Experiential Learning

Overview

In the College of Art and Design, there are countless opportunities to extend your educational experience outside classrooms and studios.

Through cooperative education and internships, international experiences, multidisciplinary projects, industry partnerships and more, we support your individual growth as an artist. By going beyond the classroom, we afford opportunities to apply your skills and knowledge to real-world problems, in real-world settings — all the while preparing you for life after RIT.

Cooperative Education

Today’s top employers are looking for ambitious graduates who have professional work experience in addition to a quality academic background. RIT’s cooperative education (co-op) and internship programs allow you to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Co-op is not required for students in the College of Art and Design, but it’s an option that many take advantage of to gain meaningful work experience and earn a salary to help offset college expenses. Our students have completed co-ops at companies such as Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Dolby, DreamWorks Animation, Google and many more. Learn more by visiting RIT's Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education.

Learn more about co-op experiences in the College of Art and Design


How to get involved

Make an appointment to discuss co-op and internship opportunities by calling 585-475-2301 or find your assigned career services coordinator or career counselor and contact them.


Creative Industry Day

RIT's Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education also sponsors the annual Creative Industry Day — a professional networking event that allows students to meet with companies like Adobe, Blue Sky Studios and Google. The event has directly led to job and co-op opportunities

Study Abroad

Photo Students in Ireland

There’s no better way to gain an understanding of another culture than to experience it firsthand. To prepare you for success in a global society, RIT offers a range of exciting study abroad opportunities. You can immerse yourself in another culture and find inspiration in a new environment through study abroad programs led by College of Art and Design faculty, at RIT’s exchange universities in Dessau, Germany, or Kanazawa, Japan, or with one of RIT’s affiliate partners in countries known for their art, design and architecture. Locations for affiliate programs include Australia, Denmark, England, Germany, Italy and more. You may also choose to study at one of RIT’s global campuses in Croatia, Dubai or Kosovo.


Programs

Past College of Art and Design student study abroad experiences include:

  • Working at an international animation festival in Kosovo
  • Gaining inspiration at Art Biennale in Venice, Italy
  • Examining the evolution of typography in Northern Italy
  • Photographing the landscape, architecture and people of Cuba
  • Creating an interactive art installation in Paris

Finding a Program

RIT has more than 600 study abroad programs in 60 countries for as short as one week and as long as a full year. Programs offer a variety of locations, course offerings and costs. Planning early, discussing plans with your academic advisor and working with a study abroad advisor to find a good program fit will set you on the path to have a memorable experience while staying on track to graduate. Start exploring programs in the study abroad Compass.

More about study abroad for College of Art and Design students

Study Abroad Experiences

Two students at Dubai Maker Faire

Research

Frank Barletta '19 (Industrial Design) and Hannah Giancola '19 (Industrial Design) presented projects that address hygiene issues in rural Uganda at the 2019 Maker Faire Dubai as part of an RIT Global International Research program.

"We can't emphasize enough how much this opportunity has influenced our worldly views on design and culture. We hope that more experiences like this present themselves for future students."

Learn More about the RIT student showcase innovation make faire in Dubai

Students with a turtle on the Galapagos Islands

Faculty-led Program

Diana Spencer '22 (Photojournalism) spent a semester on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands through the Galapagos: Evolution and Ecology faculty-led program. Students learn about the volcanic origin of the islands and the unique animals and plants that inhabit it. 

“Before my study abroad experience, I had never been on a plane, nevertheless out of the country,” Spencer said. “It was a completely eye-opening experience for me. I suddenly realized how small the world could be, how accessible world travel was. In addition, I saw for the first time how others lived and what nature looks like when left untouched by humans. The Galapagos in particular is a place unlike any other in the world, where nature exists quite literally at your fingertips. I highly recommend traveling to the Galapagos, but more generally travelling with RIT Study Abroad. The department takes good care of their students and walks them through their journeys step-by-step, from the application process to discussions and workshops once they return.”

Real-world Experiences

There are countless examples of our students engaging in future-focused opportunities that enhance their coursework and facilitate career success. The RIT resources that contribute to an unparalleled education include high-value networking opportunities, multidisciplinary projects, access to over 300 clubs and organizations and much more.

