What is an internship / experiential learning?

An internship resembles a real job in many ways. It is an experiential learning opportunity that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Employers may also identify interns for future permanent positions as students approach graduation. 


Why do students do internships?

Internships provide an opportunity for students to learn from experienced professionals in their field. Student outcomes include a stronger resume, valuable professional connections, and exposure to career fields and job markets that can inform their career path.


How do I register an internship / experience?

  • Login to ArtWorks and select 'Experiential Learning' on the left-side navigation. Choose 'New Experience' (button is in the upper right) for the internship registration form. Complete the form and submit it.
  • Once your registration is submitted, the ArtWorks system will automatically request approvals from various individuals depending on the type of internship:
    • Non credit internship approvers: Internship Manager and Employer Supervisor
    • Academic credit internship approvers: Internship Manager, Academic Department, Employer Supervisor, RISD Senior Administrator, and Registrar
    • Academic credit internship + F1 Visa approvers: Internship Manager, Academic Department, ISSA, Employer Supervisor, RISD Senior Administrator, and Registrar

Register Your Internship on ArtWorks

Student & Employer Internship Agreement


Registration: Experiential Learning Type Helper

When registering your internship in ArtWorks, you will be asked to select an "Experiential Learning Type". This is very important and cannot be edited after submission. Use the Experiential Learning Type Helper linked below to save you, your employer, and RISD admins valuable time and coordination. 

Experiential Learning Type Helper


What time of year can I do an internship?

Summer is the most popular time for internships for both students and employers. Wintersession internships occur over 5 weeks in January and February. Students may work as part-time interns during fall and spring semesters if their class schedule allows. 


RISD 2023-24 Internship Deadlines and Timetable


Internship Deadlines and Timetable 

RISD 2024-25 Internship Deadlines and Timetable

Internship Deadlines and Timetable

What qualifies as an internship for credit?

Internships for credit must: 

  • Facilitate growth and development of the student’s knowledge and skills that will compliment academic studio and classroom instruction.
  • Internships for academic credit must be approved by the student's academic department.
  • Internship evaluations must be completed by the student and their supervisor in ArtWorks. These evaluations are recorded in ArtWorks to be approved by the academic department and reported to the RISD Registrar.

Student Evaluation Form

Supervisor Evaluation Form


What are the eligibility requirements and credit details for internships?

All students: Credits and hours

  • Credit bearing Internships must be approved by the student’s department. They are taken for 3 credits and must be a minimum of 100 hours total. 
  • Summer internships require a minimum of six weeks involvement. 
  • Wintersession internships last for five weeks. 

International students: 

  • International students must receive academic credit if they are based in the United States during the internship experience.

    International Students also need to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Contact the International Student & Scholar Affairs (ISSA) for more info. CPT must be approved before the internship begins.

Learn more about CPT

Undergraduate students:

  • May take a maximum of 6 internship credits toward their degree.
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Are eligible to take a fall, spring or wintersession internship once they have successfully completed their freshman year. Students may take their first summer internship after their sophomore year. 

See Full RISD Policy

Graduate students: 

  • May take 3 internship credits toward their graduate degree, except where exceeded by departmental requirements.
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

See Full RISD Policy

Architecture students: 

  • A summer professional internship (ARCH 2199) is required of all BArch and MArch candidates. Minimum of 8 weeks at 35 hours per week, 280 total hours.


What about paid vs unpaid internships?

Paid internships 

These are internships that meet state requirements for minimum wage. Gaining academic credit is optional. Recent graduates are also eligible.
Unpaid internships

Under federal law, if a student is interning at a for-profit company and is unpaid, they are required to receive academic credit. Credit is based on the educational merits of the internship and must be deemed credit worthy by the student's academic department.


When considering an unpaid internship, students should ask if stipends for travel, housing or meals are available. A stipend is an allowance or fixed amount of money offered to an intern to help cover these expenses.


What are the guidelines for remote internships?

Essential points to consider:

  • Confirm the supervision arrangements for the intern including: regularly scheduled check-in meetings to review work/projects, respond to questions, and monitor progress and outcomes
  • Confirm the approach to check-in meetings: Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Chat, Phone, and/or other modalities
  • If possible and under strict guidelines for Covid-19 protocols issued by the CDC, arrange for in person and onsite meetings between the supervisor, intern and other staff to orient the intern to their job and work culture
  • Discuss access to any necessary technology and tools that are required to perform the job (ie. software, proprietary programs, shared files and/or other equipment)

See Detailed Guidelines 


What organizations have hosted RISD students for internships?

The Career Center has developed a comprehensive list of companies and organizations that have hosted RISD interns over the past few years. You may view the list by clicking on the link below.

List of Employers Hosting RISD Interns



How do you know if an internship is legitimate or not?

Now more than ever, students need to be careful and guard their sensitive personal information. Unfortunately, some scammers may attempt to use fake internship opportunities as a way access your personal information or steal money. To help protect yourself from these situations, review the guidance linked below and always remember you can get in touch with the Career Center for assistance.

Tips For Avoiding Scams


Principles of Social Equity & Inclusion, Mission, & Learning Outcomes

Read about the Career Center's SEI Principles, Mission and Learning Outcomes.

Mission and Values