Research Practicum Program

As part of its course offerings, the MPCS gives students the option of doing a research practicum under the supervision of a faculty or staff member (known as the practicum advisor). This practicum can be counted as elective credit towards the student’s Masters degree. Like any MPCS elective, students are only eligible for a practicum once three core classes have been completed or taken concurrently with a third core class. 

During a practicum, a student must work on a research-oriented project requiring roughly 100 hours of work throughout a single academic quarter (i.e., an average of 10 hours per week). Throughout the year, the MPCS seeks project proposals from faculty and staff members interested in working with Masters students. These proposals are distributed to our students, who must then apply to work on a specific project.

Applying to the Practicum Program

Students interested in doing a practicum during an academic quarter will have to apply to the practicum program in the preceding quarter. The key dates are the following:

  • Week 6: Practicum project proposals are published. Links to the proposals, and instructions on how to apply to participate in the practicum will be sent out to all MS students.

  • Weeks 6-7: Students interested in doing a practicum review project proposals and submit an application to work on specific projects. 

  • Weeks 8: Masters program administration and prospective advisors evaluate applicants. During this time, applicants may be asked to do a short interview with the advisor/s of the project/s they have applied for.

  • Week 9: Students receive acceptance/rejection notices.

  • Weeks 9-10: Students should meet with their advisors to start planning their work on the practicum during the following quarter.

Since registration takes place during 8th week, and students won’t be paired with projects by then, students that have applied to do a practicum will be allowed to register for the Practicum course, but should also select a backup class in case they are not selected for a practicum. If a student is not selected, their registration will be modified accordingly without penalty.

The Research Practicum Course

During the quarter in which a student is doing a practicum, the student will be enrolled in a special Research Practicum course. This course does not have regular meeting times; instead, students will work directly with their advisors, who may require specific meeting times with each student. Additionally, students will be required to deliver two presentations throughout the quarter: a midterm presentation halfway through the quarter, and a final presentation at the end of the quarter.


The final grade for a practicum will be determined by each student's advisor, following a rubric provided by the MPCS.