Welcome: Taking Better Advantage of Four Years at WPI

Filed in Welcome by on November 2, 2016

The Career Development Center (CDC) has been intimately involved in WPI’s strategic plan since its establishment in late spring of 2015. One particular area of the plan focuses specifically on helping students take better advantage of their four years at WPI by making it easier for more students to take advantage of co-op opportunities or complete their bachelor’s and master’s (BS/MS) degrees in four years. The goal is to lower the cost of education by either allowing students to earn money to offset the cost of attendance through co-op experiences, or to complete an additional credential of a master’s degree. Implementation leads Maggie Becker, director of career services and professional practice, and Kris Wobbe, associate dean of undergraduate studies, have been working hard to make it easier for more students to take advantage of this option; their ultimate goal is to have 160 students enrolled in co-op and 50 students pursuing the BS/MS four-year option by the 2018–19 academic year.


Amanda Dionne, assistant director of Co-op & Career Services

The co-op program at WPI is an option for all students—but is not mandatory—and allows for more flexibility and enhances students’ project experience. Thanks to WPI’s project-based curriculum, students will be participating in both projects and co-op. The ideal time for a student to complete a co-op is in the second semester of their sophomore year or in their junior year around their Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP); the time frame for a co-op tends to include the summer plus one or two academic-year terms. WPI’s Co-op Program is significantly different from other universities’ programs due to its flexibility in length and location within the student’s academic career.

Amanda Dionne, assistant director of Co-op & Career Services, has been working closely with WPI’s Registrar, Academic Advising, Bursar, Student Aid & Financial Literacy, Residential Services, and International House offices, as well as Becker and Wobbe, to thoroughly analyze, streamline, and increase accessibility and awareness of the Co-op Program. Throughout the year, CDC staff members have planned info sessions as well as a Co-op Networking Night on November 16 to raise awareness of the program, discuss benefits, and encourage students to apply. If you’re interested in participating or learning more, email employer@wpi.edu or call 508-831-5260.

The four-year BS/MS option has an initial focus on exploring and promoting BS/MS combinations that add breadth and demonstrable career value to students. Areas currently being explored for the master’s option are Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Fire Protection Engineering, Management, Manufacturing Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering, and Systems Engineering. Because these programs (aside from Bioinformatics & Computational Biology) are not currently available at the graduate level, students will be able to gain two separate credentials.

For more information about WPI’s strategic plan, review WPI’s elevate impact website. For more information on our Co-op Program or to post co-op opportunities, e-mail employer@wpi.edu.

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