Graphic Design - Internship

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

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


Finding an Internship

It is the student's responsibility of locating a suitable opportunity for internship. 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 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 with 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.

It is very likely that a prospective intern will be applying to a position with a well-designed resumé and a portfolio of their best work. Please consult Graphic Design faculty for assistance with these preparatory steps. 

Internship Requirements

There are basically four criteria students must comply in order to have their internship count for credit toward graduation. They are as follows:

  • Internships must be completed in an off-campus site. 
  • Internship must last a minimum of a 150 hours for meeting the 3-credit requirement.
  • Internship must provide the student the opportunity to work on their own projects.
  • Internship supervisor must be a formally trained, experienced, Graphic Designer or Art Director at the company you are seeking the internship.

Career Center Internship Award

The GVSU Career Center is aware of the financial strain this process can put in 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.

International Internships

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 the 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.

Internship Registration

Once a student has received an internship offer from an intern, it is the student's responsibility to inform the internship coordinator of the place, the supervisor and their specific duties. The student is also responsible for completing the Online Internship Agreement Form. This form will be analyzed by your internship supervisor and the internship coordinator. The internship coordinator has the decision power to approve or deny an internship. For that matter, it is important that the student keep the internship coordinator informed and discusses their possible opportunities. This will guarantee a smoother process.

After completion of the internship, a student will need to register for ART 491 - Internship in Studio Art. This will allow the internship credit to apply to your graduation requirements. This course will require a permit and you must register on Banner for it. Without registering on Banner, you will not receive credit and will not have completed the requirement.

Internship Coordinator

Questions on portfolio? Resume? Internship Requirements? Career advice? For all of these, your internship coordinator is your GVSU resource. Feel free to contact him to assist you anytime during this process. Your internship coordinator for Graphic Design is:

Vinicius Lima
Graphic Design Coordinator
1119 Calder Arts Center

Page last modified September 29, 2017