Co-op: College of Liberal Arts

Meaningful Work Experience, Before You Graduate

In the College of Liberal Arts, co-ops, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities like work-abroad or paid research are among the most valuable experiences you will have at RIT. They help you learn responsibility, work ethic, and accountability, as well as afford the opportunity to apply and grow your skills in a potential career field or while experiencing a new culture.

While not every program requires co-op in its curriculum, each student in the College of Liberal Arts is strongly encouraged to participate in some form of experiential learning during their time at RIT. And regardless of whether or not co-op is required in your program, you should report any experiential learning opportunities you complete to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education for inclusion on your RIT transcript.


RIT Ranking for Co-op or Internship Programs

U.S. News & World Report, 2024

U.S. News & World Report, 2023

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RIT Ranking for Undergraduate Research

U.S. News & World Report, 2021

U.S. News & World Report, 2021

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Recent Examples of Co-ops and Internships

College of Liberal Arts students have completed co-ops, internships and paid research experiences at amazing places all over the world. And these companies seek out our students for their knowledge, know-how, and innovative spirit.

Here are just a few of the places where you might find yourself doing a co-op or internship:

Causewave Community Partners           Genesee Country Village & Museum
Rochester Museum and Science Center         Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
New York State Assembly      Office of Senator Kristen Gillibrand
NYSERDA      United States Department of Justice
Smithsonian Institution      Eastman Kodak Company
United States Consulate- Genoa, Italy           Spectrum
Sutherland Global Services      Federal Bureau of Investigation
First American Title Insurance Company           Johns Hopkins University
Monroe County Crime Lab      Gannett
The Hill      National Geographic


Learn more about RIT's Outstanding Co-op Employers  

Finding a Co-op or Internship

While finding a co-op or internship can feel intimidating, we're here to help! 

Finding these opportunities takes time, preparation, and teamwork. It’s important to connect with your Academic Advisor regarding degree requirements and The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education to explore options. Some co-ops also require approval from the head of your department.

At any given time, there are 100-200 co-op and internship jobs for College of Liberal Arts students posted on Career Connect. In addition, The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education actively maintains and develops partnerships with employer partners to recruit students. Currently, RIT has hundreds of partnerships with the following industries:

  • 65+ in Public Relations/Marketing
  • 240+ in Journalism
  • 700+ in K-12 Education
  • 240+ in Legal & Law Enforcement Agencies
  • 460+ in Government
  • 800+ in Non-Profits
  • 150+ in Performing Arts

Get started on Career Connect today and stand out from the crowd, tomorrow.

Funding and Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts has multiple scholarships and support funds available to students who wish to complete a professionally-beneficial co-op or internship that is unpaid or requires relocation to a high cost-of-living area. Funds are also available to support student research and travel to professional conferences. Learn more about each scholarship or fund below.

The College of Liberal Arts Student Research Fund supports research by students enrolled in CLA degree programs. Projects may include, but are not limited to, Master’s theses, senior projects, senior theses, or independent studies conducted in any CLA department. Funded projects must have a faculty sponsor who is a member of the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts. If the faculty sponsor is not from the College of Liberal Arts, the student’s department chair must approve the faculty sponsor participation.

Students may use these grants ($500 maximum) to cover the expense of, for example, materials, software, postage, copying, and research travel. Grant money may not be used for tuition, secretarial assistance, entertainment, or for compensating each and every participant in a study. When the project is completed, applicants must submit a copy of the research to the Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.*

How to Apply for a Small Grant for Independent Student Research

First, talk it over with a sponsor
You must discuss your research idea with a faculty member who agrees to serve as sponsor. Working closely with your sponsor, determine:

  • the problem to be explored
  • the objectives of the project
  • the activities to be undertaken
  • a budget

Then, write the proposal
Your proposal should be brief—no more than 1000 words, or four double-spaced pages—yet informatively specific and rigorously organized. The proposal must include five sections: Problem, Objectives, Activities, Budget, and Contact Information. You must also include an approval form signed by your faculty sponsor and your department chair.

  1. Problem: Describe the problem you wish to explore, or the question to which you seek an answer.
  2. Objectives: Describe the anticipated outcomes of your project (“To learn …” “To discover…” “To create …”). If appropriate, describe the social and/or scholarly benefits of the project.
  3. Procedures: Describe what you will do to complete the project. Be sure to aim this description toward generally educated readers who will not be familiar with your professional jargon. At the same time you should thoroughly describe your methods so it is clear how you will be able to answer the problem described in Section 1. Include a timeline with estimated date of completion.
  4. Budget: Itemize the costs of completing your project. All items requested in the budget should be accounted for in your Procedures. Please remember that grants are limited to $500.
  1. Contact Information: Please include your e-mail address.


Every proposal must be signed by the applicant, the faculty sponsor, and the Chair of the sponsor’s department. Submit your application electronically to Assistant Dean John Smithgall.

Deadlines for Submission of Proposals

There will be two deadlines for submitting applications for awards during each academic year. For projects submitted on September 18 and to be completed during the academic year (October 1-June 30) all funds must be expended by June 30. Proposals submitted on February 15, for projects to be completed from March 1 to June 30, all funds must be expended by June 30.

Application Due Date     Decision Due Date   Project Timing   Timeframe for Expending Funds   Student Report w/ Detail of Expenditures Due   Receipts Due to Dean's Office
Sept. 18 Sept. 30

Oct. 1 - June 30 of same AY

Current Fiscal Year Sept. 1 of year award is received June 30 of AY award is received
Feb. 15 Feb. 25 Mar. 1 - June 30 Current Fiscal Year Sept. 1 of year award is received June 30 of AY award is received

The funds cannot be applied retroactively, so students are encouraged to plan ahead with their faculty sponsor.

