Professional Practice Experience

Junior Professional Practice Experience


The Professional Practice Experience (PROFPRAC 3900 or DEPARTMENT 3900) provides third-year students with a wide variety of professional practice activities so that they will be prepared for life after SAIC in a wide variety of professional contexts. The course emphasizes a hands-on, real-world curriculum. Students will engage in a semester-long, faculty-defined creative project (such as applying for an on-campus exhibition, submitting a proposal for an off-campus exhibition, hosting a community event, etc.), as well as an online project (such as an online portfolio, an artist website, or a class website organized around a particular event or theme). Additional course activities may include preparing a CV, networking with alumni and other key figures in their fields of interest, or giving an artist talk or scholarly presentation.

The Professional Practice Experience is usually a three-credit course, and as determined by each department, the course will function as either a seminar or a studio. Depending on course organization, each section will meet for either six hours weekly or for three hours weekly. The sections that meet for three hours weekly include the expectation that students are completing six hours of work outside class, which might include portfolio development, project development, proposal writing, networking in fields of artistic or scholarly interest. Some Professional Practice courses integrate studio projects while others focus exclusively on the stated professional practice learning goals. Courses listed as PROFPRAC 3900 are intended to be interdisciplinary and open to all third-year students who have completed Sophomore Seminar or Research Studio for Transfer Students. Discipline-specific courses with departmental prerequisites are listed with the departmental heading, DEPARTMENT 3900.

The Professional Practice Experience is the second course in the three-course sequence of Academic Spine courses (Sophomore Seminar, Professional Practice, and Capstone), which is required for all freshmen who began their undergraduate degrees at SAIC in Fall 2015 and after (transfer students must take Research Studio for Transfer Students, Professional Practice, and Capstone). Professional Practice Experience courses are offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters, to give students flexibility in incorporating this required course into their schedule. PROFPRAC 3900 should always be taken when they have between 60-90 credits completed (roughly third or Junior year for a full-time student). This course is a prerequisite for all Senior Capstone courses, to ensure the Spine courses are completed in sequential order.

Remote video URL

Course Description

In the Professional Practice Experience (PROFPRAC 3900 or DEPARTMENT 3900) you will engage in a wide variety of professional practice activities to help prepare you for life after SAIC. Course activities may include applying for an on-campus exhibition, submitting a proposal for an off-campus exhibition, hosting a community event, creating a website, preparing a CV, networking events with alumni, or writing a project statement. The course emphasizes hands-on, real-world professional activities and opportunities for emerging artists, designers, and scholars. You should plan to take Professional Practice Experience during your third year at SAIC.

Each section of Professional Practice is intended to be interdisciplinary in that students with various material interests could take any of the sections and be engaged by the class conversation and critique. Of course, at SAIC, instructors always teach to their strengths and interests, thus readings and writing assignments in a particular section may reflect a faculty member’s discipline or departmental affiliation. Many faculty title their Professional Practice Experience courses descriptively and creatively and provide a detailed course description to signal the particular course focus to potential students.

Students wishing to locate a faculty mentor within their particular area of study are advised to examine faculty bios and course descriptions in order to select a Professional Practice Experience course that meets their identified goals and aspirations. Academic advisors can also be helpful resources for helping connect students’ interests and goals with relevant faculty, in this area of the curriculum and all others as well.

Course Learning Goals

At the conclusion of the Professional Practice Experience course, students will be able to:

  1. Implement a well-planned creative project, applying professional skills relevant to their artistic, creative, and/or scholarly practice (Examples of evidence: Project proposal, including a budget; CV; grant application; exhibition proposal).
  2. Present a professional body of work in an online context, demonstrating a critical awareness of audience and selection of work (Examples of evidence: Website, online portfolio, blog, etc.).
  3. Create connections and linkages with relevant practitioners, organizations, and institutions in students’ field(s) of interest, with an attention to identifying key figures as well as situating their own work within these fields (Examples of evidence: alumni/artist interview; short summary of experience attending networking events such as a gallery opening, a panel/symposium, visiting an alum at a job site, etc.).
  4. Demonstrate the ability to think, speak, and write clearly and effectively with regard to the creative and/or scholarly practice. (Examples of evidence: Artist talk, blog, project statement, scholarly presentation, PechaKucha, etc.)

Sorry, your search produced no results. Please revise your search terms and try again.

Title Catalog Instructor Schedule

Contact Us

For all questions about the undergraduate Academic Spine curriculum, please email