Overview of Graduate Internships at WPI

Graduate internship experiences may be completed by Masters and Doctoral students at WPI in order to enhance their professional development and career readiness. The graduate internship is a short term and temporary work assignment in residence at a company or other external organization that forms a complementary part of a student’s educational program. Graduate students must complete a registration form and gain proper approvals to participate in an internship. The internship experience will appear on the student’s transcript with a minimum of 0 credits and a maximum of 3 credits (as determined by the department/program).

Graduate Internship Policies - General

A full description of the policies governing graduate student internships can be found in the graduate catalogue, which is updated annually.

  • All students require the approval of their faculty advisor-of record to participate in an internship. Furthermore, the student and their faculty advisor-of-record will define concrete performance metrics and objectives to be achieved during the internship prior to the experience.
  • The graduate internship experience must align with the student’s plan of study and be related to the specific graduate degree program.
  • Because the purpose of an internship is to provide a student with a new experience, graduate students already employed full-time or part-time may not participate as interns at the same place of employment without program approval.
  • Since the internship must be performed at an external site, WPI would not be considered an acceptable sponsor for a graduate internship.
  • Typically, Teaching Assistants may not be on internship during the same time period during the academic year as when they are serving as a TA, but may pursue an internship over the summer or with departmental/program permission.
  • The graduate internship is not a requirement, but rather an option available to all graduate students enrolled in graduate programs that permit internships.
  • Students may pursue graduate internship experiences of up to 3 credits per degree (as determined by the department/program). For-credit internship experiences are only for matriculated students.
  • Graduate internships may not be applied to multiple degrees (i.e., BS/MS).
  • Enrollment in the graduate internship experience must adhere to established add/drop deadlines.

Graduate Internship Policies – Masters Students

  • For Masters Students: Students enrolled in a Master’s program may participate in the graduate internship experience after successfully completing their first 12 credits of graduate coursework at WPI, provided they are in good academic standing.
  • With approval of the program designee, Master’s students participating in a graduate internship should register for the graduate internship course designated 5900.

Graduate Internship Policies – PhD Students

  • For PhD Students: Students enrolled in a PhD program may participate in the graduate internship experience after successfully completing their first 12 credits of graduate coursework at WPI, provided they are in good academic standing.
  • With approval of the program designee, PhD students participating in a graduate internship should register for the graduate internship course designated 6900.

Graduate Internship Policies – International Graduate Students

  • Special Notes for International Students: An international graduate student on an F-1 visa must maintain full-time status for the duration of their graduate program.
  • International students with F-1 visa status may apply for two types of practical training:
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is used for graduate level internships while students are pursuing their degrees. CPT is authorized by the university and the requirement is that the internship is an integral part of an established curriculum. Internships should be for credit.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): OPT is typically used by students for one year of employment after completion of degree. It can also be used in part for summer jobs or part-time employment during the academic year if employment is in the student’s field of study. OPT requires approval by U.S. Customs and Immigration Services.

Graduate Internship Resources

Resources are available at the Career Development Center (CDC) for graduate students seeking graduate internship experiences during their studies at WPI. The CDC maintains an extensive database of companies and other external organizations interested in supporting graduate students in their professional development via internships. All WPI students have access to this database, as well as the ability to apply to posted opportunities. To find out more, please contact the CDC: call 508-831-5260, email cdc@wpi.edu, or visit us at the Project Center, Lower Level

Graduate Internship Registration Process

  • Discuss with your advisor and graduate program coordinator whether an internship experience is appropriate for the desired semester. Both will receive copies of the completed internship registration form.
  • Secure an internship.  It is your responsibility to find an internship, but there are many tools available to assist you and you should consult with the Career Development Center for guidance. Please be advised that if an internship employer requires you to complete a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), you should review the NDA with your advisor and graduate program coordinator to ensure that you will be able to complete the NDA and still be able to have your internship experience evaluated for a grade by your graduate program at WPI.
  • Complete the internship registration form prior to the start of the semester. Please note that you will need to have the internship offer letter from the employer available for submission along with this form. If you were not provided such a letter, request and obtain the letter prior to completing the internship registration form.
  • With the internship registration form you must also submit an unofficial transcript and a plan of study to your department's designated approver, along with the internship offer letter, unless otherwise directed by the department.
  • Graduate program approval is needed on the internship registration form. If the form has been submitted for graduate program approval and no response from the graduate program is received at the end of two weeks post submission of the form, please contact Deborah Baron (dabaron@wpi.edu) in the Office of Graduate Studies for further assistance.
  • Once the form is submitted and after departmental approval is secured, the Registrar’s Office will register you for the appropriate course (Master’s students: 5900; PhD students: 6900). You will receive an email confirmation from the Registrar’s Office once you are registered for the internship. Please note that you must be registered prior to starting the internship.
  • If you are an international graduate student, you must secure your I-20/DS-2019 with CPT work authorization/Academic Training from the International House prior to starting your internship. Please remember that working without authorization is a violation of your F-1 or J-1 student status and could lead to termination of your SEVIS record. Allow 3 business days for the processing of your I-20/DS-2019. The International House will email you when your immigration document is ready for pick up.

For any questions related to the process of registering for the graduate internships, please email the Office of Graduate Studies at graduatestudies@wpi.edu