Tessa Binder interned at the David Petersen Gallery
Tessa Binder interned at the David Petersen Gallery

Getting an internship is an important requirement for graduating from MCAD.

For students in the bachelor of fine arts program, an internship worth three credit hours is required. For students in the bachelor of science (i.e., the entrepreneurial studies) program, two or more internships are required. One of the fun and exciting things about internships is you get to seek out work experience in an area that you are actually interested in; if you want to see what it takes to manage a gallery and curate artwork, if you want to help create content for a company’s social media, or if you’re more interested in assisting an established studio artist in their practice, all of these options are open to you, as well as many others!

Michael Ortiz did some design work as an intern at local grocery store Good Grocer


Luckily, MCAD makes it pretty easy to find an internship that fits your interest. MCAD Career Development hosts an updated list of open opportunities that you can keep an eye on. Another great resource for information and opportunities is your professors. Many of them are treasure troves of knowledge and have art connections in the Twin Cities, and are more than willing to share what they know with you if you ask.

Plus, through a quick Google search, you can also find your own internship. If you have a unique work/class schedule that won’t accommodate typical intern hours, or if you’re interested in working in a specific area within the Twin Cities, you can absolutely find and/or make something for yourself. Ask around among your friends and family, your current workplace, and even around your neighborhood to see if there are needs that you can fulfill. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t restricted to fitting yourself into an internship listed on the Career Development site. You can absolutely do your own research, and let your own interests be your guide.

Finding art and design-related internships is usually not an issue either. Not only is there a vibrant art community surrounding MCAD, the whole of Minneapolis is bursting with artists and art-conscious companies who are looking for local art and design students to intern with them. From comic studios to TV stations to photographers and drawers and painters, there are a variety of opportunities in Minneapolis. Some companies, like the Minnesota Film and TV Board, offer internship spots that are almost exclusively filled by MCAD students.


Found the internship of your dreams? Great! Now let's talk about applying.

Treat applying for an internship the same as you would applying for a job. You typically need to share your work/education history, as well as oftentimes samples of your work and a cover letter. You can find tips for creating resumes, cover letters, and portfolios on the Intranet. 

Tips for a good resume: A good resume is a one-page overview of all the information your potential employer may be interested in about you. List all information relevant to the position you are applying for, including your full name and contact information, education, job history, and skills. Aim to tailor your previous job descriptions to match the requirements of the new internship you want (but never lie!); try to directly answer the needs of your potential employer in your resume. As for the formatting, you can find simple, clean resume templates online. While you want your resume to stand out, it is safest not to go too wild with the designs.

Tips for a good cover letter: A cover letter is something you write for each job or internship that you apply for, and is typically addressed directly to the person who would be hiring you. A cover letter normally has three to four paragraphs that fit on one page. The cover letter should expand on your resume, highlighting why you are the right person for the employer by specifying the needs of theirs that you will fulfill and emphasizing your skills or achievements that make you stand out. Also, make sure the layout and design matches/compliments that of your resume—it will look super professional and sleek if all of your documents match!

Tips for a good portfolio: Be thoughtful about the work that you include, and try to include work that will make your potential employer excited about hiring you. For example, if you are applying for an animation internship, include a demo reel or short clips. Comic internship? Include your comics. Photography? Include your photographs. Only include your best work (“quality over quantity!”), and make sure that it is well documented/photographed, or a good file size for online viewing. As for how many works to include in your portfolio, your internship site might have a specific requirement. If not, 10-15 pieces of your best work is a good guideline.

But if you only listen to one tip for these three things? Please, please PROOFREAD! The Learning Center and Career Development have people that can review and help you perfect your resume, cover letter, and portfolio. Get a friend or a family member to review them too, a second pair of eyes will catch small things like typos, weird phrases, and other things that you might not catch yourself. Take advantage of the resources offered here at MCAD! 

Once you have your materials ready, apply for the internship—either directly through the MCAD Career Development site, or through the internship host's website/via email.

You can also reach out to the Assistant to the Director of Career Development Phyllis Ware at any point in this process for tips and advice if you are confused or get overwhelmed.



If you are accepted (congrats!), then get in touch with Phyllis Ware in the Morrison Building, and let her know. It is very important to keep in mind that internship hours cannot be backdated. This means you have to register your internship with MCAD first, before you start earning any credit hours. If you start your internship before you get it registered, those hours will not count!

To register, you will need to provide information about yourself, the internship host site, and your employer's information. Then, you will be asked to write short responses to two questions about the internship: one about your responsibilities and tasks (a bulleted list of the specific tasks is fine), and a second about your learning objectives—why you want this internship and how it will help further your education in a way that courses could not. You should also talk about how the internship will help your career and personal goals (300 words). The information is reviewed by Career Development before they send it to your employer. And once your employer and your Division chair confirm the official MCAD contract, you’re all set! You have an internship!



Pretty simple, right? Well, this month MCAD is making landing that internship even easierThe MCAD Internship Fair is happening on November 10! Make sure you sign up to attend the fair as all kinds of companies and individuals will be coming to campus and offering internships and other opportunities. These people want to talk to and hire you! 

Want more information about what it's like to actually have an internship? Read about recent MCAD graduates Anasofia, Sara, and Adam and their experiences for some guidance and inspiration. These are all great examples of the wide variety of opportunities and fun that you can have with your own internship.

That's it! Good luck nabbing that internship, and enjoy the awesome work experience, networking, and resume building that comes with it. And who knows? Maybe you are even about to discover your dream job . . .

Anna Shultz, a photography major, interned at Alec Soth's studio here in the cities