Internships give you an opportunity to shape your education by working off-campus within a creative field during school. Most internships are a lot like apprenticeships, in the sense that you’ll learn from an expert while doing supervised work. This can help you test a potential career path and gain résumé-building experience at the same time.
Before you get started planning for this experience, be sure to educate yourself in PNCA policies as well as the types of opportunities that are available. The word “internship” can mean different things to different people, and it’s very important you understand how to identify and locate the valuable types of internships amidst the less interesting possibilities out there.
To get you started, this sheet lists some of the most common questions students have about internships. Be sure to also read the Internship Syllabus (listed on the Internship Homeroom site) and attend an Internship Info-Session before you get started. Internship credit is not retroactive, so follow all the guidelines here to make sure you stay on track.
An internship is a quality work experience that supplements and enhances PNCA’s academic education. To fit the criteria of the internship program, an internship must incorporate the following qualities:
Please note that some departments have further guidelines for internships. Read below and speak with your department Chair for details and guidance. *In particular, please note that PNCA’s MFA programs have different internship guidelines and are managed by the Department Chairs rather than BridgeLab Career Services.
A few years ago, the U.S. Department of Labor published some guidelines about unpaid internships. These guidelines are meant to protect your rights as an unpaid intern and, as such, PNCA requires that they must be adhered to at all times. Your internship host will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they understand the six criteria for unpaid internships as summarized here:
Some internships are paid and some are not. There are more unpaid opportunities out there right now. Interestingly enough, some of the most competitive and influential internships are unpaid. It’s important that you educate yourself on the value of your internship opportunity and weigh the different factors before you commit to it.
If you have located an internship that meets the approval of BridgeLab Career Services and your Department Chair, and if you follow all the guidelines in the syllabus, the answer is yes. It is possible to earn up to 6 internship credits, at a ratio of 1 credit per 45 hours of work. The most common internship is 3 credits (like a regular class) and 135 hours of work. If you do not want credit for an internship, speak with them about the ways you can still benefit from PNCA’s internship structure and resources. Note that credit is not retroactive; you need to get registered for the internship on http://www.reg.pnca.edu before the internship begins.
Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in good academic standing are automatically eligible for internships. If you are not in this category, it may still be possible for you to do an internship. Contact BridgeLab Career Services for details.
Internships do not need to correlate precisely with the beginning and ending of a semester. When they do, there are certain benefits: for example, you are able to meet and work with your peers in formalized mid-term check-ins. When they do not, you will work with BridgeLab Career Services to establish paperwork and other deadlines. Please note that internship completion can affect graduation date – speak with the Registrar and BridgeLab Career Services for details.
You are responsible for finding your own internship. The idea is that this is a “dry run” for the job-hunting you will do after school. The BridgeLab Career Services is here to help you get started with tactics and strategy. Here are some general suggestions:
Your internship should offer work opportunities that enrich your education and provide substantive work. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be doing the highest tier of work at the site, of course, but it means that I want you to be involved in the day-to-day activities in a real and meaningful way. That will be different for every internship, and it is your responsibility to speak directly with the internship site about what you expect to learn and do. That will be formalized in the Learning Contract you turn in to PNCA before you register for the internship, but it should also be discussed during an early interview phase before you commit to the internship. The Learning Contract needs the agreement of many parties, including your Chair and the Director of BridgeLab Career Services, so it’s important to include them in the process early on rather than assuming that they’ll agree.
Before registering with BridgeLab Career Services, you will need to get an internship by applying directly to the organization. Every internship is different, so follow the instructions provided by your internship site. In most cases, there will be one or more phases conducted over email or on paper before you meet in person.
Yes, nearly all internships will require an interview – and moreover, interviews benefit you immensely. Consider this an opportunity to interview them as well and ensure the internship is a good fit.
Yes and no. BridgeLab Career Services administers DA441, the Communication Design Practicum, in addition to the ND internships done by BFA students in other majors. MFA and MA students work directly with their Department Chairs to set up the credit-bearing part of the internship. BridgeLab Career Services is here as an additional support system, but MFA/ MA students must work directly with their Chairs.
BridgeLab Career Services is here to help you with application materials with the following resources:
Congratulations! Now that you’ve landed the internship, read the entire Internship Syllabus and follow the instructions precisely. If you decide that credit is right for you, be sure to register for the internship officially before it begins and follow all the guidelines. Note that you cannot receive retroactive credit for internships.
Any questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details!