to enroll in EH 411 should be late-term juniors or seniors.

How Do I Sign Up?

First, make an appointment with the Internship Coordinator, Cynthia Ryan, at the beginning of the semester prior to the semester in which you hope to hold an internship. Following the meeting, complete and submit the Internship Application form.

Students who complete internships have a higher median starting salary than those who don't. Stay in contact with the Internship Coordinator for information about scheduling interviews with potential employers and how to prepare for interviews. Once you are accepted by the on-site supervisor for an internship, contact the Internship Coordinator to enroll in EH 311 or EH 411. Overrides must be completed by the Internship Coordinator in order for students to enroll in either course.


For more information about the Internship program, contact Cynthia Ryan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), University Hall 5038, (205) 934-8600.