Catalog Policies


All students interested in pursuing an internship opportunity must schedule an appointment with the Center for Life & Work in the Office of Student Experience. Although the Center for Life & Work maintains an extensive bank of internship opportunities, students may also find internships through their own research or through faculty contacts. However, regardless of the internship’s origin, all internships must be approved by the Center for Life & Work. No credit will be awarded for internships not approved in advance of their start date, except by special petition of the School dean.

To be eligible for an internship, BFA candidates must have spent at least two semesters on campus, as a registered student. MFA, and DMA candidates must have been enrolled for at least one semester. On occasion, exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the School dean. Credit for undergraduate internships may not exceed six semester units or twenty hours of work per week. Please note that an off–campus internship may augment, but may not replace, the CalArts residency requirement.

Generally, an internship experience at a particular site can only be done for credit one time. If the duties and responsibilities of the internship change significantly, then the student may apply to the Center for Life & Work to receive credit at the same site a second time. The maximum number of academic credits for internships each semester is 6.

At no time can an internship count towards fulfilling Critical Studies course requirements.

The Center for Life & Work will supply the student with a copy of the internship contract. The contract must be completed in its entirety before the beginning of the internship and must be signed by the internship company, the CalArts faculty member supervising the internship, the Center for Life & Work, and the Registrar’s Office. International students must have written approval of the Office of International Students and Programs prior to beginning an internship. 

A member of the faculty must supervise all internships. If the host company requires a separate contract to be signed by the intern, or, if the host wishes to acquire original material created by the student, the student should seek independent legal advice prior to entering into any agreement with the company. Although a student interning for credit can also be paid by the host organization, the position must meet the criteria of an intern/trainee and not an employee. See the Center for Life & Work for more information.

The faculty supervisor is responsible for the following:

  • Reviewing the value of the internship in the context of the student’s overall academic/artistic program (including any academic warnings) before approving the internship, and ensuring that there are defined learning outcomes for the internship experience; 
  • Ensuring that credit awarded is consistent with semester credit hour standards (three hours per week per unit for undergraduate students and four hours of work per week per unit for graduate students based on a 15–week semester);  
  • Reviewing the evaluations, provided by the student and by the work site, in preparation for issuing a grade based on performance to be submitted to the Registrar’s Office; and 
  •  Reporting any problems or feedback to the Center for Life & Work.
Students are responsible for the following: 

  • Meeting with the Center for Life & Work and understanding the procedure for securing an internship;  
  • Making sure that a completed and signed internship contract is submitted to the Center for Life & Work prior to starting the internship; 
  • Fulfilling all requirements of the internship;  
  • Keeping the faculty supervisor apprised of any problems that arise in the course of the internship, as well as periodically reporting on progress at the work site; and 
  • Submitting, to the Center for Life & Work, complete reports on evaluation forms (provided by the Center for Life & Work) by both the intern and the internship site supervisor before the end of the semester. Grades are based, in part, on these completed reports.

Internships at CalArts that are awarded academic credit are treated with the same rigor as coursework. Students are expected to commit the same amount of time and energy to an internship as they would to a class. In turn, the Center for Life & Work and the supervising faculty member will help ensure that the student’s investment is matched by a valuable educational experience. Regular communication among the Center for Life & Work, the faculty member and the student is crucial to this process.

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