Have the Experience You Want.

Pursue Your PhD While Working.

WPI is well-positioned to bring together industry partners, faculty experts, and talented PhD candidates in a new model for an experiential doctoral program. From identifying emerging trends in the industry to supplying supportive frameworks for the duration of a project, WPI can facilitate the professional growth of the next generation of industry innovators and leaders, enable important research projects that move the industry forward into emerging areas, and foster mutually beneficial relationships that maximize return on investment.

WPI is well-known for its flexible and nimble approach to working with organizations around the world to solve complex global problems. With more than 50 years of experience doing so, WPI is a trusted partner with a proven ability––over and over, again––to work with industry partners to address real-world issues, craft sustainable and viable solutions, and prepare a highly capable future workforce.

The Experiential PhD Program at WPI

WPI brings together industry partners, faculty experts, and talented PhD candidates for an experiential doctoral program. Learn more about how WPI works to facilitate the professional growth of the next generation of industry innovators and leaders in the video with Alex Wyglinski.


Industry Partners

PhD Students

Faculty Advisors
Support professional growth of next generation of industry innovators and leaders via use-inspired research as well as obtain new knowledge in both current and emerging areas. Conduct doctorate-level use-inspired research on real-world, challenging, technical problems to provide practical solutions while gaining industry skills and practice.  Actively collaborate with industry on real-world problems, mentor the next generation of industry innovators and leaders, and advance the state-of-the-art in one or more disciplines. 


What Graduates Are Saying

Travis Collins, '16, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Working in the industry during my studies provided me with perspective on my classes and helped me build bridges with employers. These jobs helped me mold my class load and research to get me to the career I wanted once I completed school.
  • Travis Collins, '16, PhD, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Senior Software Engineering Manager, Analog Devices
Bengi Aygun Green, '16
The deep technical knowledge and thorough research discipline I gained at WPI empowers me to succeed in my work at companies in the forefront of my research field.
  • Bengi Aygun Green, '16
  • OTA Software Updates Engineer & C-V2X Engineer, Ford-Werke GmbH
Victor K. Champagne, Jr., '18 PhD, Manufacturing Engineering, PhD, FASM International
The most outstanding attribute of the WPI educational experience was the direct connection to the real world. I was able to solve a scientific problem that was later transitioned and for me that was extremely rewarding.
  • Victor K. Champagne, Jr., '18 PhD, Manufacturing Engineering, PhD, FASM International
  • Team Lead, U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory

Highlighted Programs

Below is a list of programs organizations and individuals have found particularly interesting. Browse each page to learn more and find one that fits you!

Learn how WPI can enhance workforce development and help you attract the best and brightest future employees.

Contact the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Alex Wyglinski, for more info and to discuss how WPI can set up an experiential PhD collaboration that benefits your organization.

Preview WPI's Alex Wyglinski affixes an antenna on the roof of a car.
In the News: Worcester Business Journal

You Don't Need to Quit Your Job to Earn a PhD

Alex Wyglinski, assistant dean of Graduate & Professional Studies at WPI, recently penned an op-ed on earning your PhD while working. In his article, he discusses how PhD programs have evolved and cites WPI's Experiential PhD as a supportive program for industry professionals.

Meet Our Faculty

Patricia Musacchio
Patricia Musacchio
Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

The Musacchio research group is interested in utilizing radical intermediates to find common ground between organic chemistry and chemical biology. Specifically, we are interested in developing radical-mediated methodologies for complex molecule synthesis, identifying new bioconjugation strategies, and establishing radical-mediate biocatalysis systems.

read more
Shamsnaz Bhada
Shamsnaz Bhada

As a systems engineer I view optimizing engineering endeavors as going beyond algorithmic optimization to include a humanitarian mission, using systems engineering tools, patterns, techniques, methods, themes, and philosophies to do policy modeling, all with the common goal of mission success. While engineering tools have brought about much excellence and productivity, we haven't always applied these powerful tools to goals such as human diversity in engineering, or looking at the full human as a participant in the human workforce.

read more
Eric Young
Eric Young
Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering

My research is in the broad, interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology, which applies engineering principles to biology. Within this field, we apply chemical engineering tenets to reprogram the DNA of yeasts, bacteria, and fungi so their metabolism produces interesting molecules. By treating these cells as "chemical factories," we can approach and solve problems in biofuels, biomaterials, and biosensors from a chemical engineer's point of view.

read more
Danielle Cote, PhD
This program creates a win-win scenario – our experiential PhD students gain access to WPI’s first-class education while sharing their real world knowledge with our traditional PhD students.
  • Danielle Cote, PhD
  • Assistant Professor in Materials Science & Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to be on campus full-time to do my PhD dissertation research?

PhD students can perform research either on campus or remotely at your place of employment.

What happens if the equipment I need for my PhD dissertation research is only available at my place of employment?

Experimental PhD can help setup an environment where you can leverage equipment and infrastructure at your employer’s location to help conduct your research.

Can my day job and my PhD dissertation research overlap substantially?

Yes, Experiential PhD can help setup an environment where both your work activities and PhD activities can overlap.

What sort of work activities at my place of employment be suitable for PhD dissertation research?

An ideal scenario is pre-competitive research at your place of employment, where you are exploring a topic that has not be extensively studied nor developed. However, with discussions between your employer and your WPI faculty advisor there are multiple opportunities to craft a PhD dissertation topic based on your work activities.


How is intellectual property handled as part of Experiential PhD?

WPI’s Experiential PhD employs a location-based approach for intellectual property ownership depending on where the research is conducted (at WPI or the employer’s location). However, there is flexibility to develop an intellectual property ownership model that meets everyone’s requirements and needs.

Will I need to pay for my tuition? Are there any other costs?

As part of the Experiential PhD framework, the employer will cover the cost of tuition as well as the support of the faculty advisor and the department to make sure the student has the necessary resources to successfully pursue their PhD degree.

How is the PhD dissertation topic selected?

The student, faculty advisor, and a mentor from the employer will work together throughout the PhD degree regarding the formulation and evolution of the PhD dissertation topic. The PhD dissertation research that will be conducted will be of mutual interest to the student, the employer, and the WPI faculty advisor.

Is the PhD degree within a specific discipline and supported by the Experiential PhD framework of the same quality and rigor as one pursued full-time on campus in a research lab?

Absolutely! There is no difference in quality and rigor between PhD degrees obtained with support of an Experiential PhD framework and one obtained full-time on campus.

Am I allowed to publish my PhD dissertation research in peer-reviewed conferences and journals?

Yes, there are no restrictions on publication.

Who is responsible for determining the quality and rigor of my PhD dissertation research?

The WPI faculty advisor is responsible for determining quality of PhD research and its suitability of becoming a dissertation.