Request Credit for a Professional Experience

Why are professional experiences in Design important during school?

A professional experience such as an internship, apprenticeship, or paid position provides the opportunity for Design students to apply the skills they've developed during their studies under the guidance of a professional in their intended field. Professional experiences are also a great opportunity to network with Design professionals!

Can I enroll in credit toward my degree for a professional experience?

With the approval of a faculty member in your area of study, students in their third and fourth year of Design can be eligible to enroll in ADS 531 credit for an internship, apprenticeship, or paid position. ADS 531 is a variable-credit class, which means that a student can enroll in one (1) to six (6) credit hours of ADS 531.

Generally, every 40 hours worked at an eligible professional experience would allow a student to enroll in 1 credit hour of ADS 531. For instance, 120 hours worked over the course of an eligible internship would allow a student to enroll in 3 credit hours of ADS 531. That said, the nature of the work involved in the internship may affect this ratio.

If a student intentionally enrolls in the incorrect number of ADS 531 credit hours, the instructor who initially approved the ADS 531 credit may assign a grade of "U" for the class, meaning that it would not count toward degree requirements. If you accidentally enroll in the wrong number of ADS 531 credit hours, contact the advisor for Design students at, and he'll help you make the needed adjustment without penalty from the Department of Design!

When does enrollment in ADS 531 credit make sense?

ADS 531 credit costs the same in tuition and fees on a credit-hour by credit-hour basis as design studio coursework. For that reason, it’s only a good option if it would enable a qualifying professional experience which wouldn’t otherwise be able to happen if the student were taking studio or study abroad courses for the Professional Studies requirement. Students should talk with our academic advisor for guidance specific to their circumstances!

What makes a professional experience eligible for ADS 531 credit?

Eligible professional experiences are generally beyond the School of Architecture & Design, center on project-based Design work relevant to a student's area of study, and feature direct supervision from a professional in Design who is involved in the process of mentoring the student.

What is the process of requesting permission to enroll in ADS 531 credit for a professional experience?

Step 1: Fill out the Professional Experience Credit Request form with your supervisor, sign it, and ask your supervisor to sign it.

Step 2: Submit the completed Professional Experience Credit Request to the faculty member listed below for your area of study:

Illustration & Animation: Barry Fitzgerald

Industrial Design: Betsy Barnhart

Photography: Elise Kirk

Visual Communication Design: Tim Hossler

Step 3: The faculty member for your area will review the request, then (if they approve) write the maximum number of ADS 531 credit hours that they would allow for the professional experience on the form and send it to the department's academic advisor. The advisor would then make a note for official department record and email you information and instructions for enrolling in the appropriate number of ADS 531 credit hours.

What do I need to do at the end of my professional experience?

To help faculty with grading for your ADS 531 credit, your supervisor must submit the supervisor evaluation web form by the conclusion of your professional experience or Stop Day of the semester during which you're enrolled in the ADS 531 credit for that experience - whichever comes last.

Faculty may also require additional materials at the end of your internship for grading. Please consult the faculty member listed for your area in Design to learn more!


For questions about the process of seeking approval for ADS 531, contact the advisor for Design students.

For questions about whether or not an experience is credit-worthy, please contact the listed faculty member for your area of study.