Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program

Mentor and students interacting at a UPOP event


Have a question? We have answers!

Get your questions about UPOP answered here.


What is the benefit of joining UPOP?

A kick-start to your career! UPOP will help you hone the skills you need to be successful during your search for a summer position, your interview process, and while you’re working in your chosen field. This includes helping you:

  • Develop an extraordinary resume and cover letter
  • Find job postings and employers specifically interested in UPOP sophomores
  • Successfully interview with potential employers
  • Develop relationships with mentors who can provide guidance and perspective based on their own experience (whether at MIT or on the job)
  • Build a professional network
  • Effectively communicate with supervisors and peers
  • Stand out in your summer experience, whether it’s an internship, research project, or public service experience!
What is the difference between UPOP and UROP?

Great question! While we share similar names, UPOP and UROP are two separate and distinct programs. UROP is a program for MIT students to collaborate with faculty on research projects. Meanwhile, UPOP is a yearlong program specifically for sophomores focused on helping you practice and develop the skills you need to be successful in acquiring a summer experience—which could include a UROP!

How do I apply?
  • Our application is open to first-year and rising sophomore students from April to September.
    Apply Here
  • Applications require answering questions about yourself and submission of your resume (no need to be polished) and headshot.
How much of a time commitment is UPOP?

The UPOP year consists of the course orientation, seven Milestone workshops across the fall and spring semesters, and one multi-day TTW over IAP or Presidents’ Day weekend. Overall, the time commitment for UPOP is about 1–2 hours per month.

Do I have to attend Team Training Workshop (TTW)?

Yes! We require all students to attend one of the three TTW sessions offered. Most participants agree it is the most effective and memorable experience in the program. View our TTW video, which will help you understand the amazing experience in store for UPOP students.

What if I am interested in research or academia?

UPOP helps you develop the professional skills necessary to thrive in any career path you choose, whether it’s industry, research, or academia.

Do I have to be in an engineering course?

Nope! All sophomores from all courses can join UPOP and have a meaningful experience. No matter what path you choose, you will need communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Even though the program is housed under MIT’s School of Engineering, UPOP is here to help all sophomores develop in these career-critical areas.

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

Absolutely! UPOP is here to help beyond your summer internship or other professional experience. We teach the skills you will need to not only land an internship but also thrive in it and be successful in your career after MIT. Plus, if you complete UPOP, you will have access to our resources for life!

Where can I find out more?



Who are UPOP mentors?

Most (but not all) UPOP mentors are MIT alums representing majors across the Institute. All mentors have career experience and can offer students valuable perspectives from their professional lives, whether it pertains to specific fields of work, examples of successes and failures, or how to succeed when facing specific challenges.

What do UPOP mentors do?

There are two options to become a UPOP mentor:

  • Join the UPOP Mentor Network. Throughout the UPOP year, students will have exclusive access to the UPOP Mentor Network, and in the fall and spring semesters will be required to reach out to a mentor to set up a meeting based on their unique needs or interests. The goal is for students to understand the value mentorship can offer throughout their careers and to become more comfortable making professional connections. As a mentor, you can help put the importance of UPOP learning concepts into context and provide a perspective on life after MIT. You may be asked for help with a resume, do a mock interview, or provide advice on working in a specific sector or company—interactions are based on students’ unique needs.
  • Additionally, you can volunteer to mentor at Team Training Workshop (TTW) at one or more of three sessions offered over IAP and Presidents’ Day weekend. TTW is a multi-day course that takes place on the MIT campus and is UPOP’s signature event. TTW mentors are there to guide teams of students as they progress through eight learning modules focusing on teamwork, problem-solving, and communication, and a team project. They also help them prepare for networking sessions with prospective employers.
What is the benefit of being a UPOP mentor?

Mentoring UPOP students is an invaluable experience, and many of our mentors return year after year. Mentors support the professional development of MIT sophomores, and volunteering with UPOP provides a meaningful way to give back to MIT. Our students and mentors often form meaningful relationships that can last well beyond the UPOP year. Mentoring with UPOP also allows you to meet and collaborate with other experienced mentors from a wide range of industries, form friendships, and continue to build your professional community.

How much of a time commitment is involved in mentoring?

Joining the UPOP Mentor Network allows for a flexible experience, as mentors can choose how many students with which they have the capacity to meet each semester. TTW mentors make a larger commitment by attending at least one 3 or 3.5-day session on the MIT campus, plus the option of in-person or virtual training before each session.

Are there any requirements, such as age or experience?

The mentor network members are mostly (but not all!) alums of MIT and UPOP who have experience in industry. There are no age or experience requirements, and they come from a variety of industries. You just need to bring your valuable life and professional experience to the table to pass along to students.

Do I have to be an MIT alum?

Nope! We have many wonderful mentors who did not attend MIT.

Where can I find out more?

Employers & Sponsors

How can employers get involved with the UPOP program?

Employers can join the UPOP Employer Network and can also sponsor the program for a more in-depth experience.

What are the benefits to being a UPOP Employer Network member?

Joining the UPOP Employer Network is free and includes the following benefits:

  • Internship postings or other opportunities advertised to hundreds of current UPOP sophomores.
  • Invitations for company representatives to attend UPOP events with students, including employer panels at Milestone workshops, the Resume Review workshop, and the annual Employer Networking & Career Events (limit two reps for the in-person event).
  • Advertising of companies’ general campus or virtual events to UPOP sophomores through its weekly student email.
  • Listing as a network member on the UPOP website.
How can my organization become a UPOP Employer Network member?
Are there other ways to connect with UPOP sophomores?

Besides joining the employer network, organizations have the opportunity to become a UPOP sponsor, which confers a variety of student engagement benefits ranging from preferred/high visibility placement at UPOP’s annual employer networking event, to hosting exclusive events that provide the opportunity to pitch your company to UPOP students. Download UPOP’s Corporate Sponsorship PDF for more information on sponsorship tiers and benefits.

Why hire a UPOP sophomore?

UPOP sophomores are uniquely prepared for academia, industry, or research opportunities. They have received one year of training in communication, team development, problem-solving, negotiation, project management, and presentation skills with the support of experienced industry professionals and the UPOP staff. You’ll hire someone with superior professional skills layered on top of their superior MIT technical education.