If you are a high school student looking to explore careers in architecture - an internship is valuable for you! Here, we have created a list of 8 architecture internships for high school students. Some of these internships follow more traditional paths, while others include camps and summer academies.
However, each of these programs allows you to explore future paths in architecture, be mentored by professionals at the top of their industries, and be guided through college applications to architecture schools.
Why do an Architecture Internship?
Architectural internships have multiple benefits. However, exploring various career paths is the most significant advantage of pursuing an internship. Architecture includes numerous sub-fields, including civil engineering, mechanical engineering, environmental studies, and urban planning (just to name a few). Doing an internship will help you narrow down your future path and can impact what you choose to study in university!
Moreover, each program allows you to interact with industry professionals at the top of your field. The networking opportunities from an internship are useful for letters of recommendation, and future job prospects as well.
Lastly, your involvement in architectural internships shows college admission officers your passion and drive for the subject. Additionally, it shows how you can apply theoretical concepts to real-life projects (especially for programs that allow you to pursue your own projects), which is another valuable addition for your college applications!
The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC)’s Teen Fellows program provides opportunities for the youth of Chicago to build foundational architecture skills. The program is conducted over 3-semesters and gives rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors a chance to explore architecture and design careers, earn college credit and work alongside industry professionals.
In the program, you can expect to:
Develop design projects focused on local challenges and begin building personal portfolios.
Develop digital designs using software such as Sketch-up, AutoCAD, and more.
Work with physical models using various materials.
Have the opportunity to participate in a paid summer internship at a local architecture or design firm.
Note. This is not an exhaustive list, and you can find the complete list here!
While the CAC’s Teen Fellows is not a traditional internship, it gives you an opportunity to address real-life challenges and build your architecture portfolio. Moreover, it will connect you to a local architecture firm for an internship!
Cost: No cost; stipend provided (when participating in a paid summer internship)
Application Deadline: March (dates are not specified)
Program Dates: Summer 2023 - Spring 2024 (3 semesters)
Selection Rate: Selective
Be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior enrolled in Chicago high schools.
2. Ladder Internships - Design Track
Ladder Internship is a selective program for high school students to work with startups.
Ladder Startups work in fields of design, sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism, and more. You can explore all the options here on their application form.
As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project and present their work at the end of their internship. In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding students through the internship and helping them navigate the startup environment.
Note that as a Ladder Intern, you will engage in a coaching+work-based model - a component that sets it apart from most internships in this list. The virtual internship is usually 8 weeks long.
Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)
Location: Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.
Application Deadline: April 16 and May 14
Program Dates: 8 weeks, June to August
Selection Rate: Selective
Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates, and gap year students!
The Boston Private Industry Council has partnered with the Boston Society for Architecture in order to provide high-school internships with architectural firms in Greater Boston. The purpose of this association is to allow high school students to explore and consider careers in design.
In this program, you will work alongside top architecture firms and gain opportunities to work on real-life projects. For instance, interns expand their design capabilities by experimenting with physical models and the use of new programs and technologies. Moreover, the BSA coordinates site visits where interns learn how residents interact with the built environment.
The culmination of the 6-week program is a presentation by the interns on their final projects! Each intern presents to an audience of BSA workers, their architect mentors, and other BSA interns.
Cost: No cost
Application Deadline: Rolling admissions
Program Dates: 6 weeks during Summer Months
High school students enrolled in Boston public high schools
Organized by the National Organization of Minority Architects, this program offers you a learning experience of architecture within the broader lens of community and social justice. Project Pipeline aims to foster the next generation of architecture by connecting high school students to design professionals, civic leaders, and change makers.
In the program, you will be guided into learning about the intersection of architecture and urban planning with culture, society, and history through exercises, research, and interviews.
Moreover, NOMA also offers you real-world experiences that allow you to address a specific issue within the city. For example, the 2019 SoCal NOMA Project Pipeline had students make designs for Destination Crenshaw, an open-air museum dedicated to African Americans that was being constructed at the time.
Cost: Varies based on location (limited scholarships available).
Location: Occurs in 24 different areas (Summer 2023).
Application Deadline: Varies depending on location.
Program Dates: Sometime between July - August
Students of color from grades 8-12.
STEMcx is partnering with Bmore NOMA to provide architecture internships alongside reputable architectural firms. This internship was intended to encourage students to consider pursuing careers in STEM disciplines and give them positive experiences for their future careers.
