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Study Abroad + Special Programs

Explore the real world of design through our unique travel, residency and internship opportunities.

Student drawing outside on a study abroad trip

Study Abroad Programs

Immerse yourself in new cultures and gain a global perspective on design through our study abroad programs. During the Summer sessions, during Spring Break, or during the Winter session, special study abroad options of varied length, scope, and focus are offered by the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. These programs give students the opportunity to travel and study design in various parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, and South America.

The annual Interdisciplinary Summer Education Abroad Program in Western Europe offers students an opportunity to explore design issues of the built environment across cultures and centuries. While traveling to multiple cities, students study regional and cultural influences on design, compare building materials and production, compare uses of public and private spaces, and experience cities as settings for social and civic life. This program is open to upper-level School of Design undergraduate and graduate students as well as other students interested in the design of built environments. The link to the 2024 program through the Global Education Office can be found here.

Portugal, Spain, France | Summer 2022

Information Session on Monday Nov 15, at 5:15pm in the Burchard Hall Kiva

Terry Clements

Martha Sullivan

The two-week Summer Interior Design Study Abroad program is based in Florence, Italy, with trips to other sites in the region. Students will learn about the architectural history of the area and will be engaged in sketching the places visited. This program is open to all majors in the School of Design.

Internship Programs

Gain real-world experience and earn academic credit through our internship programs. Students can work in professional practice settings, such as architecture firms, design studios, and landscape architecture firms. By participating in internships, students not only receive academic credit while employed as interns in professional practice but also develop a deeper understanding of their chosen field, preparing them for successful careers in design.

Industrial Design students are encouraged to participate in an internship(s) to enrich their learning experience and gain professional exposure. Students can apply for an internship at any time, but during the spring semester of the third year or fall semester of the fourth year, students may be able to work off campus without delaying their graduation. To receive course credit for an internship as a substitution for a design laboratory, students must secure a full time paid position for 15 weeks. Interested students must contact the Industrial Design Program Chair for application guidance and to ensure a valuable and relevant experience.

Interior Design students can undertake a field study internship, gaining hands-on experience and earning credit towards their degree. The program is available only to students who have completed their third-year design studies. Field Study is an earned opportunity for students who demonstrate professionalism across their major, requiring interior design faculty approval of their Field Study Application. The experience must be overseen by a licensed or certified interior designer or architect.

Landscape Architecture students can pursue internships in public, private, or non-profit landscape architecture firms for academic credit. These experiences are made possible through pre-arranged agreements between the student, faculty advisor, and the firm to earn academic credit. For more information, students should contact the Landscape Architecture Program Chair.

Additional Study Opportunities

The Landscape Architecture program at Virginia Tech has formal exchange agreements with international academic institutions. In the past, students have participated in residency programs through the University of British Columbia, The University of Montreal, The University of Halifax, the University of Queensland in Australia, Tongji University in Shanghai, China, and the University of Georgia’s summer study program in Cortona, Italy. While some of these programs are offered in English, others are taught in the host country’s language. The Industrial Design Program has a formal exchange agreement with TU Delft, third year students can spend their spring semester in the Netherlands at this renowned design engineering school.  Interested students should review the offerings at the other institutions and work with the program study abroad coordinator to discuss course substitutions and alternatives to meet their Course Checksheet requirements.

Students can study at other universities within the United States and Canada. It is possible to arrange a period of study at other universities that have accredited programs of Landscape Architecture. Interested students should review the offerings at the other institutions and work with the program study abroad coordinator to discuss course substitutions and alternatives to meet their Course Checksheet requirements.

Landscape Architecture students can also apply for studio coursework at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, which allows students to work in a multicultural environment and gain exposure to urban affairs and planning. Space is available on a competitive basis for the fall semester. Students are in close contact with landscape architecture and architecture students and faculty, as well as those of Urban Affairs and Planning.

Landscape Architecture students can pursue focused independent coursework at Virginia Tech that caters to specific interests. Students need to submit a proposal with the help of an academic advisor outlining their chosen courses and gain approval from the Landscape Architecture program’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. They can also opt for an additional semester of LAR 4084: Advanced Land Planning and Design to further develop their skills in landscape architecture and urban design.