Graphic Design - Internship

The Graphic Design area requires that every major in the program complete a three-credit internship. The internship provides the student with a valuable experience working in the "real world", as a graphic designer, while still in school. Every intern broadens their education with a mentor while gaining experience. It is the student's chance to introduce themselves to a segment of design where they think they will fit well and make it into a career later. 

Internships should have a direct relationship to the student's program of study. In addition to the learning benefit, internships on a resumé show potential employers that the student has "real-world", professional experience, making them much more marketable.

 

6 steps to completing your internship requirement

  1. PREPARE: Meet with your faculty advisor and a career advisor at the GVSU Career Center for advice on your resume, portfolio, networking, and interviewing.
  2. SEARCH: explore career paths and cast a wide net of possibilities by sending your resume and portfolio to various professionals in the field.
  3. DOCUMENT: Complete the Internship Agreement Form before starting your internship.
  4. LEARN: Enjoy your work. Be a good intern. Ask questions. Good interns are often hired as professionals upon graduation.
  5. ASSESS: Complete the required evaluations at the end of your experience
  6. REGISTER: Request a Banner override for ART 491 - Internship in Studio Art to receive your credit.

Internship Placement

Securing an internship experience is the student's responsibility. Sometimes, faculty in Graphic Design are approached by businesses or become aware of internship opportunities who desire a GVSU intern. At the same time, some are able to secure an opportunity through networking, from family or friend contacts. Students are encouraged to look at all available opportunities so that you will find the perfect opportunity that matches your experience level and interest. Design students usually get internships with graphic design firms, advertising agencies, and corporate, in-house departments. The internship does not need to be located in Grand Rapids. Many students often secure positions in other states, and even other countries.

 

 


Internship Requirements

During this unique time, the following criteria will be used to assess whether a student's experience can or cannot receive credit.

  • Internships can be completed on and off-campus site. (*)
  • A 3-credit internship must last between 120-150 hours.
  • Your supervisor must be a professional in one of these fields and capable of offering appropriate feedback on your work. Such professionals include those on, but not limited to, the following fields: Graphic Design, Web Design, Marketing, Public Relations, Print Production, and Social Media. 
  • You must benefit from this experience by gaining valuable skills and career-related competencies, exploring career/occupational interests, and learning design workplace etiquette and professionalism.

 

 


Internship Registration

Once a student has received an internship offer from a site, it is the student's responsibility to initiate the documentation process.

  1. Fill out the Online Internship Agreement Form.
  2. Wait for approval from the internship coordinator.
  3. Wait for approval from the internship supervisor.
  4. Complete the required evaluation at the end of your internship.
  5. Request an override to register for ART 491 - Internship in Studio Art. This will allow the internship credit to apply to your graduation requirements. Without registering on Banner, you will not receive credit and will not have completed the requirement.

 

Keeping the internship coordinator informed during your internship search will guarantee a smoother process.

 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Health & Safety
Where can I find COMPREHENSIVE information and resources on COVID-19?

Your primary source of information about the virus should be the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Also, this Spectrum Health site  offers ideas on what you can do to help yourself and your community. (6/29/2020)

Follow CDC Guidelines . If you are a student and suspect you may have COVID-19, please contact your healthcare provider or GVSU Campus Health Center  (616-252-6030) to consult with someone about your symptoms and determine the next steps for your care. Follow your internship site protocol regarding absences due to illness (specifically COVID-19) and connect with your faculty advisor/instructor to let them know. You can also schedule a meeting with a GVSU CARE Advisor  to help navigate your illness and academics. (6/29/2020)

If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider.

  • Keep track of your symptoms.
  • If you have  an emergency warning sign  (including trouble breathing), get emergency medical care immediately.

The CDC compiled a list of steps to take if you are sick at home. Read them.

Please refer to your healthcare provider or the Campus Health Center  (CHC) for guidance. They can help you navigate the ins-and-outs of your plan.

If you are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 (see CDC page explaining who is at higher risk), please do not put your health in danger. No internship is worth risking your health and wellbeing. Contact the Internship Coordinator, Vinicius Lima, by email. 

Typical arrangements that promote workplace health and safety include:

  • Staying home if you feel ill
  • required COVID-19 testing
  • daily health self-assessments
  • temperature checks
  • hand-washing
  • face coverings (masks and face shields)
  • physical barriers
  • reduced occupation
  • virtual meetings
  • social distancing (minimum 6ft.) 

Students are encouraged to review the US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidelines  to assess an internship site for safety.

