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.

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) 

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.

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

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. 

Undergraduate Advising

Laura Vazquez, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Watson Hall 213

Olivia Monteiro
Academic Advisor
Watson Hall 217

Undergraduate Advising Info