What are the requirements?
After securing an intern position and obtaining site approval from the Internship Coordinator, students must log a minimum number of hours at the site, to complete the requirements for their internship. The internship can count for zero or three credits, depending on the major, and is generally completed during the summer between junior and senior year. See program specific internship requirements on your major’s internship page.
Additionally, before beginning ANY off-campus internship, international students must receive work authorization; there are two types of work authorization: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Compensation is a mandatory requirement for most of our internship programs at CCA. Unpaid internships devalue the contributions of our students; beyond school, unpaid work is not a sustainable model for professional artists and designers.
Please check with your Internship Coordinator for guidance on verifying the compensation requirements for your major. The Career Development Team is working hard to move all CCA internships into a fair compensation category. We highly encourage you to seek an internship opportunity that does not replace a working artist with an unpaid student role.
As taking an unpaid internship may constitute an economic hardship for students, and thereby may limit the pool of qualified candidates, the College strongly encourages internship sponsors to pay their interns. It is the explicit policy of the College that the receipt of academic credit in addition to wages (or other compensation) for an internship does not represent a conflict of interest.* CCA is committed to equitable access and to ensuring that no working artist or designer is replaced by an unpaid student.
Most Design programs require that an internship be paid, we will not post unpaid roles for Interaction Design, Graphic Design, Architecture, Interior Design, and Industrial Design. Very few unpaid roles will be accepted for Animation, Illustration, and Fine Arts programs. Beginning Fall 2017, CCA will move all program internships to a compensation only status.
Please read the following articles for more information about internships and fair compensation:
- U.S. Department of Labor, regarding the national conversation around fair compensation for student talent: Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
- National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE): Legal Issues: Internships
Internship Site Approval
Students perform their own internship search using a variety of resources: industry websites and job boards, program suggestions, Career Development: CCA Works Job Board, Weekly Picks, and Career Expo, networking, and personal contacts. Prior to starting work, students must obtain site approval from the program’s Internship Coordinator; early verification of the internship site is critical to obtaining credit for the internship, especially if the site is located outside of the United States.
To receive credit for internships located outside of the United States, obtaining site approval from the Internship Coordinator is required. International students must contact CCA ISAP for instructions and requirements related to employment in the United States and abroad.
For an internship site to be approved, it must fulfill the following requirements:
- Work is directly related to the student’s major area of study.
- Internship hours requirements range from 90 to 225 on-site work hours, depending on the major. No “virtual” experiences accepted.
- Supervisor is an industry professional within the student’s major area of study.
- Supervisor is on site and available to guide the student throughout the entire internship.
- Using the CCA Learning Contract, the supervisor and student negotiate the terms, learning objectives, and expectations, to successfully complete the internship.
- Supervisor must be willing to connect with a CCA representative at internship mid-point.
- At the completion of the internship, the supervisor agrees to complete an evaluation on the intern’s performance.
Any site, payment arrangement, or type of experience that falls outside of the requirements listed above must be approved by an Internship Coordinator prior to the start of any work.
How Do I Start the Internship Process?
To initiate the internship process, students must first meet with their Academic Advisor, followed by their Internship Coordinator, early in the spring or fall semester, prior to starting their internship search.
How Do I Register for the Internship Requirement?
During Priority Registration, before the internship starts, students will register for an Internship Placeholder in their program, course number 398-01 (ex. ARCHT-398-01).
After completing the internship, during the Add/Drop period, students who registered for the Placeholder and who also have a Learning Contract on file, will be registered by Student Records in the actual internship course in their major (course number 398-02), check your schedule for these changes.
Dropped from Internship Placeholder
Students who registered for the Placeholder but do not have a Learning Contract on file, by the week before Add/Drop, will be dropped from the Internship Placeholder and will not be registered for the internship course. Students who wish to receive credit for an internship they have just completed but have not gone through the process correctly, must contact the Internship Coordinator as soon as possible. Registration in the Internship course (course number 398-02 or ARCHT 698-02, INDUS 404-02), is not available for online registration in WebAdvisor. IMPORTANT: A $200 late fee may be charged for adding the internship course after the Add/Drop deadline.
Required Internship Documentation
After an internship offer has been made, students work with the employer/supervisor to complete the Learning Contract, negotiating the terms, learning objectives, and expectations of the internship. To receive internship credit, the Learning Contract must be submitted to the Internship Coordinator for site approval, prior to starting the internship. International students must also obtain work authorization BEFORE beginning their internship. The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) page has more detailed information about this process.
A quick check in by email or phone will be conducted by a CCA representative with both the student and the internship supervisor, to ensure the internship is progressing as expected.
After the student submits the Internship Hours Log to the Internship Coordinator, the program will send the employer and the student a digital evaluation form, all of these forms are required for successful completion of the internship requirement.
An email confirmation will be sent to the student’s CCA email address confirming the evaluation has been sent, and also when it is received. If the Employer Evaluation is not received, the student is responsible for following up with the employer to ensure it's completion before the deadline.
Contact the Internship Coordinator with questions about the process.
Fine Arts & Humanities Internships
Internship credit is available to our Fine Arts, Individualized, and Visual Studies majors through the Fine Art Studio Elective Internship Course.
Students are responsible for securing a position at an internship site of academic relevance that is enriching to the student’s field of study. Sites should be able to offer 90 -120 hours of work for the 15 week semester.
The internship class will meet as a group 3 times throughout the semester. At this time you will develop a Learning Contract and establish a final project or presentation topic to submit at the end of the term.
The subsequent 6-8hours/week of class time will be spent at each student's respective internship site. If an internship is not paid, it is strongly advised that students receive compensation for work beyond the 8 hour/week internship requirements.
An advanced student not yet at Junior standing can submit a signed waiver from their Advisor or Chair permitting early entrance to the internship course. There will be 2 internship meetings during the first two weeks of class. It is very important to attend these meetings.
Students registered for the Internship course must attend one of the mandatory class meetings to submit their completed Internship Forms to the course instructor before the add/drop period ends.
Students who do not attend the class meeting, or who do not secure a position at an internship site by the end of the add/drop period must drop the course to avoid receiving an F.
Questions? Contact the Fine Arts Internship Coordinator.
Post jobs & internships for the CCA community.
Register as a talent recruiter.
San Francisco: 80 Carolina, second floor (See map)
Oakland: Center for Art and Public Life, 5275 Broadway
California College of the Arts
Attn: Career Development
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247