If you do not feel safe reporting to your internship, contact the Internship Coordinator, Vinicius Lima, by email, as soon as possible.


Internship Requirements
Are internships required?

Internship experiences in Graphic Design remain required until we receive different guidance from the University-level administration and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. All decisions to release students from their mandatory internships will come from the same entities. (6/29/20).

Students who had already secured an internship for this calendar year should proactively contact their supervisors. Students must confirm the internship continuity and work arrangements that will guarantee their health and safety. 

If you were not able to secure a placement due to COVID-19 and had a December graduation planned, contact the Internship Coordinator, Vinicius Lima, by email. There may be a chance for special arrangements.

We are sorry to hear that. You can choose to secure another internship on or off-campus, or we can assess other previous design experiences that may award you credit. Contact the Internship Coordinator, Vinicius Lima, by email.

On-campus experiences will count toward the internship credit if: 

  1. Your supervisor must be a professional in one of these fields and capable of offering appropriate feedback on your work. Such professionals include those on, but not limited to, the following fields: Graphic Design, Web Design, Marketing, Public Relations, Print Production, and Social Media. 
  2. You will benefit from this experience by gaining valuable skills and career-related competencies, exploring career/occupational interests, and learning design workplace etiquette and professionalism.

On-campus design jobs are usually available at the:

  • The Lanthorn layout department
  • The Promotions Office
  • The Laker Store Design/Marketing department
  • Johnson Center for Philanthropy
  • University Development Design/Marketing department
  • University Communications Design/Marketing department
  • GVSU Alumni House Design/Marketing department
  • Campus Dining Design/Marketing
  • Recreation Services Design/Marketing
  • GVSU Athletics Design/Marketing. 

Some design jobs on campus may also be eligible for credit. For any on-campus job credit question, contact the Internship Coordinator, Vinicius Lima, by email. 

If your job is not design-related or does not provide you professional design skills, it will not count as your internship. Remember, the internship is a learning experience and an opportunity to receive professional training while being a student.

Internships are first and foremost teaching moments. Off-campus experiences will count toward the internship credit if: 

  1. You're supervised by a more experienced professional in the creative sector.
  2. Your supervisor must be a professional in one of these fields and capable of offering appropriate feedback on your work. Such professionals include those on, but not limited to, the following fields: Graphic Design, Web Design, Marketing, Public Relations, Print Production, and Social Media. 
  3. You will benefit from this experience by gaining valuable skills and career-related competencies, exploring career/occupational interests, and learning design workplace etiquette and professionalism.

General Internship Questions
Where can I find on-campus design jobs? Where can I find internships?

Many employers post their openings on Handshake. Off-campus internships are often secured through direct outreach by the student.

You must complete between 120–150 hours to fulfill a 3-credit internship.

No. But compensation is always encouraged.

The GVSU Career Center is aware of the financial strain this process can put on the students. As an effort to help offset costs acquired from unpaid internships, students can apply to the Career Center Internship Award. This university-wide office provides ten, $500 scholarships in the Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer semesters. Interested students must apply in a timely fashion for consideration.

For more information, please visit this link.

The internship requirement awards you a Credit/No Credit grade. If you complete the minimum hours and the required evaluations, you will get credit.

A Graphic Design student can complete their internship requirement abroad. The student interested in this should consult with the Internship Coordinator before traveling to guarantee credit approval upon the student's return. International Internship Opportunities are made possible through the Study Abroad Program at the Padnos International Center. For more information, please visit their website.

Please consult a career counselor at the GVSU Career Center and the internship coordinator, Vinicius Lima. They can help.

Until you complete the internship experience, your diploma will not be issued. You can, however, participate in commencement ceremonies and complete the internship afterward.

You should continue to work on your portfolio and your networking to secure an experience next year. Hopefully, more effective care measures will be available, and activities will have returned to a closer-to-normal state. The internship coordinator, Vinicius Lima, will continue to monitor the situation and keep students informed of any changes.
 


Questions?

Questions on the portfolio? Resume? Internship Requirements? Career advice? These two folks can help you. Feel free to contact him to assist you anytime during this process.

Vinicius Lima

Vinicius Lima
Graphic Design and Internship Coordinator
Department of Visual and Media Arts
1119 Calder Arts Center
(616) 331-1119
limav@gvsu.edu

Portrait of Lisa Knapp

Lisa Knapp
Career Advisor
GVSU Career Center
200 Student Services
(616) 331-3311
knapplis@gvsu.edu