Industrial Internships

The underlying philosophy of the MPI Internship Program is to provide an educational experience which is meaningful to the student, is contextual, and one which instills excellence. The Internship Program bridges the gap between classroom learning and industrial experience. Unlike co-op programs, the internship program ensures that the industrial internship project is tied in with the academic plan of the student. The MPI Internship provides a holistic and contextual educational experience - a new paradigm in graduate education.

The internship concept is applicable to both undergraduates and graduate students. These are described below:

Graduate Internships in Metal Processing

The program allows students to earn the M.S. degree in materials science and engineering through a combination of practical internship experiences and classroom activities. This approach has proven to be a win-win opportunity for students as well as employers in a host of businesses, agencies and industries, large and small.

MPI staff coordinates the program, identifying the needs of employers and furnishing them with resumes for talented young men and women. After the initial contact, discussions are held directly between students and employers. The internship has no geographical restrictions and scheduling can be flexible. Specific work-study schedules are decided between the student and the sponsor.

Benefits to the Student

The internship program offers a unique experience in graduate education. From the student's viewpoint, it provides a valuable clinical experience as part of the educational process. Specific benefits are listed below:

Benefits to the Sponsor

Sponsors ranging from industrial firms or government agencies to research organizations can profit from the MPI Internship Program. Benefits include:


Recognizing that these graduate students have already completed their first professional degree at the bachelor's level, interns are normally paid at a rate equivalent to entry-level engineer wages. Pay rates are established by the individual employer. Interns may work as full-time or part-time temporary employees of the sponsor, or they may actually be employed by WPI or third party contractors on a cost reimbursable basis.

More specific guidelines on rates of pay can be furnished to sponsors on request.

Establishment of an employer-intern relationship is usually straightforward; students are responsible for their own housing and subsistence.

In cases where work locations are some distance from campus, it may be mutually agreed between students and sponsors that some relocation costs to and from the work assignment will also be reimbursed. This is negotiated directly between the individual sponsor and the student.


The MPI Internship Program serves as an effective vehicle for developing meaningful relationships among WPI faculty members, students and employers.

WPI coordinates the process of bringing students and employers together. While placement is not guaranteed, every effort is made by the Institute to find appropriate work assignments for each qualified student. Final matching and selection are accomplished by direct interview between the sponsor and the student.

With mutual agreement between the faculty advisor and the sponsor, work during the employment assignment can be directed toward completion of the student's thesis or graduate project. If desired, a representative of the sponsor organization can serve on the student's thesis committee along with two WPI faculty members.

A key to success centers on regular communication and evaluation among the students, the sponsors and the faculty. Sponsors are asked to evaluate students' performance on forms provided by the Institute. Students also evaluate the internship experience during and after specific work assignments.

Undergraduate Internships in Metal Processing

This program is designed for undergraduate students who, during their senior year, must complete a major project in their discipline to quality for graduation. At WPI, we call this project the Major Qualifying Project, or MQP. Traditionally, two-to-four students work with a supervising professor on their MQP for about one-third of their senior year. In the past several years, many of these projects have resulted in some significant developments. The MQP project empowers a team of young and innovative people to address a specific problem. Oftentimes, they propose and design innovative solutions. This is an untapped resource for the MPI member companies. Projects identified by our corporate members are advertised to the senior class and, subsequently, seniors select their projects. The students do not receive a salary for this work; however, there may be some peripheral expenses such as supplies or travel costs.

Participating Corporations

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Last modified: November 02, 2011 15:34:42