*All applications are to be submitted electronically to Assistant Dean John Smithgall  at

Due to university restrictions on non-essential travel as a result of COVID-19, applications for the Student Travel Fund are not being accepted for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. Please contact Assistant Dean John Smithgall with questions.

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Student Travel Fund has two main purposes:

  1. To support student travel to present original research/papers at conferences, up to a maximum of $500
  2. To encourage study or research abroad, up to a maximum of $750

Application Process (Conference Presentation)
Submit an application which details travel to present a paper at a professional conference. The proposal must include:

  • The titled of the conference, dates, and location
  • A detailed budget; eligible expenses include conference registration, transportation, accommodations and meals. (If presenting with other students, shared accommodations will be preferred, when possible.)
  • Written evidence that the paper was accepted for presentation
  • Approval form signed by your sponsoring faculty or your advisor and home department chair

Please note, these funds cannot be applied retroactively, so please plan ahead with your faculty sponsor.

Application Process (Study Abroad/International Research)
Submit an application which details the following:

  • A brief description of no more than 300 words regarding the travel, its purpose and its value to your educational or professional enrichment
  • The duration of time to be spent abroad
  • A budget itemizing expenses
  • Proof of acceptance into a study abroad programor approval of the research project if working with outside sponsors at the time of this application. Note the degree of your language preparation, if applicable.
  • Approval of your advisor and department chair


Application Due Date Decision Due Date Eligible Date for Travel Timeframe for Expending Funds Student Report w/ Detail of Expenditures Due Receipts Due to Dean's Office
September 10th September 20th October 1st - June 30th of same AY Current Fiscal Year September 1st of year award is received June 30th of the year award is received
November 1st November 20th December 1st - June 30th of same AY Current Fiscal Year September 1st of year award is received June 30th of the year award is received
February 12th February 27th March 1st - June 30th of same AY Current Fiscal Year September 1st of year award is received June 30th of the year award is received

**All applications are to be submitted electronically to Assistant Dean John Smithgall at

The Clark Internship Support Fund supports internships and co-ops for students enrolled in the degree programs of the College of Liberal Arts. It is intended to provide partial financial assistance to students who wish to accept professionally valuable internships and co-ops that do not include sufficient levels of financial support. Awards shall be based on academic merit or financial need, at the discretion of the award committee, and though the award is available to both men and women, preference shall be given to women enrolled in the programs of the College.

The College of Liberal Arts reviews applications for Clark internship assistance each fall and spring. (See application dates below.) Applicants must be Liberal Arts degree program students who plan to go on a co-op or internship during the upcoming fall, spring, or summer semesters.

How to apply 
Complete an application form and send it along with verification of co-op/internship offer to Assistant Dean John Smithgall (
Deadlines: November 8th (for spring co-ops/internships) and March 27th (for summer or fall co-ops/internships)

Things to note if you receive an award
If you are selected to received Clark Internship Support Funds, you will be required to write a "thank-you" note to donors who made this award possible. Details on donor names and titles will be provided by the Office of Student Services, which will also handle postage and mailing of the notes.

You will also be required to write a brief summary (2-3 pages) of your experiences. This paper is due within three weeks of the start of the semester following completion of your internship.

The Alumni & Friends Endowed Scholarship supports students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities in the College or RIT, are enrolled full time in a Liberal Arts undergraduate degree program, and are in good academic standing. Eligible students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in their degree program. The scholarship rewards students who have exercised leadership in improving the life of the RIT community.

The deadline for applications is the first Friday in April.

The Alumni & Friends Endowed Scholarship is administered by a committee appointed by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Applications must include the following:

  • A letter of support from the Chair of the student's program attesting to his or her good academic standing.
  • Either a letter from a faculty member who can speak to the student's performance in a particular course or a letter from a member of the RIT community who has observed the student's work in a leadership capacity.
  • A short essay of 250-500 words. In this essay the student should describe a specific event or activity in which she or he took a leadership role, explain that role, and discuss the benefit to the College or RIT community.

Examples of leadership include but are not limited to: serving as an officer in an active club or student organization, organizing an important event, or making a significant contribution to the College or RIT community independently of any particular club or organization.

Completed student applications and letters of support (chair and faculty or RIT community member) should be submitted directly to: John Smithgall Assistant Dean, Director of Student Services (

Reporting Your Co-op or Internship

You got the job, now get the credit! (And help future Tigers, while you're at it...)

Reporting your co-op or internship to the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education is an important step to take ideally before you start your co-op, but can be done at any point during or after you complete your work. Even if co-op is not required for your program, you should still report it to take advantage of a variety of benefits.

There are four key benefits to reporting a co-op:

  1. Your RIT transcript will show every co-op you report (forever). It doesn’t show any of the co-ops that aren't reported. 
  2. If you report your co-op before starting it, you'll have support from RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education. This means you'll have someone to talk to if you have questions about the job and your employer is made aware of RIT’s expectations for co-op.
  3. Future students in your degree program will be made aware of great co-op employers and experiences, thanks to the feedback shared in the co-op evaluation form. This helps connect other RIT students with valuable co-op experiences.
  4. You will also receive valuable feedback from your supervisor. This is helpful in identifying any strengths and areas for improvement, and can make you a stronger candidate for future positions.

Report your co-op or internship