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Student Internships

ARCHST4940- Internship experiences benefit the employer firm and the student intern. See below policies and procedures. Contact Bimal Balakrishnan with questions.

The Internship experience is a partnership benefiting both the employment firm and the student intern. An internship may serve as a trial job placement for both the intern and the firm with some internships leading to full-time employment.
Benefits to the Employment Firm:
Students have many desirable skills to benefit a design firm –skills in computer software, preparation of sample boards, space planning, social media, etc. A firm sponsoring an intern benefits with these skill sets and gains support for generalized routine tasks.
Benefits to the Student Intern:
Internship provides Junior and Senior level students with a “real world” experiences in the design professions. The intern gains opportunities to work with practitioners, related specialists, clients, and observe/participate in the full design process, as well as a chance to network and build references.
Firms Seeking to Sponsor an Intern:
Contact the Internship Advisor by email with a brief description of the job duties, location, and internship option (semester or seven-month) along with specific requirements, minimum computing skills and the intern emphasis area of interior design or architectural studies.
Students Seeking Internship:
Emails of internship opportunities are sent to students. Also, students are encouraged to find their own internship opportunities.
Semester Hours/Week Total Weeks Total Hours Credit Hours
F or W 20 16 320 4
F or W 15 16 240 3
F or W 10 16 160 2
S 40 8 320 4
S 30 8 240 3
S 20 8 160 2

  1. Identify a mentor from your sponsoring firm who will be actively involved with the intern.
  2. Be prepared to teach—spending time to instruct and explain.
  3. Provide specific instructions—communicating responsibilities, sequence of work, assignments, and deadlines.
  4. Expect “real” work. Strive to make the work experience varied and as meaningful as possible for the student. Objectives and job expectations for the internship experience should be outlined in the Learning Contract within the first week. See “Responsibilities for Student Interns” above.
  5. Help your student intern select a project. The intern is expected to complete and submit a project that will be graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory work.
  6. Submit the completed Learning Contract.
  7. At the end of the internship, complete the Employer Evaluation and submit it to the Internship Advisor.
  1. Obtain Internship position and sponsor. Opportunities for internships are sent by email. Also, you may find your own internship sponsor.
  2. Discuss internship responsibilities with your sponsor/mentor and develop goals and objectives. Include what is difficult to observe or practice in the classroom environment: observing a client interview, preparing for client presentation, discussing new products with sales representatives, observing construction or installation procedures, developing construction documents for a large project, etc.
  3. Submit completed Employer Evaluation and register for ArchSt 4940 according to information on “Registration and Credit” above.
  4. Keep daily or weekly record of activities. Write brief and specific statements of your work accomplishments and observations.
  5. Complete a project with the firm’s business needs in mind. Examples of possible projects:
    1. Presentation boards for client presentation of a project being done by the firm (may be done independently or when appropriate, may be helping prepare presentation boards for the firm).
    2. Case history of a project in which the student was involved (do not use names of clients or firms). Include all parts of the design process ongoing during the internship, such as: initial contact, client interview, programming, measuring, preparing drawings of existing space, method of determining appropriate design solutions, cost estimating, client presentation, preparation of implementation documents, construction and/or design installation, review of finished project, post-occupancy evaluation.
    3. Profile of firm to include: name, address, phone, and fax number, type of firm (partnership, incorporated, etc.), size, years in business, type of clientele/projects, routine procedure followed for design projects (i.e., point the interior design department becomes involved in a major project), etc. Include photographs of exterior of business, reception area, typical workstation, resource area, conference/ presentation area, etc. Label pictures and affix to 8 1/2 x 11″ pages with firm name on each page.
  6. Submit record of activities and project to internship advisor by last week of classes.
  7. Remind sponsor to send Employer Evaluation.
The semester-based internship of eight weeks in the summer or 16 weeks in the spring or fall matches the University calendar. Students enroll in ArchSt4940 Internship credit for the amount of hours worked. See “Registration and Credit” above.
The seven-month internship matches the start and completion dates of the University calendar. In addition to ArchSt4940 credit, this extended internship allows for some substitution of course credit.
Advance planning is required. A seven-month student intern will be in his/her junior or senior year. See additional guidelines of the Optional Seven-Month Internship.
Students seek internships where they can earn wages. While wages are not a requirement for the intern partnership, hourly wages are preferred for internship experiences and should be agreed upon by the employer and the student as part of the internship contract. For further guidelines, see U.S. Dept of Labor Fact Sheet #71 Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.