Teaching is a core value at SWA. Each year, we sponsor a student internship program examining real-world issues and honing skills in the next generation of practitioners.

Summer Student Programs

For the past 50 years, SWA’s Summer Student Program has gathered emerging designers from a wide range of backgrounds to explore critical questions influencing the design industry at large—many of whom have become leaders within the firm and discipline.

Each year, we invite full-time, upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, and architecture to apply. Applicants must be returning to their academic program in the following school year, meaning recent graduates are ineligible. Program locations and subject matter vary by year, but include a stipend and housing for the full duration of eight weeks. The program is an in-person commitment including site visits, lectures, discussions, and critiques.

Houston is So Hot Right Now
Summer 2024

Selected applicants will receive a stipend and housing
for the eight week duration of the summer student program.

Applications open until March 1, 2024

Taking on Extreme Heat in Downtown Houston

2023 was the hottest year in recorded history. In Sunbelt cities, the effect was visceral and deadly, disproportionately impacting communities reliant on public transportation, parks, and housing for cooling. Houston experienced 45 days of triple-digit heat last year—the same year the city also saw major public space projects. In a world transformed by extreme heat, our public realm and buildings must adapt, and today’s designers and planners must rework the toolkit that created our overheated cities for a more just and livable world.

SWA’s 2024 Summer Student Program will invite a select group of students to take on heat in Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S. and one of the most diverse. Students from across the country will work alongside professional designers and community stakeholders to develop an actionable plan for Downtown Houston that weaves together open space improvements, climate adaptation strategies, and social infrastructure.

Selected applicants will receive a stipend and housing for the eight week duration of the summer student program.

Click here to apply.

Important dates
Submission deadline: March 1, 2024
Notification: March 11–15, 2024
Internship: June 3–July 26, 2024

Selected applicants will receive a stipend and housing for the eight week duration of the summer student program.

Submission requirements
1 minute introductory video
Letter of interest
Contact information for 2–3 references
Portfolio (max. 10 pages)

Electronic submissions only

Port of LA
Summer 2023

Reimagining the Future of North America’s Largest Container Port

In 2023, the students worked with North America’s largest port—the Port of Los Angeles—to reimagine an eight-mile stretch of the San Pedro Waterfront. As an extension of the San Pedro Waterfront Connectivity Plan, the program explored a variety of transportation methods and mobility solutions to get to the LA Waterfront and navigate among its areas and attractions. These recommendations include new and improved pedestrian and vehicular routes, transit, crosswalks, wayfinding signage, and open space, as well as active programming.

Learn more
Read the web story.
Read about the project in Urbanize LA.

California Burning
Summer 2022

Designing at the Epicenter of the Wildfire Crisis

As we confront a new era of megafires, designers and planners are instrumental in protecting disaster-weary communities. In 2022, the students investigated California’s escalating wildfire crisis and explored the new disciplinary approaches—both technical and ideological—that are necessary to address this challenge.

Learn more
Download the book.
Read the web story.

Urban Resilience
Summer 2021

Visions for Shanghai’s Fuxing Island

In 2021, the students focused on Shanghai’s Fuxing Island: a forgotten territory once used as a ship-building center, port, and warehouse district. The group explored possibilities for reimagining the island’s potential as a transit-oriented urban center: examining its strategic location on Huangpu River, surrounding land uses, and specific placemaking ideas to enhance the island’s character beyond utility.

Learn more
Download the book.

Prior Years