This policy applies to the hiring as interns of any SCI-Arc student, from their initial enrollment through graduation, including the summer and other semester breaks.
SCI-Arc encourages students to pursue internship opportunities during their SCI-Arc education. Students can benefit from internships by receiving practical hands-on work experience under the direction of a professional architect or designer.
A SCI-Arc student is an “intern” and serving in an “internship” when working at an architecture firm, at a design firm, or in another peripheral field in the arts under the direct supervision of an employer, who may or may not be a SCI-Arc faculty member. The internship functions as entry-level practical training in service of the employer. Internships are a form of investment in the future of the profession, and SCI-Arc asks employers to recognize their role as students’ mentors.
Due to the rigorous curriculum at SCI-Arc, it is highly recommended that students enrolled full-time should participate in internships only during the summer term. In addition, internships for credit/Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are highly recommended to be taken only during the summer term.
International students may participate in an internship only via Curricular Practical Training (CPT); see description and eligibility requirements below.
This policy is subject to change at SCI-Arc’s discretion, such as due to revisions to applicable law.
Responsibility of the Employer
All internships (including internships taken for credit or CPT) must be paid. This means that the employer must pay the intern no less than minimum wage pursuant to law. In addition, the employer must be in compliance with all applicable state and federal employment laws including regarding overtime and working conditions.
SCI-Arc recommends that students and employers establish the terms and expectations of an internship in a written agreement prior to commencing work, and that students be considered as non-exempt employees.
Employers external to SCI-Arc who fail to comply with this policy will not have their internship opportunities promoted through SCI-Arc.
Faculty Employment of Students
The ability for students and faculty to work together outside of the classroom is a contributing factor to what makes SCI-Arc a vital and forward-thinking school of architecture.
To help mitigate potential conflicts of interest, students may not work for faculty members as interns during the same term in which they are enrolled in the faculty member’s class or serving as their Teaching Assistant (TA).
The Director, Vice Director, and Program Chairs are prohibited from hiring SCI-Arc student as interns.
Faculty who want to hire a SCI-Arc student as an intern are required to immediately notify the SCI-Arc Career Services Advisor/Directors’ Office of the internship and provide written acknowledgement of the internship assignment signed by both the student and the faculty member. The acknowledgement must include the following:
- The name and degree program of the intern
- Beginning and end dates of internship
- Number of hours that the intern is expected to work each week
- Rate of pay of the intern
- Intern’s position and/or title
- Name, title, and email address of intern’s supervisor
- Brief description of the intern’s responsibilities, the educational value of the internship, and the relevance of the internship to the intern’s area of study
Faculty who fail to comply with this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. For minor infractions, faculty may be subject to discipline such as a conduct warning, reprimand, or suspension from hiring SCI-Arc students as interns.
Student Reporting Responsibilities
Students are responsible for informing the Career Services Advisor/Directors’ Office of their confirmed internship position prior to the start of the internship.
The Career Services Advisor will inform the Registrar and Academic Advisor regarding students approved for an internship for credit or CPT.
At the end of the internship assignment, students will be asked to complete an exit interview with the Career Services Advisor.
The Career Services Advisor will maintain a database of internship employers to include feedback from the exit interviews.
Students who find themselves in internships that are not aligned with the provisions of this policy should promptly inform the Career Services Advisor for guidance.
Internship for Credit /Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Internship for credit is available for both domestic and international students.
Students wishing to enroll in the internship for credit/CPT course must be approved in advance by the Academic Advisor. International students must receive approval in advance from the Academic Advisor and the Registrar/International Advisor and meet the additional terms of CPT.
Undergraduate and graduate students who have completed 3B, 2GB, or 2GBX design studios and who are in good academic and have cleared financial status related to tuition and fee balances, have the option to participate in an internship for credit/CPT course. Postgraduate students may enroll in internships beginning in their final summer term; some exceptions may apply, but these must be approved in advance through the Registrar/International Advisor and Academic Advisor.
Each internship for credit/CPT course is recorded as units toward a degree, equivalent to a three-unit elective seminar. A student cannot take more than six units of internship for credit/CPT during their degree program.
Internship for credit/CPT units will not be considered in the overall cumulative grade point average (CGPA). Internship for credit/CPT employment must be a supervised, temporary position and can be authorized for part-time (10-20 hours per week) or full-time (30-40 hours per week).
Internship for Credit/CPT Fees
An internship for credit/CPT fee will be billed to students who are enrolled only in the “internship” course during a term. If during the term, the student is enrolled part-time, the internship/CPT fee will be billed in addition to the part-time course(s) tuition and customary fees. If a student is enrolled full-time during the term, an internship/CPT fee will not be assessed.
How to Register for Internship for Credit/CPT
Students are responsible for following the process for approval, documentation, and registration according to the internship for credit guidelines as stated in the Advising, Career Resources, and Campus Life pages on my.sciarc.edu.
Registration for the internship for credit/CPT course follows the same deadlines for general course registration and add/drop periods. Because the internship process requires additional documentation, students must begin the approval process well in advance of the registration window and add/drop period.
Students must be registered by the Registrar/International Advisor (students cannot register online) for the internship course to receive SCI-Arc credit. Students who work in internships without being registered for the internship course will not receive course credit. Retroactive course credit will not be provided under any circumstances.
Once successfully completed, a final letter from the employer and student exit interview is required to be submitted to the Career Services Advisor.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - International Students
CPT authorizes international F-1 status students to engage in paid internship/employment when it is required as an integral part of the academic program for which academic credit is given. CPT is authorized by the Registrar/International Advisor and the Academic Advisor.
To qualify for CPT, international students must be in lawful F-1 status and have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year prior to the proposed CPT start date.
To make a request for CPT, international students should submit the following additional documents to the Registrar/International Advisor:
- A letter from the employer stating the name of the firm and direct supervisor, beginning and ending dates of the employment period, number of hours expected to work each week, rate of pay, job title and description, and whether the job will be full- or part-time non-exempt position.
- A Form I-538 with Section A completed and signed by the student
Important CPT Guidelines
- Students may not start a CPT internship until the Registrar/International Advisor authorizes them to engage in CPT. The Registrar/International Advisor will update the Form I-20 with the information when all paperwork is finalized. CPT must be applied for before the end of the add/drop period during the term that CPT is requested.
- 12 or more months of full-time CPT makes the student ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the current educational level. Part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for post-completion OPT; however, the student must continue full-time enrollment while working part-time CPT unless working during the summer (or authorized vacation).
- Students must obtain a new authorization in advance to change employers or extend their CPT. The internship must be continuous (13 weeks minimum) and have no breaks between employer changes or extensions once the internship has been approved through both the Registrar/International Advisor and Academic Advisor.