Product Design Required Internship

Product design student showing off a project at a research poster showcase

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.

Product Design Internship FAQs

Expand all

How many internships are required?

You are required to complete one internship experience with a 100 hour minimum*. We do encourage students to seek out more than one internship in different work environments to diversify your portfolio and give you work experience in different settings.

*Some prior classes included a requirement of TWO internships at a 50 hour minimum and necessitated enrolling in PDes 3196 for one credit with each internship. Consult with your Faculty Internship Advisor for further information.

Is PDES 3196 a class?

This is not a traditional class and has no regularly scheduled lectures or class time. The course requirements upon completion of the internship are submission of an internship recap and a one-on-one review with your Faculty Internship Advisor. While it does satisfy a credit requirement, the grade will be S/N and the minimal workload should not impede your ability to take this course in addition to a full academic load. More information on the deliverables required will be available on Canvas after course registration and in discussion with your Internship Advisor.

Once your Experience Agreement has been approved by BOTH your internship site supervisor and your Faculty Internship Advisor, you will be able to enroll in PDes 3196. You should sign up for 3196 during or following the semester that you will complete your internship. Do not wait an extended period of time.

When should I complete my internship?

You may complete your internship any time after completing Fall Semester of Year 2. This allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you gained in the fundamental product design courses (PDes 2701, 2702, 2703, 2704, 2777, and 2771). You may not complete your required internship prior to Spring of Year 2 as you will not have developed enough core skills in your courses.

It is most beneficial for you to have completed your internship prior to beginning your senior year, though it is possible to complete an internship during the first semester of senior year. The second semester of senior year is also possible but may be too late for your internship work to be included in your portfolio for an initial job search.

Where may I do my internship?

Your internship may be at any company connected to product design where you will be doing the actual design of products or services. Try to find internships that excite you as well as diversify your portfolio. Some possible companies to look for include:

  • A small company that develops products
  • A large corporation that develops consumer goods
  • A large corporation that develops specialized products
  • A large corporation that provides services
  • A product design consultancy
  • A start-up or venture that involves products
  • A product branding/marketing/advertising company
    • Before planning too far for an internship in this area, be sure to discuss your idea with the faculty supervisor to get their approval.

How do I find a site for an internship?

It is your responsibility to find an internship and to work out the details (hours, salary, etc.) with the internship site supervisor. Your first step should be to meet with a career counselor in Career and Internship Services. Internship postings are listed in GoldPASS, although students frequently find an internship by contacting a work site directly to inquire about internship possibilities.

When do I complete the paperwork to enroll in an internship?

The paperwork portion of setting up your internship occurs after you have connected with your faculty advisor and your internship site supervisor to work out the arrangements of the
internship. Connect with your Faculty Internship Advisor when you anticipate or receive an offer for a position.

Fall term and spring term internships:
Connect with your faculty advisor to obtain approval for your Internship Experience Agreement. This must be submitted and approved PRIOR to beginning work. (For instructions visit the general Undergraduate Required Internships webpage.)

Summer internships:
If your Faculty Internship Advisor is on staff during the summer, contact them for consultation and approval. If they are unavailable, the DHA Department Head can approve Internship Experience Agreements during this time. You must submit the documentation from your summer internship by the last day of summer term. For exceptions to this timeline, contact the Faculty Internship Advisor.

How do I get credit for my internship?

For your required internship, do the following.

  • Complete the Internship Experience Agreement via your GoldPASS account
  • Enroll in PDes 3196, which is a 2-credit course*
  • Complete a minimum of 100 hours of internship work and submit the required documentation listed in "Do I need to submit any documents during or after my internship?"
  • Many internships are significantly more than 100 hours. This does not change or add additional requirements.
  • The internship grade base is S/N
  • A grade of “I” (Incomplete) will be assigned until you have turned in and reviewed the required materials with your Faculty Internship Advisor

*Some prior classes included a requirement of TWO internships at a 50-hour minimum and necessitated enrolling in PDes 3196 for one credit with each internship. Consult with your Faculty Internship Advisor for further information.

Can the faculty advisor sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?

No. You may sign an NDA; your faculty advisor will not sign an NDA. In order to assess your work and, thus, grade your work in the class, the faculty advisor needs to be able to review your work without any obligation to your site.    

What tasks are expected of me during my internship?

Internship tasks will differ from site to site. Together with the faculty advisor and your internship site supervisor, you will create your learning goals as part of the Internship Experience Agreement.

Do I need to submit any documents during or after my internship?

Yes. You must submit to the following to your faculty advisor via Canvas:

  • A log of hours completed during your internship
  • 5-10 portfolio pages that showcase the work you completed on project(s) that include:
  • Your role in each project
  • A brief description of each project
  • Images from your design notebook, sketches, CAD models, prototypes, and any other documents to best portray your work