Internships, Careers, and Graduate School
Brown engineering graduates pursue many different careers. Approximately one third enter engineering practice in industry, one third go to graduate school in engineering, and one third pursue careers in entreprenuership, finance, consulting, or public service. Over the past five years, Brown engineers have been hired by a variety of prominent companies and been admitted to many of the top schools around the country.
Many Brown students complete one or more summer internships during their time at Brown. This can be research at Brown, at another university closer to home, a formal internship program at a company, or working on their own startup.
Brown and the School of Engineering have a number of resources that help with career advising, applying and preparing for jobs, and finding graduate schools, career opportunities, and internships.
Applying for Internships
You could spend an internship working for a company, or working in a lab at Brown or another university. Your internships need not all be in engineering: spending a summer working in finance, retail or consulting, or teaching middle-schoolers will give you skills that will be valuable in any future career and will also make your autobiography more interesting.
The following resources will help you search for an opportunity that fits your goals:
- The School of Engineering sends a weekly undergraduate and graduate newsletter which contains a list of many internship opportunities, both at Brown and elsewhere, this is sent each week on Monday.
- Handshake at Brown (a password protected site) contains a database of jobs (not necessarily engineering related).
- Brown has an AfterCollege page that lists both full-time positions and internships.
- The School of Engineering runs a Career Fair toward the end of fall semester or early in the spring semester of each year. Check the calendar for announcements.
- BrownConnect is a networking tool which allows you to contact Brown alumni for advice, networking, and mentoring, the database includes their companies, titles and is searchable by key words.
- Most large companies run competitive internship programs to which you can apply online. These can usually be located by searching for "(name your favorite company) internships". If you apply to one of these programs you will need to prepare a highly effective resume: see a short list of suggestions from former graduates on this page. You can get more extensive help with preparing a resume at Brown CareerLab.
- For summer research at Brown, consider applying for an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Assistantship (UTRA), Royce Fellowship, an RI Space consortium grant or the Engineering DiMase Fellowship. To apply for one of these programs, familiarize yourself with the application process, then contact a faculty member with expertise in your area of interest (see the faculty research pages) and ask if they would be willing to work on a proposal with you.
- If you have already held a UTRA or miss the deadline, you can often still find a faculty member with an external grant to support undergraduate research.
- If you live in the U.S., you can often find a summer research opportunity at a school near your home. The National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is a good place to find organized programs. You can also use the lists of NSF awards to find faculty who have recently received a grant and may be looking for new students.
Applying for an entry-level engineering job
Your engineering degree gives you more career options than almost any other concentration at Brown. You may be considering applying for entry-level positions at an engineering company with a famous name, hoping to join a recent start-up, or considering establishing a start-up of your own. You may be interested in construction management, consulting or finance, or hoping to use your engineering skills in public service or for humanitarian causes.
Whatever your interests, Brown and the School of Engineering has a number of resources to help you search for, and apply to, career opportunities that interest you.
- The School of Engineering runs a Career Fair toward the end of fall semester each year. The list of companies attending this event continues to grow each year, and is a valuable resource both for learning from alumni/ae about their career experiences, as well as to be recruited. Check the calendar for announcements.
- The Brown CareerLab organizes a large number of programs to help with the job search, preparing a resume, as well as maintaining databases of career opportunities.
- Brown has an AfterCollege page that lists both full-time positions and internships, sorted by concentrations.
- The School of Engineering Job and Internship Bulletin Board lists job openings specifically targeted toward Brown Engineering students (the site is accessible only through the Brown network or VPN).
- Taking the Fundamentals of Engineering examination is the first step toward obtaining professional registration, which can be a valuable qualification for some engineering positions.
Preparing a resume
The goal of your resume is to persuade a recruiter to invite you to interview. The Brown CareerLab is the best place to get help with preparing your resume. Below, you will find some short tips from former students who now recruit at Brown and elsewhere:
- Prepare your resume to be read quickly: recruiters will spend only one or two minutes reviewing your resume.
- Start your resume with a short statement of your career objectives. This should show how your objectives align with the position to which you are applying. An example might be “To utilize my technical education from Brown University in xyz Engineering, and apply it to a progressive company to expand its capabilities in product development and manufacturing.” This statement tells recruiters about your degree, your area of study, and your interests in two lines.
- List your citizenship status on your resume.
- Most engineering programs have a similar course structure. To distinguish yourself from competing applicants, highlight your accomplishments and experience, which could be a significant design project or research experience, internships, leadership positions, or engineering related extra-curricular activities.
- Prepare a separate, targeted, version of your resume for each application.
- Many companies recruit entry-level engineers through their internship programs. It will help your chances of being accepted to their internship programs if your resume makes it clear that you are likely to return to the company after graduation.
Applying to Graduate School
A graduate degree can help you develop specialized knowledge and skills in an area of interest, and to obtain additional qualifications that may be necessary to practice your chosen profession. Your options include (i) An Sc.M. program; (ii) A Ph.D. program; and (iii) Another advanced degree, such as an M.D., M.B.A or J.D.
Sc.M. programs in engineerings are one or two-year programs that provide specialized training. They usually consist of a set of advanced courses, with an option of writing a thesis. Engineers with an Sc.M. degree are often in demand by employers and are given postings with more responsibility. Most Sc.M. programs do not offer financial aid or support, although there are exceptions.
A Ph.D. is a research degree, and is a necessary qualification for academic positions, industry research labs, and national laboratories. Some consulting firms also prefer to hire STEM Ph.D. graduates. A Ph.D. program in engineering requires both course work and a thesis, and usually takes between four and six years to complete. At U.S. institutions, Ph.D. candidates are normally fully supported by external grants or teaching assistantships.
A competitive application to graduate school will include (i) a personal statement, which schools use to determine whether your interests are a good match to their program; (ii) a solid transcript that shows you are prepared for advanced study; and (iii) strong letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty who have taught you recently or have had the opportunity to work with you on a major project or research. Many programs also require you to take the GRE examination. It can be helpful to complete an honors thesis, but any significant project work through independent study; capstone design; or extra-curricular projects is good too.
The following resources are available to help you to apply to graduate programs
- Overview of the graduate application process from Brown Careerlab
- Health Careers advising
- Brown Graduate School
- The School of Engineering 5 year combined Sc.B./Sc.M.
- Brown five-year Master of Arts in Teaching
- Information about the GRE examination
There are several ways you can work in the School of Engineering during the semester: examples include IT support positions, serving as a monitor in the Brown Design Workshop or the undergraduate computer facility, or working as a grader, laboratory assistant or teaching assistant for a class. You can also work as an engineering, math or science tutor for the Dean of the College, and there are often opportunties for engineers to put their skills to use in other Brown departments.