Field Work Term Requirements

  • Graduation Requirements
  • Field Work Term Requirements 
  • Primary Positions
  • Supplemental Positions
  • Special Student Circumstances
  • Field Work Term and Academic Withdrawal, Dismissal, and Suspension
  • First-Year International Student Visa Considerations
  • Graduation Considerations for Seniors

Graduation Requirements

Students are required to successfully complete one Field Work Term (FWT) for every two terms of full-time, undergraduate study at Bennington. (Part-time undergraduate students are required to complete one FWT for every 32 credits earned.)

For example, a student who completes eight terms of full-time undergraduate study is required to complete four FWTs. A student who transfers into Bennington and completes fewer than eight terms would have an adjusted number of required FWTs, outlined in their credit letter from the Admissions Office.

Field Work Term Requirements

Students complete a minimum of 200 hours of work for FWT. Hours are broken down into primary and supplemental. A primary site is considered one that is approved by the FWT Office, and is connected to advancing the learning goals of a student’s Plan. A supplemental site does not need to be registered with the FWT Office, nor connected to a student’s plan, nor approved by the College. It does require proof of hours. Students are required to work a minimum of 140 hours at one primary site. However, many students choose to complete all 200 required hours at a primary site. If students decide to complete 140 hours at one primary site, students can work an additional 60 hours at one supplemental site as an option for securing paid employment at a site that isn't connected to your coursework and Plan goals at Bennington.

Students may submit up to 30 hours of excused time due to illness or inclement weather, and these count toward the 200 total. These hours must be signed off by a site supervisor on a student’s timesheet. 

Primary Positions

Primary site positions are professional experiences connected to a student’s educational/career inquiries. Primary sites require a student to be working or volunteering for an organization or for an individual. The position must have a supervisor who is experienced and knowledgeable in their field, who is available for regular and structured supervision throughout FWT, who verifies and signs weekly timesheets, and who can complete the online employer evaluation (in English) by the stated due date. A supervisor may not be an immediate family member. It would be a conflict of interest for an immediate family member to complete an employer evaluation as these evaluations help determine an FWT assessment and become part of a student’s permanent academic record. When working for an individual (e.g., a sole proprietorship)—such as an independent artist, performer, photographer, etc.—the position is required to help the supervisor with professional work as opposed to personal needs such as babysitting, housekeeping, etc. Please use this Google form to submit your timesheets.

Primary positions may be paid or unpaid and/or offer other forms of remuneration, such as transportation or room/board. International students on F1 Visas are ineligible to work for any kind of compensation, including educational credit, in the first nine months of study in the United States. See FWT for International Students for more information. Organizations may consider the student an employee, a volunteer, or an intern.

Primary Site Special Consideration

The circumstances below require special consideration by the FWT Associate Director:

  • Jobs with weak learning objectives or objectives unrelated to a student’s educational or career interests.
  • Working the same job as a previous year.
  • Working for a supervisor with less than five years of experience in their field, including recent Bennington alumni.

Supplemental Positions

If the full number of FWT required hours will not be earned in primary positions, up to 60 hours may be earned in any job with a supervisor. Students may complete only one supplemental position per FWT.

Supplemental opportunities offer students the chance to make money over FWT at a side job not connected to their Plans, take additional special coursework, and/or work hours to fill a gap left by a primary position. Supplemental jobs do not need to be registered, but students must submit proof of hours either by submitting a supervisor signed timesheet or copies of pay stubs. Noncredit coursework requires a course description and a signed timesheet or an instructor letter confirming time and attendance. Credit-bearing courses require a course description, proof of grade, and credit earned. Please note that while proof of credit earned for credit-bearing courses is required as proof of completing supplemental hours, this credit cannot be counted as Bennington eligible coursework credit. Use this Google form to submit your timesheets.

Supplemental hours may include:

  • An unrelated job for pay.
  • Credit-bearing courses.

Special Student Circumstances

In certain situations, a student’s FWT requirements may be modified due to special circumstances. Students should speak with the Career Development & Field Work Term Office if any of the below conditions apply to them, to discuss a potential adjustment of their FWT requirements.

A student taking a leave of absence – A student’s Field Work Term requirements will be reevaluated upon reentry.

A student participating in study abroad/study away – Programs with an experiential learning component typically satisfy the student’s FWT requirement for the year.

A student successfully petitions to graduate early – Academic Services will review the student’s FWT requirements on a case-by-case basis.

A senior facing a limited timeframe in which to complete their final FWT  – In rare circumstances, a student’s final FWT could potentially be waived due to a change in circumstances outside of their control when no other feasible options exist. Contact the Career Development & Field Work Term Office for a meeting to review your individual situation.

Part-time Students – Part-time students who work full time may have the FWT requirement modified and should speak with the FWT director about their situation.

Students Who Are Parents – Parents of young children, who notify the FWT director of their parental status by the registration deadline, are only required to fulfill the 140 hours of the primary job and will not be asked to provide supplemental hours.

Field Work Term and Academic Withdrawal, Dismissal, and Suspension

Students who withdraw from the College during the fall term are not required to complete FWT. Students who withdraw, are dismissed, or are suspended from the College in the fall term or during the Field Work Term will not receive FWT credit for any work begun or completed during FWT for that academic year. All registered supervisors will be notified that the withdrawn/dismissed/suspended student will not be receiving FWT credit for the term and that any continued working relationship between the former/suspended student and the site is independent of any relationship with the College. Students must inform the FWT director if they plan to appeal their dismissal and intend to continue their FWT work in the event an appeal is granted. Students appealing their dismissal should continue working at the FWT site in order to ensure completion of hours and unaffected grading.

Withdrawn, dismissed, and suspended students wishing to re-apply to Bennington at a later date to complete their degrees will need to meet with the FWT office to discuss FWT requirements after being readmitted.

First-Year International Student Visa Considerations

Because international students have F-1 visa restrictions preventing work in the U.S. until after nine months of study, first-year students are encouraged to complete their site-based FWT in the summer or pursue other options.  

International students who complete their first FWT in the summer and who are planning to work in the U.S. must meet with FWT staff to discuss securing an FWT that is directly connected to their academic work in order for it to be in compliance with CPT requirements. Similarly, students need to meet with Bennington’s designated school official (DSO) in Academic Services promptly as possible to secure necessary paperwork in time for the start of the FWT summer period.

Graduation Considerations for Seniors

Seniors who choose to complete their final FWT in the summer will receive their diploma the following December once they have completed their final FWT requirement. If no other coursework is needed to graduate, these students will have “in absentia” status in the fall term between their summer FWT make-up and their official December graduation date. In this case, students may petition to walk in the June graduation ceremony prior to completing the final FWT requirement. Students should speak with Academic Services for more information regarding this situation as there are fees associated with this option.