Interior Design Required Internship

Interior design student sketching in class closeup

The purpose of the required internship is to provide you with an opportunity to work in a professional environment under the guidance of design professionals. It is an important transition step between your education and your professional career.

Interior Design Internship FAQs

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What are the objectives of the internship?

  • To gain experience working in the interior design field
  • To interact with interior design practitioners
  • To understand the many roles in the field of interior design
  • To get exposure to different parts of the design process

What types of internships are there?

Internships in interior design are available through a variety of companies. Internships with design houses, design firms, specialty design centers, and textile and furniture designers are the most common types of internships available to interior design students and recent graduates. These internships are designed to help students gain real-world experience; they can be paid or unpaid. Depending on the position and the company, internship positions may include administrative work, production assistance, or even design assistance.

Do I need to create learning goals for my internship?

Yes. Together with your faculty advisor and your internship site supervisor, you will create your learning goals as part of the internship contract. Refer to the Internship Checklist

Where may I do my internship?

You may work for one or more firms to complete your internship requirement of 200 hours. If you work for more than one firm, you will register only once for IDes 4196, but an Internship Experience Agreement contract must be completed for each site and the agreements and evaluations must be completed for each.

Is there a prerequisite for the internship?

Yes. You must have successfully completed IDes 4607: Interior Design Studio VII before doing your internship.

Who will be my faculty internship supervisor?

Your faculty advisor also serves as your internship faculty supervisor. Refer to your APAS if you do not know who your faculty advisor is.

Note: The terms "faculty advisor" and "faculty internship supervisor" are used interchangeably.

How do I find an internship site?

It is your responsibility to find an internship. Your first step should be to meet with your faculty advisor to discuss possible locations that would fit with your professional goals.

Note: Faculty advisors are not on staff during the summer to assist you in preparing for an internship for the fall semester, so you need to plan well in advance. See the "When do I complete the paperwork for permission to do the internship?" FAQ for more information. 

Your second step is to meet with a career counselor in Career and Internship Services. Refer to the Internship Checklist.  

Internship postings are listed in Handshake, although students frequently find an internship by contacting a work site directly to inquire about internship possibilities.

When do I complete the paperwork for permission to do the internship?

Be sure to carefully review both the Internship Checklist and the Internship Contract & Course Access Instructions, which are both located on the same page, to understand the overall internship process. 

After you have met with your faculty advisor and your internship site supervisor to work out the arrangements of the internship, carefully complete the contract (or, “internship experience agreement”) and enrollment portion of your internship.

Fall term and spring term internships:

  • We recommend you contact your faculty advisor no later than the second week of that semester for approval.
  • You will need to arrange a required meeting with faculty advisor at the end of the semester/internship to evaluate the experience.  

Summer internships:

  • You must contact your faculty advisor no later than May 1 for approval of your proposal.
  • While faculty advisors are not on staff during the summer, interior design program director Stephanie Zollinger, can approve proposals submitted over the summer. For assistance, contact Zollinger at [email protected].
  • You must submit the documentation from your summer internship to Professor Zollinger by the last day of summer term. 

How do I get credit for the internship?

  • Complete the Internship Experience Agreement via your Handshake account. Refer to the Internship Checklist.  
  • The Internship Experience Agreement must be completed, including faculty advisor and site supervisor signatures, before you begin your internship hours. Refer to the Internship Checklist.
  • Enroll in IDes 4196, being sure to select the section assigned to your faculty advisor. Refer to the Internship Checklist.
  • Complete 200 hours of internship work and submit the documents listed under "What do I need to complete for the internship?"
  • The internship grade base is S/N, which means that you must earn the equivalent of a C- or better in order to receive credit for the course.

How many hours are required for my internship?

You must complete a minimum of 200 hours in an approved internship.

Important Note: You may begin to count hours toward the 200-hour minimum only after the Internship Experience Agreement has been completed and signed by the site supervisor and your faculty advisor.

What do I need to complete for the internship?

The following are required components of the internship. Following the completion of your 200 internship hours, submit the following in a 3-ring binder (or other suitable single document): 

1. A Weekly Activity/Task Log

  • Maintain a weekly log during your internship including your responsibilities, tasks, and time schedule.
  • You may use the IDes 4196: Internship Weekly Activity/Task Log or one provided by your firm.  
  • For efficiency, either keep the log document on your computer to enter the information digitally or make multiple copies of the log to enter information manually.
  • Enter the information daily. By the end of the week, you may not remember all of the tasks you completed that week.


2. Completed Student Self-Evaluation Form 


3. Employer/Supervisor’s Evaluation of Student Performance Form

  • Once you have completed half of your internship hours, meet with your supervisor to discuss your performance.
  • Use the Performance Evaluation By Site Supervisor as a conversation guide. While not required, you may want your supervisor to complete the evaluation form prior to your meeting.
  • At the end of your internship hours, request that your supervisor complete the Performance Evaluation by Site Supervisor.
  • Meet with your site supervisor to discuss their evaluation and your self-evaluation (see below).


4. Documentation of Protecting People’s Health, Safety, and Welfare

  • Using examples only from your internship site/firm, provide documentation of interior designers’ health, safety, and welfare knowledge that protects people.
  • Use the HSW Documentation Form.


5. Documentation of the Firm’s Business Procedures and Practices

  • Write a paper to include 1-2 paragraphs on each of the following:
    • Introductory paragraph summarizing your internship position
    • Description of the firm’s type of design practice and clients
    • Description of the firm’s management hierarchy
    • Description of the method by which projects/work are brought into the firm and assigned to designers
    • Description of the most interesting thing you learned during your internship


6. A Poster

  • On a 20” x 30” poster, include the following required elements:
    • your name
    • name of the internship site/firm
    • type of firm
    • your job title and description
    • 3-4 tasks you were asked to focus on (Note: images to support this are helpful.)
    • images of the work you produced and/or the deliverables that support the health, safety, and welfare of client  
    • the 3 most important things you learned in relationship to internship