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Internship Eligibility & FAQ's

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 

Credited Internship Qualifications

MICA allows eligible students to receive 3 studio credits for internships that meet the college's guidelines for approved experience. We encourage all students to pursue internships, however, it is not a requirement of all students to receive school credit for their experience. Students in Photography and Film & Video majors and Curatorial Studies concentrators are required to complete an internship for credit as a part of their degree plan. International student on F-1 visas are required to receive school credit for all internships conducted off-campus in the United States. Please review Internships for International Students for more information.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligibile to complete a credited internship, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Are enrolled in a degree program at the time of the internship
  • Have completed their Foundation year (at least 27 credits)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above 
  • International students also have specific eligibility requirements. Visit Internships for International Students for more information.

What Qualifies an Internship for Credit

  • Your internship must be registered and approved before your begin working. You cannot receive credit retroactively.
  • The internship must be related to your program of study and in the art and/or design industry.
  • The majority of the work should give you a better understanding of the professional practice in your field of interest. Some administrative tasks are necessary, but this should be kept to a minimum.
  • You should have a designated supervisor to mentor you throughout the internship. This supervisor should be a trained professional in the area of the internship, and have the time to dedicate to your training. 
  • The internship site should not be dependent on the work of the intern.
  • You must be working on-site at an established business or with a professional artist/designer. Virtual internships conducted from home are not eligible for credit.
  • A work station should be available to you, including any necessary equipment, software or technology.
  • Credited internship experiences must adhere to the factors of the "primary beneficiary test" established by US Department of Labor's Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
    1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee-and vice versa.
    2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
    3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern's formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
    4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern's academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
    5. The extent to which the internship's duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
    6. The extent to which the intern's work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
    7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

Required Coursework

All of these requirements are explained during the Internship Orientation, and will be given to you electronically when you receive your Internship Learning Contract approval confirmation. If you are currently completing an internship and needs these assignments resent to you, contact Career Development.In order to receive a passing grade for your internship, you must complete the following assignments:

  • On-site work, a minimum of 120 hours unpaid/paid
  • Midpoint & Final Logs of Hours
  • Midpoint & Final Internship Questionnaires
  • Midpoint & Final Supervisor Evaluations
  • Three Informational Interviews
  • Career Exploration Map
  • Resume & Cover Letter Samples
  • Final Internship Summary
  • Final Presentation with Photo Documentation

How to Register an Internship for Credit

Review our How to Register an Internship page for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I do an internship?

Internships provide students with real-world experience in an official or formal capacity. Internships allow students to gain work experience, explore different career options, develop marketable skills, and establish professional contacts. All of these things will make the student a more competitive candidate in their future professional pursuits.

What qualities make an internship a "good" one?

A good internship should offer the student career-related experience in a professional setting where they will learn professional practice in a field of interest. The experience should also align with the student's professional goals. Having a supportive supervisor at the internship site to mentor the intern is also extremely important. They should give the student real projects and provide constructive feedback.

Do I have to receive school credit for an internship?

In most cases no, it is not a requirement. Credited internships are a wonderful compliment to a student's on-campus studies by practicing skills learned in the classroom in a real world setting. Students studying Photography or Film & Video, or concentrating in Curatorial Studies, are required to complete one internship for credit. Many for-profit employers require the student to receive school credit, especially if it is an unpaid experience.

F-1 international students interning in the United States are required to register for school credit in order to be eligible to work off campus. See Internships for International Students for further instructions. 

When should I attend an Internship Orientation?

All students interested in completing a credited internship are encouraged to attend. We encourage students to start researching internship opportunities first. Attend the Orientation once you begin applying to opportunities to familiarize yourself with MICA's requirements and to better understand what experiences will qualify for school credit.

Plan ahead! This is a very important, mandatory first step and cannot be missed. If you think you will be completing an internship over the summer, especially for one outside of Baltimore, attend an Internship Orientation during the spring semester prior to your internship. Your internship does not have to be finalized to attend.

Should I submit the Learning Contract before I am hired?

Only submit a Learning Contract if you have been officially hired by the internship site. Do not submit a contract for every internship you apply to or interview for.

I heard I missed the deadline to register my internship for credit. Is that true?

When registering an internship, always remember to plan ahead and be mindful of MICA's Academic Calendar. Internships must be registered and approved BEFORE you begin working at the internship and BEFORE the semester Internship Add Deadline. You can start an internship any time, but remember to attend the Internship Orientation and have your Learning Contract approved before you start working. This also has to be completed prior to the Add Deadline of the semester on which you wish to receive credit. Internship contracts received after the Add Deadline must have their credits applied to a future semester. Late contracts will not be accepted, so plan your internship in advance! Review How to Register an Internship for further details.

If I miss the Add Deadline or do not have room on the current semester to add my internship, where will my credits go?

Most students* are able to apply their internship credits to a future semester, within the two semesters following your internship. This allows students flexibility in their regular course schedule as well. For example, if you complete a summer internship, you can apply the credits to the fall or spring semester following the internship.

