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COMS 407 Practicum

Practicum refers to a course of study in which you apply your learned skills or knowledge – you put them into practice. In other words, it is a project or duty where you apply your skills and learning.

NIU Catalog Description

COMS 407 PRACTICUM (1-3). Experience in the cocurricular forensics and individual events programs, the classroom, organizational settings, research activities, and the media. May be taken for or repeated to a maximum of 3 semester hours. Majors, minors, and approved others only. S/U grading. 

  • Media Studies: One credit hour of COMS 407 is required for students with a media studies emphasis.
  • Organizational/Corporate: organizational/corporate communication emphasis students under the Fall 2015 catalog or a later catalog are required to complete either one credit hour of COMS 407 or three credits of COMS 497: Internship. Students may complete both COMS 407 and COMS 497.
  • Rhetoric: COMS 407 is not required for rhetoric and public communication emphasis students.
  • Journalism: COMS 407 is not required for journalism students. 

There are two main types of practicums, called “407” for short:

(1) working with a communication department instructor or professor in some manner

(2) joining Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) or Communication Student Advisory Council (COMM-SAC)

Option 1

Typically, you would approach a communication department instructor/professor whom you know and would want to work with. Inquire if they could offer COMS 407 credit or if they need certain work done. There is a large variety of what this could be.

  • Teaching assistant – help an instructor with their course(s)
  • Research assistant – help professors gather research
  • Forensics – coaching, tutoring, assistance related to the Forensics program
  • Event planning
  • Lab attendant – monitor media labs in the department, assist students
  • Production assistant – if available, assist a professor on a media project
  • Other

Option 2

If you are interested in PR, PRSSA could be a good group to join. It’s a national organization, so there are membership dues, but it’s also a membership that looks good for employers and may help you prepare for a career.

COMM-SAC is the student representative group that puts on fundraisers, events for COMS students and participates in departmental decision-making.

How to add COMS 407 credit

Option 1: working with a communication department instructor or professor

  1. Contact the instructor to discuss the credit. If they agree to offer you practicum credit, then proceed to step 2.
  2. Complete the 407 Permission Form.
  3. You and the instructor must sign the permission form.
  4. Bring the signed and completed form to Nathan Rice, undergraduate office specialist in Watson Hall 209. He will later add you to the credit. Note: it is your responsibility to resolve any issues which may prevent enrollment, including holds on your account or needing overload permission from your academic college.
  5. Monitor MyNIU to make sure you are enrolled in the 407 credit for that semester. If you experience any issues, please contact Nathan Rice at or in Watson Hall 209.

Option 2: joining PRSSA or COMM-SAC

PRSSA: See above for link. You must attend the first meetings of PRSSA. The group’s leaders or faculty adviser should be available to explain their process for adding COMS 407 credit.

COMM-SAC: Email Professor Laura Vazquez at for more information about COMM-SAC.


Contact Us

Department of Communication
Northern Illinois University
Watson Hall 210
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1563
Fax: 815-753-7109

Acting Department Chair

Mehdi Semati
Phone: 815-753-7028