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Internships are academic learning experiences where students work under the mentorship of an experienced professional.

Working on site, students apply their skills to real-world projects while learning about the industry, enhancing their skills, networking, and building their portfolios. In turn, you get the benefit of the fresh perspective, energy, and creativity of an MCAD student.

Internships are coordinated through MCAD Career Services. Contact us at 612.874.3796 or careers@mcad.edu.

Internship Sites

Qualifications

In order for an internship to qualify for academic credit, your business or organization must:

  • Be established as having a history of professional industry activities
  • Provide the student with the space/equipment necessary for the work
  • Have time available to coach the student
  • Have projects appropriate to the student’s abilities

Expectations of Hosts

Internship site supervisors are expected to provide direction, supervision, and feedback on the student’s work and work habits. As a mentor, you should assist the student in learning professional and ethical industry practices.

Location

In most circumstances it is necessary for you to provide students a suitable working space and equipment. You cannot rely on MCAD facilities.

Occasionally, when appropriate to industry standards and the individual’s professional goals, students may earn credit working in a freelance capacity. Such freelance internship projects are possible only when the client who hires the intern is an established professional in the field.

Hours

Internship schedules are flexible to meet the needs of the business and the student. Most students work eight to sixteen hours per week during the academic year and eight to forty hours per week during the summer. If the business agrees, students may continue working once the required hours have been completed.

Students earn one credit for forty hours of work. Most internships are 120 hours, equaling three academic credits.


Starting the Internship

Promoting an Opportunity

Professional opportunities for students are posted on the MCAD Career Services website. You can set up an account and post internships, jobs that students and alumni have access to. They also receive weekly emails listing new opportunities. If you have a one-time creative opportunity, email a position description to careers@mcad.edu.

Opportunity Description

Descriptions of internships should include enough information to help connect you with the most appropriate candidates. This usually includes:

  • position description
  • estimated start and end dates
  • preferred number of hours per week
  • equipment or software knowledge required
  • whether or not it is a compensated position
  • how to apply

Additionally, most companies ask candidates to email a résumé, cover letter, and either a work sample or a link to an online portfolio.

What Students Are Looking For

  • Opportunities to apply their creative skills to professional projects.
  • Guidance, mentorship, and feedback from established professionals.
  • Opportunities to get involved with the organization and industry (e.g. attending company meetings, industry events, general networking opportunities).

Compensation

Internships may be paid or unpaid, but, historically, most are paid. Pay usually ranges from $9 to $18 hourly. If a wage is not available, we ask that you cover transportation or other expenses incurred by the student.

Paid internships usually receive more applicants than unpaid internships.

Selecting an Intern

Things to consider include:

  • Does the student have the technical skills necessary?
  • Is the student able to make a weekly commitment that does not interfere with classes or a job?
  • Is the student excited about the work?

Meeting with the student, reviewing their work, and discussing the project will allow you to get a feel for how the intern would be to work with.

Hiring an Intern

Once you and a student have decided to work together, they need to complete an online learning contract. This simple form details the student’s responsibilities, internship time frame, and committed hours. After completion of the form, you will receive an email requesting approval and a copy of the agreement. If you do not receive a copy, notify us immediately at 612.874.3796 or careers@mcad.edu.

Legal Matters

Current law states that businesses are not required to pay unemployment insurance or provide workers compensation insurance for interns, provided that specific terms are met:

  • The internship is a learning  or training experience of primary benefit to the student and for academic credit
  • The student is not replacing a regular employee or guaranteed a job at the conclusion of the internship
  • The student is not working in the usual course of the trade
  • The position is meant to be one time or infrequent rather than permanent or regular

All internship sites are provided with documentation stating that the internship is educationally relevant and for academic credit. Companies should consult with their own legal counsel for specific guidelines.


During the Internship

MCAD Career Services will contact you a few weeks after the internship begins. This is primarily a check-in to make sure everything is going according to expectations. We may ask to arrange a time to visit while the intern is at work. Should you have any concerns about the intern, notify us immediately at 612.874.3796 or careers@mcad.edu.

If there are any changes to the internship while it is in progress, such as a new work schedule or end date, please notify us. It is expected that the intern will report to work as spelled out in the learning contract except in the case of an emergency. Any unusual or prolonged absences should be reported.


Ending the Internship

At the end of the internship, you will be asked to complete a short final evaluation about the student's technical, creative, and professional skills. This usually takes about five minutes and is done online.