As an intern, your experience will include shadowing an architect, designing exercises, participating in one-on-one discussions with team members, and construction tours. Moreover, you will get to contribute to community engagement with the Neighbourhood Design Center (NDC), and your final project will be completed in conjunction with your architectural firm and NDC.
Cost: No cost. Stipend provided
Application Deadline: Rolling Admissions
Program Dates: 8 weeks in the summer, 4 hours/day engagement.
High school students residing in the Baltimore region.
Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous designs, hosts summer residencies for high school students. The program features hands-on drawing and design projects inspired by Fallingwater, career exploration sessions, and in-depth discussions about the applications of Wright’s principles of organic architecture. The second session is entirely focused on the prep of architecture portfolios.
The Fallingwater High School Residencies are not a traditional internship experience; however, they will give you the opportunity to be guided on studio explorations, examine an esteemed architect’s ideas and give you resources to help in the college admission process.
This program is highly prestigious due to its association with Frank Lloyd Wright and its highly selective admission processes. Therefore, admission into this program will add significant value to your college application!
Note: If you are unable to attend in person, Fallingwater offers online programs for all students.
Cost: $1,200 (Limited need-based scholarships available)
Location: Falling Water, Pennsylvania
Application Deadline: April 30th, 2023
Session 1: June 26th, 2023 - June 30th, 2023
Session 2: July 10th 2023 - July 14th, 2023
Session 3: July 31st, 2023 - August 4, 2023
Open to all high school students.
The embARC design academy by UC Berkeley is perfect for students interested in architecture, urban design, and sustainable city planning.
The program is split into 5 sections:
An architecture + urban design studio
A sustainable city planning workshop
A digital design workshop
An environmental design conversation series
A materials exploration workshop.
Through this program, students will be guided to develop their portfolios in any area of environmental design (e.g., architecture, city planning, and landscape architecture). While not a traditional internship, embARC offers plenty of real-life applications with ample studio time, field trips, and a mandatory project that allows all students to develop designs for a local non-profit organization. An added benefit is the credit received on an official UC Berkeley transcript upon completing the course requirements!
Cost: $4,885 for tuition (need-based financial aid available)
Location: U.C Berkeley Campus
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): May 1st, 2023
Program Dates (Summer 2023): July 3rd, 2023 - July 28th, 2023.
Selection Rate: Selective
Rising juniors and seniors.
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required.
SEED is an annual, 6-week paid internship program structured around introducing high school students to the world of design. The program allows students to dive deep into collaborative project work, office culture, and design fundamentals.
As a participant in the SEED internship, you can expect to work on your own group project, spend time with Sasaki professionals in design charrettes, and experiment with hand sketching and computer drawing skills. If you do not reside in Boston or cannot commute for the internship, SEED has started offering their online program in 2020, titled SEED Online!
Note. SEED is done in collaboration with the Boston Private Council and the Boston Society for Architects. However, the programs themself are different.
Cost: No cost; stipend provided
Application Deadline (Summer 2023): Not specified; however, expect it to be a month before the program date.
Program Dates (Summer 2023): Six-week internships during summer months.
Open to all high school students.
The Met offers paid internships for sophomores or juniors who reside in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. The program allows students to connect one-on-one or in small cohorts with Museum professionals in a number of varied fields.
Each internship involved 40 hours of department-specific work, and the placement will be based on personal interest, availability, and the department’s internship project. Previous fields have involved museum conservation, marketing, editorial, and more.
You can participate alongside the Design department, which will give you the opportunity to work directly with exhibitions and galleries! You can gain experience working alongside esteemed designers and at prestigious events. However, the application process is highly selective and involves rounds of interviews.
Cost: No cost; stipend provided (stipend is commensurate with New York State minimum wage law)
Location: The Met
Application Deadline: March end
Program Dates: June end to mid-August
Selection Rate: Selective
Eligibility: Sophomores or Juniors who live or attend school in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.
This is not an exhaustive list of architectural programs; other prestigious programs include Cornell University’s Introduction to Architecture Summer Program and Columbia University’s Summer Immersion Program. While not internships, these programs will give you a foundational base by teaching different architectural concepts. Moreover, Lumiere has another post with another comprehensive list of architecture programs for high school students. You can click here to view it!
Bonus - Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are interested in doing university-level research in architecture or art, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.
Image Source: Chicago Architecture Center via Architect Magazine