Industrial Design Professional Internship Program

This program offers the opportunity for 3rd and 4th-year undergraduate industrial design students to receive academic credit while employed in a design practice. The program specifies that a student engage full time for the entire semester in a professional design practice with equivalent ID pursuits. The place of employment must be located in an environment where students have an opportunity to broaden their understanding of new issues and be engaged in industrious exploration, away from familiar hometowns or parental residences. Students will be paid by the design firm while employed during the semester of participation in the Professional Internship Program. Students who plan to participate in the Professional Internship Program should seek out firms which agree to provide a sufficient level of mentorship and direct them in their daily activities and need to make clear to their mentors prior to the internship semester that their engagement should be mainly centered around the typical professional design tasks, such as design research, design development, manufacturing processes, professional practice related issues in design, human factors analysis and application, and prototyping, client contact, and vendor site visits.

Students are advised to maintain weekly documentation of their work to demonstrate content comparable to IDS 3015/IDS4015. Other course requirements such as Professional Practice or Independent Study can be fulfilled by taking advantage of the professional setting and the study of everyday practices. Other coursework may be arranged with permission of the Advanced Professional Program Chair up to a maximum of 15 credit hours. Generally, this option is only offered in the Fall Semester. It is not possible to obtain academic credit for part-time or summer employment.

Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 overall GPA prior to the Professional Internship Program Semester.

All students must receive approval from their studio professors before the beginning of the term in which they plan to take part in the Professional Internship Program.

At the end of the semester each student will be asked to submit:

  • Self-assessment, including a short description of performed tasks structured by week.
  • Work portfolio [pdf] supporting the descriptions.
  • All documentation, together with a letter of evaluation by the employer, should be submitted to the Industrial Design Program Chair. Employers who prefer to send the letter via U.S. mail service should address it to the attention of Industrial Design program chair, 201 Cowgill Hall, 1325 Perry St., Blacksburg, Virginia 24061.