*F-1 international students completing an internship in the United States are required to add their internship credits to the semester when the work is completed. See more information on Internships for International Students.

How long does the approval process take?

Internship Learning Contracts are approved through an automated, digital process. The time required for the approval depends greatly on those approving the contract. Give yourself at least 1-2 weeks for this process to be completed. Remember you should not start working until you receive confirmation of your internship's approval, because there is a possibility someone will reject the experience and you will not be eligible to receive credit.

What if I started working at the internship before my Learning Contract was approved?

We do not recommend starting an internship before registering it with MICA, because there is a chance we will not approve it. However, if you do begin working, any hours you work prior to the approval of your Learning Contract will not count toward the required hours you must complete. This means you will need to complete 120 hours from the day you receive your approval confirmation from MICA.

How does the internship count toward my degree plan?

An internship is a generic 3-credit studio elective. Unless it is a requirement of your major/program, it will not count toward anything specific. We encourage you to speak with your Academic Advisor/Program Director in advance to be sure you have room in your degree plan to accommodate internship credits.

Can I complete a "remote" internship where I work from home?

No, students must be working on-site (not from home) for the majority of their internship. MICA does not accept work-from-home internships because we want our students to take part in and to be held accountable for the rich experience of working on a team in the workplace. There is a lot of valuable learning that comes from working face-to-face with others, including the importance of business etiquette, presentation and communication skills. Virtual or remote experiences are hard to quantify and effectively evaluate in a virtual environment.

Can I complete an internship outside of the Baltimore area?

Of course! Most summer internships are not in Baltimore. Many students find opportunities near home in other states, and international students often intern in their home countries.

Is it possible to intern with a MICA faculty member?

Yes. Our faculty members are professionals in their fields, and will often hire interns to assist them in their studio practice or with projects conducted outside of the classroom. Faculty cannot host an intern while the student is enrolled in one of their classes. The work conducted with the faculty must also be outside of MICA and the classroom.

Can I intern with a MICA alumnus?

Yes. Many students have interned with MICA alumni. With young alumni, they must be at least two years post graduation in order to supervise an intern. 

I am an international student on an F-1 visa. Can I complete an internship?

Absolutely. After two semesters in F-1 status, students can work as an intern off-campus United States through Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Remember you are required to receive school credit for internships in the United States. You are also welcome to complete an internship in your home country over the summer, where F-1 visa restrictions will not apply to the experience. Review Internships for International Students for further details.

Can I receive credit for an internship I complete while not enrolled in classes or while on a leave of absence?

No. If you are not enrolled in classes at MICA or are on leave, you are not able to take classes at MICA. An internship for credit is a class, and therefore you cannot receive school credit for that experience.

My internship site is asking for a letter confirming I will receive credit for an internship. How do I request this?

Keep in mind we will not provide credit letters for experiences that do not meet MICA's internship guidelines and requirements, or for students who are not eligible to complete a credit-bearing internship. Email your letter request to careerdevelopment@mica.edu. Allow 2-3 business days to process your request.

Include the following details:

  • Name of the company or organization and their mailing address
  • The internship job description
  • Contact info for the person requesting the letter (full name, job title, email, and/or phone #)
  • Method in which they want to receive the letter (digital, mailed, through the student, or sent directly by the Career Development staff)
  • Any other specific instructions from the company or organization

Can I do multiple internships for credit?

Yes. MICA allows students to complete two internships for studio credit, but they must be at different sites under different supervisors. Career Development recommends students to complete multiple internships to broaden their experiences and learn about different industries, regardless of whether or not they receive credit.

Can I register a second internship with the same site if I work with them for a second semester?

We only allow students to receive 3 credits per internship experience. You cannot receive more credits for a second internship at the same site under the same supervsior.

I've already attended an Internship Orientation for my last internship. Do I need to attend another one?

No. If you have already done an internship for credit and attended the Internship Orientation in the past, you do not need to attend a second one. Simply submit your Learning Contract within www.MICAnetwork.com for approval before your internship begins. Review instructions on How to Register an Internship if you need a refresher.

I have worked the required number of hours at my internship. If I continue working, can I receive more credit?

No. If you complete more than the required number of hours at your internship site, you will not receive additional credits. The requirement is not a limit, and many students often work over 120 hours throughout their experience.

What if there is a problem with my internship?

Contact Career Development if you have any issues or concerns about your internship experience. We cannot help you if we are not aware of the issue. We can either coach you through a challenging situation, or intervene if there is a serious issue. We are open year-round, and are more than happy to work with you.

What if I decide to discontinue my internship?

Contact Career Development immediately. An internship for credit is a class, and will be listed on your transcripts unless Career Development is notified of the cancellation. If you do not inform Career Development and never remove your internship from your schedule, you run the risk of a failing grade.

Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development
Gateway 200 | 410-225-2420 | careerdevelopment@mica.edu

This page was last updated on 05/24/2018.