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All undergraduate students in the School of Visual Communication Design are required to complete 300 hours of internship before graduation. Most design and illustration internships are paid positions with private businesses, individuals, organizations and government entities. Over the last 30 years, the school has forged hundreds of local and national relationships with some of the most prominent businesses in Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. In addition to internships on the Kent State campus, other internships are available locally in Kent, Ravenna, Akron, Cleveland, other Ohio cities and out of state.
When do I sign up for an internship?
Any student may sign up for 40192 Internship 2 credit after they have successfully passed 30009 Junior Portfolio Review. It is recommended that students register for 40092 Internship 1, the orientation course, during the semester that they are taking 30009 Junior Portfolio Review and 33001 Graphic Design 2. However, a student may register for 40092 Internship 1 and 40192 Internship 2 simultaneously after successfully completing Junior Portfolio Review and with permission from the internship coordinator.
How many hours do I need to work for class credit?
For each 01 credit hour of 40192 Internship 2 you must complete 100 work hours.
1 credit hour: 6.6 hours per week x 15 weeks = 100  total work hours
2 credit hours: 13.3 hours per week x 15 weeks = 200 [199.5] total work hours
3 credit hours: 20 hours per week x 15 weeks = 300 total work hours
4 credit hours: 26.6 hours per week x 15 weeks = 400  total work hours
5 credit hours: 33.3 hours per week x 15 weeks = 500 [499.5] total work hours
6 credit hours: 40 hours per week x 15 weeks = 600 total work hours
What are the student’s responsibilities at the end of his or her internship?
A letter from the employer verifying the student employment. The letter must include the following information:
a. Your name
b. Dates of employment
c. Total hours worked
d. Description of duties
e. Evaluation of work performed [Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory]
A self-evaluation letter from the student. The letter must include the following information:
a. Description of duties
b. Description of areas of involvement
c. Self-evaluation of job performance (strengths and weaknesses)
d. Value of the internship experience (would you recommend this to a fellow student?)
The time sheet supplied. Work hours must be verified with the initials of the employer. Time sheets are to be totaled on both a weekly and a running-total basis.
Note: Before beginning 40192 Internship 2, each student must fill out and return to the internship coordinator a Hold Harmless Agreement and a Policy Agreement. Each of these forms must be witnessed and signed, and submitted before the internship may begin for credit.
How many hours of Internship 2 do I need?
03 credit hours of 40192 Internship 2 are required but the maximum of 06 credit hours cannot be exceeded. The additional 03 hours above and beyond the 03 hour requirement may be applied toward the VCD Elective requirement or toward the university General Electives requirement.
Note: Students must sign up for Internship 2 during the semester in which you are completing the Internship experience. Failure to find an internship during the semester in which you are enrolled will result in a grade of “U” [Unsatisfactory]. You may not sign up for credit a semester in advance or a semester after completing an internship. You may not sign up for Internship 2 credit until you have an internship lined up.
Finding an internship
A list of available Internships is available from Career Exploration and Development or may be obtained from the internship coordinator.
VCD positions are categorized with the job functions “Creative/Design/Multimedia” or “Graphic Design.”
How do I set up my own approved internship?
Students may use any of the existing approved school internships or you may arrange for your own. If you arrange your own internship, the internship coordinator must approve it in advance. The intern must be supervised by a design professional in the field.
The internship must involve work in one of the following areas:
Audio Visual and/or Multi-Media Presentation Design
Environmental Graphic Design
What jobs will not be considered as internships?
Because the intent of the internship is to allow the student the opportunity to work with professionals in a professional situation, the following work situations will not be considered Internships:
Any job in which the student is the sole designer
Any job in which the student is not under the direct supervision of a professional in the field
Can I get an internship on campus?
The following jobs on the Kent State University campus are the only situations that will count toward Internship credit:
KSU Alumni Association [specifically, working on the KSU Alumni magazine]
University Publications [specifically, working with the University Graphic Designers]
The University Press [specifically, working with the designer]
Note: All other jobs on the KSU campus will not count toward internship credits or requirements.
Who must complete an internship?
Every major in the Visual Communication Design degree program must complete 01 hour of 40092 Internship 1, the orientation course, and 03 semester hours of 40192 Internship 2.
What is the purpose of an internship?
The purpose of an Internship is to place a current student into a real world work environment before graduation. An Internship allows the student to work with professionals in a professional environment while still taking classes. Work taken on by the student in a freelance arrangement does not fulfill the requirements for an Internship. Work must be accomplished on the premises of the Internship.
When are internships available?
Internships are available throughout the year: Fall & Spring semester, winter break, spring break and during the summer.
Do internships pay a salary?
Most of the Internships available through the School of Visual Communication Design are paid. Internship pay ranges from minimum wage up to $20.00 per hour. Several of the on-campus Internships prefer students to be on the Work-Study Program. Some internships do not pay but offer other incentives. For instance, some employers will pay for the tuition for the internship credits. Other places may allow you to get free parking permits, laptops and paid memberships to professional organizations such as AIGA. Be sure to inquire about what salary an employer is willing to pay and/or what other compensation is available. Keep expenses in mind, such as commuting and parking.
Are all internships paid?
Internships may be salaried or voluntary. Some internships will provide the student with a salary paid on a weekly or monthly basis, while others provide the student with remuneration of tuition and fees for the internship course, 40192 Internship 2. It is up to the student to negotiate the payment or salary before signing up for the credit. The internship coordinator will not be involved in salary negotiations.
