Required internships give PCA&D graduates an edge in the workplace

The internship experience at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design is an important link between a student’s curricular preparations in the visual arts and the myriad ways that training can be applied in real-world employment.

PCA&D requires students in all BFA degree majors — fine arts, graphic design, illustration and photography — to successfully complete a professional-level internship before graduating.

Every summer, our students work on internships at sports magazines and design firms, with independent photographers, and at art centers in the region.

Don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what our students and participating employers had to say about it…

In the words of students from past internships:

“On my own, I produced and edited a full-length DVD using everything I had been learning at PCA&D about Adobe CS4 Production tools. I also worked on several projects adding motion graphics to videos for commercials that are now being run. I went on several video shoots and got behind the scenes to learn what actually goes into the making of a commercial. Both my supervisors at Postage, Inc. were very helpful and informative. They were great fun and had a lot of experience to share.”

— Jason Birchfield ’10, Graphic Design

In the words of employers/mentors from past internships:

“It was a pleasure to work with Tim [Tim Behler ’10, Graphic Design] — his comfortable nature and excitement about the work made it easy to integrate him into our design team. Tim offered appropriate and useful suggestions in all meetings and helped to craft new directions at Armstrong. His knowledge of cutting-edge technology allowed him to demonstrate Adobe Kuler to the design team who incorporated its use immediately. Thank you for sending Tim our way.”

— Julia Pierce, senior manager commercial product design, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Lancaster, PA

Acquiring an Internship

Students are expected to seek out and propose internship opportunities but guidance and direct referral are also provided by department chairs, internship coordinators and faculty in the major departments.

All internships must ultimately be approved by the department chair or internship coordinator and are expected to occur in the summer between the third and fourth years in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. In some cases, the internship process can continue into the fourth year as long as there is no time conflict with required course work.

All internships at PCA&D involve commitment and assessment from both the internship site supervisor and the intern. Required assessment paperwork includes:

  • Written description from the site (on letterhead stationery) that outlines the student’s responsibilities during the internship period and states who will supervise the intern. According to department standards for the level of professionalism to be achieved during the internship experience, the department chair or internship coordinator may approve or deny an internship at this stage.
  • Written evaluation of a student by the internship site supervisor at the conclusion of an internship experience.
  • Written evaluation of the internship site by the student at the conclusion of the internship experience.

For more information, contact Jessica Edonick, Dean of Student Services.

Internship Evaluation Forms

PCA&D students who have completed their internship may download an evaluation form from this list:

Employers/mentors who have completed their program with a PCA&D intern may download an evaluation form from this list: