Experiential PhD

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.

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. 


Travis Collins

PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2016
“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.”

Ronish Shrestha

PhD Student in Chemical Engineering
“Interning at Saint-Gobain not only provided industry exposure, but also added unique perspectives for research. Focusing on the big takeaways, investigating market needs, and communicating effectively are essential skills for future projects.”

Victor K. Champagne, Jr.

PhD, FASM International
PhD in Manufacturing Engineering in 2018

“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.”

Di Pu

“The PhD program at WPI not only means cutting-edge research; it is also a place where I learnt to think, to collaborate, and to solve problems.”


Bengi Aygun Green

“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.”

Aaron Birt

PhD in Material Science and Engineering 2017
“The unique experience that WPI offers to join industry partners with graduate students in a PhD program provides a unique perspective that is rarely attained in graduate studies; students are given all of the tools and resources of the university to pursue science, while at the same time they remain grounded by the needs of industry to generate shorter term impacts with engineering solutions.”

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.

Supporting Professional Growth with Scholarship and Practical Impact

Through this industry-academic-doctoral research collaboration, WPI can create an experience that utilizes the high caliber scholarship of a PhD student to do applied/use-inspired research within an industry context.

There are several pathways offered at WPI that include discipline-specific programs and more interdisciplinary ones. Explore various working groups that showcase creativity in how WPI faculty and students work collaboratively:

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.

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
Morgan Dining Hall
  • Healthy Eating Choices: WPI’s state-of-the-art Pulse on Dining Marketplace offers healthy entrée choices, including vegetarian options, an allergy-specific food station, and the Eat Local program that supports local vendors and farmers.
  • Reducing Food Waste: Rotting food produces methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide, so it’s important to minimize the amount of food sent into the waste stream. Through the WPI Food Recovery Network, leftover food from the university’s main student dining facility is donated to Friendly House, a comprehensive social services hub that serves more than 25,000 city residents per year. Trimmings from food preparation and discarded food are also set aside for a local farmer to feed his pigs.
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