UO program fast tracks graduate students to careers in industrial research

The University of Oregon Graduate Internship Program is a 54-credit blend of real-world training and graduate level instruction that fast-tracks students into scientific careers. It is unique in the sense that it places students who are studying basic science (e.g., chemistry, physics) into positions that are typically reserved for engineering students. The program was developed in 1998 in collaboration with industry partners seeking qualified young professionals with the right mix of skills for the industrial research careers of tomorrow. The Graduate Internship Program has placed 98 percent of its students (400 in total) in internships and boasts a permanent job offer rate of 90%, which is significantly higher than the national average of 67.7% reported by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

“The Graduate Internship Program formula works,” said Chris Larson, senior director. “Our students have gone on to lead successful careers in industrial research, and many of them credit the skills and experience they gained in this program with helping them bridge the gap between graduate school and employment.”

Students in the program have interned for Intel, IBM, SolarWorld, the Los Alamos National Lab and other firms, and many have gone on to secure employment with the same organizations they interned for. Lucia Battaglia is one of many Graduate Internship Program success stories. She studied chemistry at the UO and completed a nine-month internship at Intel Corporation. Her training included accessing the high-capacity scientific instruments in the Center for Advance Materials Characterization in Oregon (CAMCOR), the UO’s high-tech extension service. She earned a master’s degree and currently works as a development engineer at Intel.
For students like Battaglia, the Graduate Internship Program begins with intensive summer course and lab work in one of four focus areas:

The course work and labs are designed to help students become more effective problem solvers in the industrial environment. Emphasis is also placed on developing soft skills, such as communication (oral and written), teamwork, problem solving and leadership – skills critical for a successful career in industry.

Students who successfully complete the summer course work are offered interviews for paid internships. Internship salaries typically range from $2,500-$5,400 per month.

Students graduate with Master of Science degrees in chemistry or applied physics. Those entering the program typically have bachelor degrees in one of the following areas: chemistry, biochemistry, physics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.

For more information on the Graduate Internship Program, including student success stories and application materials, go to the Master’s Industrial Internship Program website.