MCA internships provide valuable opportunities to learn how nonprofits operate in the company of like-minded young professionals. Many of our former interns go on to careers in museums and other cultural organizations. On occasion, they even join the MCA staff.
Interns at the MCA play an integral role in the growth and success of our programs. The MCA internship program welcomes undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students who are interested in gaining a breadth of professional experiences in a not-for-proﬁt museum.
All MCA departments offer opportunities for hands-on learning. Internships require a minimum commitment of 16 hours per week for three months. In addition to completing a speciﬁc target project and daily assignments, interns also participate in departmental meetings, special events, and various educational programs, as well as attend staff lectures.
There are three application deadlines per year. To increase diversity in professions related to museums and the arts, the MCA recruits and encourages inquiries from the broadest possible pool of applicants. The MCA guarantees equal consideration to persons of all backgrounds and identities.
Although the MCA does not offer paid internships, there are two available stipends: the Jimmy Jones Internship Stipend, offered during the summer term; and the Greg Cameron Internship Stipend, offered during the winter/spring term. (To apply, please see further details about these stipends below.) Students interested in cooperative education or academic credit should contact their college placement office or counselor for more information.
Benefits of being an MCA intern include: a membership card providing reduced or free admission to more than 3,000 member museums across the nation for one year; curator-led museum tours of current exhibitions; discounts at the MCA Box Office to talks and performances; discounts in the award-winning MCA Store; and opportunities to meet with museum professionals in nearly every department of the museum.
Applications are accepted three times a year for internships during the winter/spring, summer, and fall terms.
Deadline for winter/spring term (Jan–May)
Deadline for summer term (May–Aug)
Deadline for fall term (Sep–Dec)
Calls and emails are not accepted regarding the status of internship applications.
Required application materials
In addition to the application, you must include a cover letter, resume, and one letter of recommendation. Please submit your cover letter, your letters of recommendation, writing samples or work samples—if applicable—in one single document (.doc or .docx). Your resume should be uploaded separately. Letters of recommendation may be sent separately by email or mail, as long as they arrive by the appropriate deadline.
If applicable, include your school’s requirements for credit with your application.
Letters of recommendation may be sent via email [email protected] or by mail to:
Internship and Volunteer Coordinator
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Special requirements per department
Curatorial, Development and Membership, and Editorial positions require writing samples (1–2 pages in length) with applications.
The Graphic Design, Digital Media: Video, and Digital Media: Web positions require work samples. Please include work samples within your application. You can also include a link to your portfolio website or other online source. If you are applying for the Digital Media: Video position, please send links to your top three videos, or a five-minute reel.
International students studying in the United States with an F1 visa are eligible to apply. The F1 student must secure the appropriate authorization from the university they are attending, allowing them to participate in the internship. Such authorization is the responsibility of the prospective intern and must be secured before participating in the internship. The MCA does not consider applications from internship candidates with a J1 visa.
Application review may take six to eight weeks after the deadline. Candidates selected for interviews will be notified by email. Due to the high number of internships applications received, the MCA contacts only a small percentage of applicants. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered.
If you have any difficulty using our online system and you need an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at: [email protected].
Jimmy Jones Internship
The MCA's Jimmy Jones Internship stipend was established to honor the memory of Dr. James E. “Jimmy” Jones, a dedicated member of the MCA’s Board of Trustees from 1978–2006. During his extraordinary life, Dr. Jones was a leader in Chicago’s cultural community, a passionate collector of contemporary art, a Captain in the US Air Force, and an OB/GYN who in the late 1960s became the first African American clinical associate at the University of Chicago Hospital.
Jimmy Jones epitomized the true Renaissance spirit: a humanitarian and man of science, he was keenly interested in the work of contemporary artists and how their practice can be a reflection of and catalyst for social change.
The Jimmy Jones Internship is designed to encourage university students with diverse backgrounds and who require supplementary income to explore art museum careers. Students interested in a curatorial career will receive special consideration. A stipend of $2,500 is available each summer.
Greg Cameron Internship
The MCA's Greg Cameron Internship recognizes the dedication of Greg Cameron, a long-time member of the MCA staff whose leadership and passion set an example for the entire MCA family for nearly 20 years. Now a devoted supporter of the MCA, Cameron’s commitment to enriching the arts in Chicago continues to inspire. Each winter/spring since 2009, the Greg Cameron Intern receives a stipend of $2,500.
The MCA will consider all applicants who have been accepted to the program during the winter/spring term regardless of department. Qualified applicants will be asked to write an essay on a topic proposed by the selection committee. Qualified candidates will be notified of the details upon acceptance to the program.