Yasmeen Smalley-Norman diving underwater

Fulbrights

The College of Art and Design has had eight Fulbright U.S. Student Program award recipients, allowing each to study, research or teach abroad. One was Yasmeen Smalley-Norman, selected to take underwater photos of endangered coral species in support of coral reef research in the Philippines.

Students at a conference

Conferences

Led by our dedicated faculty, students in various programs travel to conferences and events — both in the country and abroad — for development opportunities. The Motion Picture Science program, for example, annually attends the National Association of Broadcasters Show.

Two glass artists work together in the hot shop.

Visiting Artists

Hosting esteemed artists — both on campus and virtually — from around the world is one of the many ways the College of Art and Design contributes to students' artistic development. First-rate practitioners are frequently invited to deliver demos, public lectures, group discussions and critiques. Photo by Erin Percy.

A student talks to a pair of trade show visitors at a booth.

Design Week

Students in our Interior Design and Industrial Design programs regularly showcase their innovative work during New York City Design Week. Whether it's a "MObile KItchen" design or output from the Metaproject course, students are able to engage with a global audience at the annual event. Photo by Elizabeth Lamark.

A group of people pose for a photo in front of a Simpsons mural.

Studio Visits

Students in our School of Film and Animation make an annual networking trip to Los Angeles to visit world-class studios such as 20th Century Studios, Disney, Method Studios and more. It exposes students to professionals working in the industry, including alumni like Mike Battle (pictured far left), a color modelist for "The Simpsons."

A group of people stand on the grounds of the White House.

Taste of Industry

Our School of Photographic Arts and Sciences' annual networking trips to New York City and Washington, D.C. are defined by visits with the most well-known news organizations, agencies, artists, photo studios and alumni. Past experiences have included meetups with professionals at Aperture Books, CNN, Getty Images, The New York Times, the White House Photo Office and more.

A student takes notes while talking to someone.

Social Good

The EUREKA! design workshop is an annual event where RIT students initiate social change by employing their skills to address challenges faced by a community organization. Past partners for the interdisciplinary project — started by Graphic DesignProfessor Lorrie Frear — are the Maplewood Family YMCA, Rochester Refugee Resettlement Services and Veterans Outreach Center.

A photographer takes a photo of a subject.

Community Storytelling

Our School of Photographic Arts and Sciences partnered with Special Olympics New York to chronicle its annual Winter Games, held in Rochester from 2018-20. Each of the three years, students in our photography programs — along with journalism and museum studies students — filled a website with compelling images, videos and copy that told the stories of hundreds of participating athletes. Photo by Ben Braun.

A display of ceramics work sits in RIT City Art Space.

Galleries

Through the College of Art and Design's gallery spaces, students have the chance to display their coursework in exhibitions and develop ways to share, promote, and curate their output. There are also student employment opportunities that instill art gallery management and curation skills. Photo by Elizabeth Lamark.

Industry Partnerships

A group of Industrial Design students

A number of collaborative opportunities directly connect students with industry partners for authentic professional experiences. From robust lecture series that attract world-class practitioners to campus to course partnerships with eminent companies, our students develop meaningful relationships with those driving industry forward.

Learn more

Entrepreneurship

Students work together in the studio

RIT students exemplify their strengths of creating and innovating at the intersection of art, design, and technology through interdisciplinary collaborations to solve real-world problems. Several examples of RIT programs that bring together multidisciplinary teams of students with client organizations are IdeaLab, Studio 930, and the Effective Access Technology Conference. These initiatives often lead to the creation of prototypes for client organizations or the launch of startup companies. Students from various disciplines including design, engineering, business, and computing collaborate to find technological solutions to problems facing Rochester-area organizations and companies. These student teams use design thinking methodology and a human-centered approach to innovation that considers user needs, technological possibilities and business requirements.

IdeaLab

IdeaLab is a bi-annual event that brings together faculty coaches and students to work collaboratively over the course of a weekend on a client organization’s real-world challenges. Clients include Rochester Regional Health patients and health care personnel, the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, and the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI). After the weekend concludes, many students continue to work on the projects and receive course credit and funding from RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Studio 930

Studio 930 is a multidisciplinary studio experience focusing on the design and production of healthcare technology products. Studio 930 was founded in 2015 by Stan Rickel, associate professor of industrial design and graduate director of the MS degree program in integrative design. The Simone Center, together with the College of Art and Design, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, College of Engineering Technology and Saunders College of Business, gives students the opportunity to work together on projects.