Design internships can be a valuable experience for Design students. A carefully planned internship enables students to expand their knowledge of the design field through the support and critical appraisal of experienced design professionals.
Finding a Design Internship
Internships are often listed on these websites: AIGA, Coroflot, and IDSA. All allow filtering for internships. The Division of Design also works in partnership with the UW Career & Internship Center to post design internship opportunities on Handshake.
Students and alums can create a free account on Handshake. Once you have an account, complete your profile and make it public. Uploading your resume and making it public as well will help with this. Be sure to include education/GPA, major(s), and graduation date.
Use the filters to help with searching for internships. You may also use keywords such as "graphic design," "industrial design," and "interaction design." If you need assistance with Handshake, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Division of Design is delighted to be working with the UW Career & Internship Center because their services also include promoting the field of design to employers in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Getting Credit for Internships
Students may enroll in DES 495 (Undergraduate Internship for Credit) to receive credit for an design internship. Faculty sponsorship is required for enrollment in DES 495.
Design faculty are willing to sponsor selected students for a maximum of 10 cumulative credits in DES 495, under the following conditions:
- The proposing student is a junior or senior in good academic standing in the Design program.
- The proposing student has submitted an online proposal for their internship at least two weeks in advance of the internship quarter. For summer internships, all proposals are due June 1st. Any internships acquired after this deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please email your design program chair at least two weeks before the start of your internship to inquire about receiving credit.
- During the academic year, the internship should not exceed 15 hours per week. During the summer quarter, internships may be full-time.
- The internship is appropriately compensated.
- The proposing student agrees to give a public presentation on his/her internship experience at the annual UW Design Internship Pecha Kucha event. See previous Pecha Kucha talks at https://vimeo.com/uwdesign
- The proposing student agrees to write a report/assessment of their internship experience. This report must be emailed to the student's Design Program Chair by Wednesday of finals week during the internship quarter, and the assigned faculty sponsor must approve the report:
- A missing or insufficient report will result in a lack of credit for DES 495. For previous report examples, please see: https://drive.google.com/openid=10ZPj8gL51FPGoEADPoeMn_0BYRPil00L
- The student’s supervisor has written an evaluation of his/her performance at the conclusion of the internship. The proposing student is responsible for ensuring his/her internship supervisor emails the evaluation to the student's Design Program Chair (see above) by the Wednesday of finals week during the internship quarter.
- A negative or missing evaluation may result in lack of credit for DES 495. Supervisors are encouraged to share their written evaluation with the student intern, so that he/she receives feedback that helps them improve their performance in the future.
Please complete the online internship proposal form at https://forms.gle/mdWCJDzMuUyE7QjQ6 at least two weeks in advance of the internship quarter. For summer internships, all proposals are due June 1st. Any internships acquired after this deadline will be considered on a case-by-case deadline. Please email your design program chair at least two weeks before the start of your internship to inquire about receiving credit.
To complete this proposal form, students will need their most recent unofficial UW transcript and a contract, letter or email (saved as a PDF) from the employer verifying the terms of your employment. On the form, proposing students will need to:
- Describe the specific learning objectives of the internship. Internships that only introduce students to general design office conduct are insufficient for academic credit. Students should be assigned to specific design projects that broaden their knowledge of the field.
- Describe how you (the intern) will be supervised. Interns should be assigned to a full-time professional who agrees to mentor the intern and oversee his/her activities.
- Describe how you (the intern) will be financially compensated for your working hours. All faculty-sponsored internships must be appropriately compensated. Note: to avoid interference with the student’s academic performance, the internship should not exceed 15 hours per week during the academic year. During the summer, internships may be full-time.
As a group, design faculty will review all internship applications. Students will receive approvals or denials within two weeks. Approved applications will include an assigned faculty sponsor.
Note that internship credit cannot be retroactive; credit will not be given to internships that the student has completed in the past. In order to be eligible for credit, internship proposals must be received in advance of the internship.