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.
|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.|
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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
Meet our Faculty
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.