FAQs for Students

MIT’s Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP) is a co-curricular yearlong professional development program for MIT sophomores of all majors.

How do I apply? 

Applications are now closed for the Class of 2019; applications for MIT's Class of 2020 sophomores will open mid-summer 2017. Our application takes just a few minutes. It includes a few demographic and reflective questions, and requires you to upload a résumé and photo. Don’t worry about having a perfect résumé—we will help with that! The UPOP application deadline is in late September each year. Each year, almost half the sophomore class applies. Your chances of being accepted into the program are improved by a thoughtful application completed early! Return to top

How much time does it take? 

UPOP is a yearlong program that starts in the fall of your sophomore year and ends in the fall of your junior year. UPOP requires only a few hours TOTAL each semester. There are dozens of opportunities to participate in activities throughout the year with flexible hours for those who are involved in athletics and student groups. You choose what works best for your schedule and your interests. The one firm requirement is that you must attend a Team Training Workshop, a one-week course during January’s IAP taught by MIT faculty and coached by MIT alums. The course trains you in the skills essential to success in the workplace—focusing on the themes of communication, problem-solving, and team development. The week runs M-F, 9 am–5 pm, and we offer it twice each IAP. Return to top

What if I want to do other things over IAP? 

We find that students get the most out of UPOP if they participate in our full, weeklong IAP workshop (and it ends with an not-to-be-missed "mini Career Fair" just for UPOP students with 100+ employers). However, we understand that there are a lot of other great programs that sophomores can participate in during IAP. For students who participate in select programs over IAP, we offer an alternative, 3-day, condensed course in the spring. Students who would like to explore this option should talk to UPOP staff. (When you apply, you can mention that you have a conflict over IAP.)  Return to top

Will you place me in an internship? 

No. UPOP is not a placement service; we do much more than that! UPOP has thousands of employer connections, which will make your search much easier. Additionally, our curriculum gives you the essential tools to search for, and acquire, an internship on your own—with as much coaching as you need. These skills will help you find future employment and help you define your career path. Return to top

Who are the UPOP employers? 

UPOP has a roster 2,000+ employers from a wide range of industries who work with UPOP in different ways. We host exclusive events, post jobs just for UPOPers, and provide more visibility for your application with partner companies. We also host the Employer Networking Lunch at the end of each Team Training Workshop—a “career fair” just for UPOP students—which gives you a chance to network with 100+ employers looking to hire you!

UPOP sophomores have interned at companies such as: Accenture, Adobe, Air Liquide, Amazon, Apple, Akamai, Amazon, Aurora Flight Sciences, Autodesk, Bank of America, Bell Helicopter, Biogen-Idec, Blizzard, BMW, Boeing, Booze Allen Hamilton, Boston Scientific, Bose, BP, Cessna Aircraft, Chevron, Chrysler, Cisco, Conoco Philips, Corning, Cummins, Cypress Semi Conductor, Dassault Systèmes, Deutsche Bank, Direct TV, Dow Chemical, Draper, Dropbox, DuPont Pioneer, eBay, Estee Lauder, Etsy, ExxonMobil, Facebook, Ford, GM, GE, Gameloft, General Atomics, Genetech, Genzyme, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, Halliburton, IBM, IDEO, Intel, iRobot, JPL, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorganChase, Lincoln Labs, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos Labs, Mass Challenge, Mathworks, McKinsey, Medtronic, Merck, Merrill Lynch, MGH, Microsoft, MITRE, Morgan Stanley, NASA, the New York Times, the NIH, the NRC, the NSA, Nike, Nokia, Northrop Grumman, Novartis, Oracle, Orbital Sciences, P&G, Palantir, Panasonic, Pfizer, Pinterest, Pioneer Natural Resources, Pixar, Pratt & Whitney, P&G, Qualcomm, Raytheon, Sandia, Schlumberger, Shell, Sikorsky, SolidWorks, SpaceX, St. Gobain, State Farm, Stryker, Synaptics, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Terrafugia, Tesla Motors, Texas Instruments, Thomson Reuters, Tiffany & Company, Trip Advisor, Tumblr, UBS, US Army Corp of Engineers, US Senate, Vecna Technologies, Virgin Gallactic, VMWare, Vistaprint, Volpe National Transportation, Walt Disney Company, Washington Metro Transit Authority, Westinghouse, WL Gore, the World Bank, Xerox, Yahoo, as well as many early-stage startups, and more. Return to top

What if I want to do a UROP next summer? 

UPOP wants you to spend your summer doing something that will help advance your career goals, and allow you to apply UPOP skills. In addition to industry internships, this can include UROPs and other research opportunities, MISTI internships and research experiences, teaching and counseling jobs, public service and volunteer opportunities, and more. Return to top

I’m not in engineering. Will UPOP help me?

Absolutely! Even though UPOP is housed in the School of Engineering, we accept students from every major. The professional skills that UPOP teaches in job acquisition and in the themes of communication, problem-solving, and team development are valuable to career paths of all shapes and sizes. Additionally, the UPOP mentors who coach students during the Team Training Workshops come from a range of backgrounds and career paths. Return to top

I already have an internship. Can UPOP still help me?

If you have a great résumé, are comfortable interviewing, or already have an internship for sophomore summer, then you’ll be ready to take the next step in your professional skills development. The variety of opportunities in UPOP allows you to choose a path that is going to be most useful for you. And UPOP is about much more than just finding an internship—it’s also about being successful in that internship and includes an introduction into other areas of development including: communication, problem-solving, team development, organizational culture, and strategic networking. Even if you know you are going straight to a lab after graduation, you will still have to do presentations and make cogent arguments for your projects! The UPOP year gives you a great foundation for thriving in any work environment. And the connections you will make throughout your UPOP year with our mentor-instructors and industry partners will lay a solid foundation for your professional network. Return to top

What’s in it for me?

A kick-start to your career! UPOP will help you with the entire process of finding, acquiring, and thriving in an internship. This includes helping you develop an extraordinary résumé and cover letter; ace interviews; effectively communicate with employers; build a network; develop relationships with mentors from all sections of industry; find job postings and employers specifically interested in UPOP sophomores; exceed expectations; and stand out in your internship! Return to top

Whom do I talk to?

Contact our Student Program Coordinator, or drop by 1-123 to chat.