Human Factors College of Design



Can we participate if we don’t have licensed architects on staff?

Yes, if you do not have licensed architects, your firm will need to collaborate with another firm and/or with one of our faculty who is licensed.

What if our firm suffers an unexpected economic downturn and can’t fulfill our commitment to hire students?

It is impossible for any of us to predict what will happen in the future. We ask for a good faith effort to fulfill your commitment and good communication so we can explore options with as much advance planning as possible. See Agreement for terms of withdrawal from the consortium.

Can we have interns working on billable projects?

Summer Internships are exactly the same as typical summer interns, so yes they certainly can work on billable projects. During the RP Internship, the Practice Internship is allowed to be billable hours but we ask that the first priority be given to research goals and the second priority to the student’s AXP plan. The Research Internship component, supervised by the faculty, cannot be billable. Final Project research work cannot be billable.

Consortium-wide goals present the potential for leveraging research over many firms and several years, but what about our firm’s specific research needs?

We expect that each Consortium Member will participate in at least one semester pursuing a consortium-wide goal and at least one semester pursuing a firm-specific goal over the course of the 3 year initial membership period. During three year period there will be regular assessment by program Director to determine the appropriate balance of shared vs. specific goals.

How do we pay for the consortium fee and internship?

This is a business decision for your firm. The most common strategies we have seen from other models is payment for costs from marketing or research budgets. The most promising strategy we have seen is to explain the investment in terms of effort saved on projects or future projects. In this case, some of the costs may be possible to assign to project overhead.

In the case of non-profits or public entities who are prevented by their structure to pay for these costs, we are interested to partner for applying to foundations, many of which will only give to these entities. Our initial priorities are to approach foundations with interest in low cost housing, sustainable design and community-based design.

Can we participate in the consortium without hiring students? Alternatively, can we hire more than one student at a time?

We believe the value is inherently tied to employing students in the Summer and RP Internships, so during the course of a three year membership, we expect at least three summer internship slots and three semesters of Practice Internship. Practice internships maybe distributed at the discretion of the Consortium member but are subject to student and faculty availability.

Some firms may wish for multiple interns to be employed concurrently and/or to have interns continuously throughout the calendar year. The School has some limitations in capacity, but generally expects we can fulfill demand for interns by firms. The standard consortium annual fee covers up to 2 interns per academic year. Additional interns may be possible with an additional fee and pending availability.

How do we get a student and faculty member that match our needs?

The matching process is a very important to successful outcomes. The School lists faculty expertise but cannot guarantee their availability will match firm needs. Depending on the expertise and the project, the timing of the work may need to be accelerated or delayed to match with faculty availability. The firm has the right to reject a student candidate for any reason and every effort will be made to make a positive match.

What if halfway through the internship, things aren’t working well? Or something changes in the project or personnel?

We make every effort to plan in advance and to effectively match students, faculty and firms to ensure success. If something goes wrong, regardless of fault or not, there will be mediation efforts with the program coordinators.

Why join now instead of waiting for the Consortium to mature?

It's true that the first set of Consortium members are asked to invest in shaping the endeavor and there will no doubt be unanticipated issues that arise. However the formative period of the Consortium is a unique time where seed resources are available from the University and there is significant interest among leading international experts to serve in consultative roles to shape agendas. These advisors will enter into dialogue with Consortium Members to provide feedback on research projects, challenge value propositions and connect you to new networks. Given the national attention that we have already gained, founding members of the Consortium are likely to have additional marketing leverage while discussion is active. Lastly, if the Consortium fulfills its own value proposition, the annual fees will greatly increase in the future as we prove its worth!


If I am a student in the Master of Science in Architecture, concentration in Research Practices (MS-RP), am I guaranteed a summer internship?

Unique to the MS-RP are several components that are dependent on economic conditions. We have every expectation that while you are enrolled in the program, summer internship and fall and spring Research Practice Internships as listed in your program plan, will include paid Practice Internships. On the rare occasion, when a paid position is not possible, alternatives for the Research Practice Internships will ensure that you can continue to make progress towards completing your degree.

Typical admissions cycle is complete by April 15, allowing time for optional summer internship before Fall course work begins.

For a high achieving student, how is the Research Practice Internship (RP Internship) different than a typical market defined internship in a firm? How is it different than a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant position at the U?

The RP Internship is a unique combination of a typical firm internship and a University Research Assistant position. The total financial payment to the student ($7300/semester) is the same as a Research or Teaching Assistant position at the School. In the RP Internship, funding source is split between a tuition reduction paid by the school ($4000) and salary paid by the firm ($3300 or more depending on your experience level). There are slight differences in the University Health Insurance terms (see student agreement). The AXP hours earned in an RP Internship is the same as the combined total of hours earned in practice (15 hours x 15 week/semester = 225 hrs/ semester in AXP experience-setting A) and earned in assistant position during the University payroll time period (10 hours x 19.5 weeks/semester = 195 hrs/semester in AXP experience-setting O).

The core advantages of a RP Internship over a typical internship and/or assistant position is the synergy between the two. Also the firms commit to helping meet your AXP plan goals as best they can within the research goals of the project.

Why should I sign over my intellectual property (IP) rights to the University? Does this mean I can’t claim the work?

Regardless of IP ownership, the work will be cited as your authorship, with appropriate citation to the Faculty Advisor and Practice Mentor who may have contributed greatly to defining the research questions. You can use the work in your resumé and in your portfolio, you can also write articles on the research but need to inform your Faculty Advisor.

IP for work done under the firm employment (summer internship, practice internship) resides with the firm. IP for work done in the academic setting (Research Internship, Plan C Final Projects) would normally be shared between the U and student.

When we were developing the consortium, internship and the MS-RP, we compared with models in the building industry or at the U. Since the expected IP in our case has little or no likelihood of commercial value or “capitalization” leading to patents, it greatly simplified the consortium arrangements to have a single point of IP ownership (the University of Minnesota) for work produced in the academic setting.


What is the difference between mentoring a RP Internship and supervising a typical Research Assistant?

In one way, they are similar. Your research expertise will guide and inform the work. The main difference is that you are advising only one component of the research, the complementary practice research must be integrated into the student’s priorities.

The timing of the research internship is the same as the typical payroll period, which begins before the semester starts and end after.



AXP Educator Coordinator for the School, helps students develop individual AXP plans

Consortium, refers to the group of firms

Consortium Member, refers to an individual firm in the consortium

Faculty Advisor works with student on Research Experience

AXP, Experience Development Program

Knowledge base, keyword searchable database of case studies, best practices and research information gathered by students in the Research Practices Architectural Experience Program and Research Practices Final Project

Master of Science in Architecture, concentration in Research Practices (MS-RP), a 30-credit advanced degree

Practice Architectural Experience Program (PE), 15 hours per week for 15-week semester

Practice Mentor (for PE), work with student on Practice Architectural Experience Proram, also serves as AXP Supervisor for student

Research Architectural Experience Program (RE), 10 hours per week over the 19.5 weeks University graduate student position, AXP experience setting

Research Practices Final Project, 9 credits (split 4 credits in Fall and 5 in Spring) research analysis and case study

Research Practices Architectural Experience Program, combined complementary experiences Research + Practices, AXP experience setting A or O

Research Practices Program, used to describe the synergy between consortium, faculty and students

Summer Architectural Experience Program, typical market defined summer experience working on billable projects for firm


Consortium for Research Practices
Rapson Hall - Room 145
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Main Reception Desk: 612-624-7866
fax: 612-624-5743