Which is better?
Is it better to complete one internship for 06 credit hours or two internships for 3 credit hours each? [Or any other combination]. The School of Visual Communication Design recommends experiencing two different internships. Since the purpose of an internship is to gain professional experience while still a student, the more varied the experiences, the better. Please note that there are very few internships available which are strictly illustration-oriented. It is therefore recommended that illustration majors investigate internships at magazines, newspapers or any other areas that utilize illustration.
Are internships graded?
No. Internships receive either an “S” [Satisfactory] or “U” [Unsatisfactory] grade. No other letter grades apply. Your employer will not be asked to grade your performance. Keep in mind that a “U” computes as an “F” in your grade point average.
VCD students have held internships at many well-known places, including Discovery Channel, The Smithsonian Museum, MTV, Metropolis magazine and MOMA. Below are some personal thoughts from VCD students about their internship experiences.
Darren Brull, Gengo: Japan
The Visual Communication Design program at Kent State University is supposed to be one of the best in the USA, if not the world. The time spent at KSU obviously made this internship possible. The strengths of the program seem to be in the requirements to have students really strive for exceptional conceptual design and I felt very confident in my ability to come up with creative ideas and communicate them effectively to the art director. Also, when I was stressed and under a deadline, the VCD program gave me a “leg up” when the need arose to produce usable designs. My education helped me to realize that producing a lot of work and variation is essential in unearthing design solutions; refining communication into something exciting, effective and unique. Most importantly, I knew that no matter how hard an assignment would become, so long as I “just had fun with it”, I would be OK.
Jaclyn Griswold, American Greetings
The fundamental design principals that I learned in the VCD program truly helped me to excel in my internship at American Greetings. I was able to accomplish more than what was asked of me because of this foundation. I started with simple design work and progressed to animating my designs in the form of an e-card. I was given the opportunity to attend hand lettering workshops, shadow senior designers/animators, participate in community service art projects, and tour different departments to learn more about the company. My drive and enthusiasm to learn more and push myself as a designer is what ultimately got me a part time job as a Creative Specialist and more recently a full time position as an Associate Line Designer
Hannah Marsh, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
It is a really laid back office with creativity overflowing everywhere. Everywhere you turn there are mood boards, story boards, inspiration images and sketches hung up throughout the building. Right now we are working on the halloween special issue that comes out in August. So far I have been helping design Martha's accessories for her costume as well as illustrating and crafting decorations that are in running to appear in the issue. The steps and strategies that I use with projects for VCD I find using here at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Research, sketching, inspiration boards, and meeting with individuals to critique my thoughts and ideas to better the final product. It is overwhelmingly amazing to be able to receive feedback from such inspiring people as the ones who work there as well as Martha herself! I am truly having such a wonderful experience and learning so much.
Anna Zajac, Ohio Boy
I've loved working with Andy & Christie Taray of Ohioboy Art & Design. My internship has given me hands on experience designing anything from logo to book design. From working alongside of Andy, I've learned more about life after college and what it's like to interview and apply for jobs in my field. I've also sharpened my skills as a visual communicator and problem solver applying what I know to real life design problems. I can honestly say that I've learned something new every time I come in to my internship.
Kristen Deran, Akron Life Magazine
My internship here has been great so far. They have really trusted me to take on so many aspects of the magazine. From shooting to scheduling to contacting venues and people, I'm so grateful for this experience.
Kirsten Neubert, Goodyear
When I told people that I was interning at Goodyear, they often questioned how it applied to my VCD education. It was a surprise even to me how perfect the internship was for me and how valuable it was for my growth as a designer. During my internship, I was able to leverage the problem solving skills and design process that I had developed in my study of VCD. I applied skills, like planning and teamwork, time after time, that I hadn't even realized I had learned. I found that even though I wasn't working in a design-focussed company, there were opportunities to use my design skill set all around me.
Eric Courney, Louis + Partners Design
From day one at Louis + Partners (an Architecture, Interior and Graphic Design Firm in Bath, Ohio) I've been thrown into the fire. I've been challenged to come up with multiple concepts for various clients' projects very quickly and my overall technical and design abilities have been tested, and strengthened, on a daily basis. Clients are demanding and seem to need everything yesterday. If it weren't for my time at Kent and the knowledge that the VCD program has provided me, I honestly think I would have failed. Luckily, I've been able to hang in there and am loving every minute of my time here.
Employers: List your internship position
What are employer responsibilities at the end of the internship?
To the Employer: Thank you for agreeing to participate in the Visual Communication Design Internship Program At the end of the Internship we ask that each employer evaluate the performance of the student intern. Although students enroll for credit for the internship experience we ask only that you to give a “pass/fail” evaluation of their performance rather than a letter grade [please note that an “Unsatisfactory” evaluation will be recorded and computed as an “F” grade on the student’s permanent record.] Your evaluation [on company letterhead] needs to state:
Dates of employment
Total hours worked
Brief description of job duties
Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory performance
Any additional comments you wish to make regarding the student would be appreciated.
Such comments might include:
Attitude and enthusiasm
General conduct and appearance
Knowledge and preparedness
Willingness to learn
Strengths and weaknesses
We appreciate your participation in helping to make the VCD Internship Program a success and, hopefully, a rewarding experience for all.