An internship is viewed by many to distinquish between a good program and an excellent program. The purpose of an internship is to complement the academic experience with “real world” opportunities. Conditions exist in interior design practice, for example, that are learned best in a professional rather than academic setting.
Generally, students in interior architecture participate in an internship during the summer between their 3rd and 4th years, although they also may intern during the fall and spring semesters. The internship is coordinated through the department, but the university is invested deeply in internships. In fact, the company or firm with whom the student is interning signs a contract with the university that ensures and protects the intern during the internship.
Students register for a 4 credit internship course and are expected by the university to work 50 hours for every one hour of credit. A student registered for a 4 hour internship is expected to work 200 hours to earn the course credit. Students are responsible for arranging their internships, a process that begins with a meeting among the students and the Internship Coordinator, Stoel Burrowes. Lists of former sites and descriptions of the experiences are kept by the department and available to the students. Students are encouraged to consider their own interests and find the best internship opportunity for them. Students interested in healthcare design, for example, may intern with a firm that specializes in this type of design. Students have interned in architecture, interior design, and engineering firms, as well as with lighting designers, sculptors, and furniture designers.
Working with the Internship Coodinator, students and their internship mentors develop objectives, the resources available to do the work, and the kind of evidence that will result from the students’ work. This evidence is assembled in a student exhibit, the Internship Fair, that occurs each fall semester. Families, friends, and mentors are invited to come to the Fair as are students, faculty, and members of the university community and of the Interior Architecture Advisory Board.
Internships can be arranged at any location desired, and students are encouraged to venture out to get the best experience possible. This may be in Greensboro, Charlotte, New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, or London! Recent internships include:
Anthropologie, Greensboro, NC
Perkins+Will, Charlotte, N.C.
Thomasville Furniture, Thomasville, N.C.
Alliance Architecture, Durham, N.C.
Brayton International, High Point, N.C.
Calloway Johnson Moore West, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Gensler, Charlotte, N.C.
Zaha Hadid, London, England
French Heritage Society, Paris, France
Download information on Internships in this Internship Packet (MS Word).
Download our Internship Student Profles