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Thank you for your interest in selecting an SVA student as an intern. An internship is an opportunity for our students to benefit from your professional guidance while giving them real workplace experience, and is an effective way for employers to determine if a student might be a good candidate for future opportunities with your organization. Each year, more than 300 SVA students successfully complete a paid or unpaid internship for credit and receive overwhelmingly positive reviews from their employers.

As a reminder, according to state and federal labor laws, the primary purpose of an unpaid internship is for the student to gain practical learning experience and not for the internship host to benefit from the student’s labor. More information about intern compensation can be found in the Compensation and Department of Labor Standards section below.

Please review the following information on how to participate in the SVA Internship for Credit Program or download a PDF from the list of Downloads on the right hand side. 

Internship Host Criteria and Requirements

When the School of Visual Arts is petitioned for an intern, the following criteria must be met in order to receive consideration for the College’s Internship for Credit Program.

Employers must agree to the following:

  • Host interns for 150 hours, falling within the College’s semester period.  If the internship requires more than 150 hours, we encourage you to designate this a paid internship. Unpaid internships that require more than 200 hours will NOT be approved. See SVA's Academic Calendar here.
  • Provide an experience that applies directly to a student's field of study, fulfilling relevant career objectives.
  • Provide a designated creative supervisor, qualified in the area of the student's major, who gives counsel, advisement and career guidance.
  • Work with the intern to identify their specific learning goals for the semester.
  • Allow for the intern's creative participation in a hands-on learning environment where the student regularly interacts with staff and/or clients.
  • Provide on-site space to complete their intern duties--employers may NOT require the student to provide her or his own computer or software, or to complete assignments remotely from their home, personal studio or SVA facilities.
  • Provide any appropriate or necessary training outlining duties, policies and safety protocols.
  • Be prepared to provide proof of current Workers' Compensation insurance if your company employers fewer than 5 staff (excluding interns).
  • Complete mid-term and final evaluations of the intern's performance to help keep them on track in meeting learning goals and provide feedback on the intern's performance.
  • Maintain open communication with SVA Career Development, especially if any questions, concerns or problems arise with the intern.
Important Dates and Deadlines

Internships must be completed in the same academic semester in which the student seeks to receive academic credit. The internship may not begin before the start of the semester and must end before or on the last day of the semester. See SVA's Academic Calendar here

Selecting and Finalizing Your Intern

After you have selected an intern, the student will complete the online application form. Once approved by Career Development, you will be prompted to review and approve the application, verifying all information is correct. Next, the student will register for the course and may then begin interning with your company.

Students may NOT begin an internship until their application is approved and  they have officially registered for the internship for credit course. The application process generally takes 2-3 days (although can take longer if there is a problem with the student's account), and the student will notify you once they are registered and able to begin.

Intern Hours

To earn academic credit, SVA students must complete a total of 150 hours within the semester. Students should not be asked to complete more hours than those specified on the Internship Application Form or to stay beyond the SVA academic semester.  Internship hosts who want a student to continue with their company after the internship ends are encouraged to consider offering a paid opportunity.  Note that international students participating in internships are not legally eligible to intern beyond the dates specified on their online application, Letter of Hire and I-20.

Compensation and Department of Labor Standards

The Career Development office strongly encourages internship hosts to pay an hourly wage, or if this is not possible, to offer a stipend or scholarship for travel and meals.  To be considered a paid internship, the compensation must be equal to or greater than the New York City minimum wage: $15/hr for companies with 11 or more employees; and $13.50/hr for companies with 10 or fewer employees.  If the stipend or scholarship does not meet this minimum requirement, the internship is considered unpaid. For more information on NYS minimum wage, please visit 

Unpaid internships should offer a daily stipend to cover travel and meal expenses.  To offer an unpaid internship, you must review and abide by the New York State Department of Labor Internship Standards and the US Department of Labor Internship Standards before hiring an intern from SVA.  A major point in these laws is that the primary purpose of the internship is for the student to gain practical learning experience and not for the employer to benefit from the student's labor.  The SVA Internship Application Form requires that you certify having reviewed these documents.

Information on these laws is available for download by visiting these sites:
Internship Programs Under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act
New York State Department of Labor: Wage Requirements for Interns in For-Profit Businesses
New York State Department of Labor: Wage Requirements for Interns in Not-for-Profit Businesses

Workers' Compensation Laws

All internship hosts in New York State are required by law to provide Workers Compensation insurance for all interns, unpaid and paid.  It is not necessary to add individual intern names to the policy.  

For full details, please visit this site:
New York State Workers’ Compensation Coverage

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587