Field Work Term
Hone your ideas in the classroom, and test them through hands-on work in the world—every year.
Students In Action
See the breadth and depth of the Field Work Term experience.
Recent alum Paul Norton '23 interning at Bronze Craft Foundry. After graduation, Paul plans to be an artist. "This experience has been, and will continue to be, an intimate look into the workings of an artist's life and career. I can think of little more ideal than that, hence my desire to return to it."
Grace Muller '25 spent her winter field work term @dosaflyingfish. Christina Kim, founder/director of Dosa works with textile and fiber artisans from all over the world. Through this field work experience, Grace is hoping to exercise organizational judgment through the archiving of Dosa's prolific body of work, dating back to the late 80's, and intends to improve her sewing and darning technique while working on fiber projects.
Learning at Work—All Year, Every Year
At Bennington, we understand that deep learning requires a sustained mix of classroom time and real-world experiences that build on each other over four years. 100% of our students complete an internship or field experience for six weeks every year through our nearly 100-year-old field work term. Two thirds of our students also work year-round in our nationally-recognized student employment programs, offering additional opportunities for mentorship, evaluation and skill development in campus and community settings. On average, students graduate with eight professional work experiences—offering clarity and confidence to succeed in the world of work. 93% of our graduates are employed or in graduate school six months after graduation, and 76% of our students land a first job closely aligned with their academic study.
In each of their four FWTs, students bring their studies to the world of work, implementing knowledge, confronting challenges firsthand and refining their questions to further shape their studies when back on campus.
According to a national survey of 50,000 employers, the single most important credential for a college graduate entering the workforce is internship experience. Take it from employers, Bennington interns have what it takes.
Bennington students learn from the annual experience of Field Work Term how to live engaged, satisfied lives. 77% of our recent graduates report engagement with their first job, nearly double the national average.
CHOOSING A FIELD WORK EXPERIENCE
With support from the Office of Career Development and Field Work Term and academic advisors, students choose from a broad array of work-learning experiences to fulfill their annual field work experience requirement. FWT options include:
- internships during either the summer or winter period
- fellowships in specific content areas with a cohort of other students
- eligible campus work
- volunteer/community engagement activity
- study away programs
- independent study/advanced research
- professional certification or apprenticeships
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Field Work Term program has been reimagined to allow for greater flexibility in timeframe and an expansion of virtual options: check out Field Work Term & COVID-19 for details.
All field work experiences are listed on Handshake, the College’s career and experiential opportunities database, which offers access to thousands of learning opportunities across the country and the globe. Students are not required to find an opportunity through Handshake; many find field work on their own, adding to our ever-growing employer pool.
GETTING IT DONE
Every student is required to complete 200 hours of qualifying field work every year, which translates into 6 weeks of full-time work. While the majority of students complete field work over the College’s signature winter term, the field work experience requirement can also be met by alternate timing, including:
- Approved campus work or volunteer community engagement activity at six hours per week for the full academic year
- Qualifying study away or fellowship opportunities during the fall or spring terms
- Specialized summer internships including Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs)
Students receive a Pass / Marginal Pass / Fail assessment based on completion of required job search assignments, field work hours, and reflective work; adherence to the student agreement regarding on-the-job expectations; and supervisor feedback via exit evaluations
FINANCING FIELD WORK
Tuition is not charged for field work experiences. However, students are responsible for meeting their own expenses and can draw on the following resources to do so:
- Faculty-sponsored research and campus work opportunities
- College funded fellowships in the arts and social change
- External grant funding for specific fellowships and apprenticeships
- Paid internships; need-eligible students electing to pursue unpaid internships may be eligible for a College stipend of $500 to offset travel costs
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