Undergraduate/Graduate Internship Opportunities


Application Process

  • The Internship Experience

    The majority of engineering interns are at Draper from early June through mid-August under the direct supervision of technical staff. Engineering interns have multiple opportunities to attend technical briefings, interact with national experts in numerous fields of research, work with state-of-the-art equipment on real-world technical applications and then present the results of their research and development activities at the end of the internship. Internship pay is competitive; note: housing is not provided. During the summer, there are weekly student events and activities along with networking opportunities at lunch and other times.

  • How to Apply

    First, Draper's core technologies and application domains are described for each engineering division below.  After you have found an area that interests you, check the set of job listings. At least one of the jobs will cover all students who apply for an internship within the specific division. The link to access the job listings is here.

    Please apply as soon as possible – there are no rigid dates for submission, but offers are sometimes made early for outstanding candidates.

    If you have made contact with a specific staff member in your area of interest, e.g., at a conference or through an event, please feel free to contact him/her directly and inquire about the possibility of working with him/her through the program.

Nonengineering Co-Op Internship Program

Draper hires students to support business and information technology activities within the Laboratory. There are both full-time summer positions as well as part-time positions during the academic year. These positions give students a professional experience in the real-world operations of an engineering company.

Draper also partners with several institutions, including Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute, UMass Lowell and the University of South Florida to offer work-study programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. These programs vary depending on the school requirements and schedule.


Engineering Student Internship Program

Through Draper’s Engineering Internship Program, you can gain research experience and investigate career paths in science, technology, engineering and math.

Our programs for undergraduate and graduate students offer an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a world-class research and development laboratory.

Many times, a student's participation in one Draper student program can evolve into participation into another program (e.g., the Draper Fellow Program and eventually into becoming a technical staff member).


Systems Engineering and Evaluation

  • Systems Engineering and Analysis

    The Systems Engineering and Analysis Division works with engineering functions and program offices across Draper to develop integrated system solutions to challenging customer needs. The Division focuses on understanding and defining customer needs, architecting effective and balanced design approaches and providing technical leadership for development, integration and test of Draper’s mission-critical, first-of-a-kind systems. Deep understanding of Draper’s technologies and customer/end-user missions are a cornerstone of Systems Engineering and Evaluation, and modeling and simulation are core capabilities extensively used throughout the system development life cycle.

    Technologies utilized include systems engineering; system architecture and design; modeling, simulation and analysis; hardware-in-the-loop simulation; electronics; Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) design and analysis; computer and packaging technologies; and software engineering.

    Application domains include guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) systems; communications systems; space, missile, and vehicle avionics; soldier systems; biomedical; energy and infrastructure.

  • System Integration, Test and Evaluation

    The System Integration, Test and Evaluation Division supports the entire product development life cycle, including the creation of flexible test beds and benches to evaluate preliminary designs, the execution of system integration, design verification, and performance evaluation and the deployment of automated test solutions for production and factory acceptance testing. Staff members within the Division are tasked with the design and development of test facilities, equipment, interface hardware, automation software, data analysis methods and innovative test techniques. The Division is composed of personnel with diverse skills and a wide range of technical expertise to supply customers with a total solution for their integration, test and evaluation needs. Project areas include test instrumentation and software automation in advanced GN&C, space systems and avionics programs along with applications in the fields of energy and biomedical systems.

    Technologies utilized include inertial instrument development and test, advanced modeling, simulation, and data analysis using MATLAB and Simulink, hardware-in-the-loop simulations, test automation, software development using Python, C/C#/C++, Visual Basic, LabVIEW and/or Tests and hardware development.

    Application domains include system test and integration, test equipment design and development, test software and data analysis, electronics and production test development, GN&C systems, communications systems, space, missile, and vehicle avionics, soldier systems, biomedical, energy and infrastructure.

  • Product Assurance

    The Product Assurance Division, working closely with other engineering organizations and the Program Office, provides technical support and oversight for Draper’s efforts in prototyping mission-critical, first-of-a-kind systems.

    Technologies utilized include systems engineering, modeling, physics, electronics, micromechanical devices, computer and packaging technologies, process engineering, yield engineering, software engineering and metrology.

    Application domains include system development for complex systems, failure analysis, qualification testing, production engineering, and software application development.

Hardware Design and Development

  • Mechanical Engineering and System Packaging

    The Mechanical Engineering and System Packaging Division designs, analyzes and builds a variety of electromechanical hardware, ranging from precision instruments and microscale sensors and electronics to robots and components for large defense and space systems. As a focal point at Draper for hardware fabrication and development, staff and students are exposed to a wide range of projects spanning all of our Program Offices. Students with skills in areas within mechanical engineering, materials, sensors, robotics, manufacturing or operations are encouraged to apply.

    Technologies utilized include solid modeling, 3D printing (additive manufacturing), machine shop tools (subtractive manufacturing), mechanical design and numerical analysis, thermal design and analysis, mechanical testing and schematic capture.

    Application domains include sensor design, robotic systems design and test, additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, advanced inertial instrumentation, circuit card design and assembly.

  • Electronics

    The Electronics Division designs, fabricates and tests electronic systems from DC to light. A wide variety of projects are pursued in the Electronics Division. Students can have significant roles in our projects, leveraging skills that may range from coding, layout and circuit design to circuit soldering, test, and debugging.

    Technologies utilized include analog electronics, power systems engineering, hardware design language (HDL) design and verification, mixed-signal embedded systems, radio frequency (RF) and communications systems, digital systems, and multiphysics design and modeling.

    Application domains include high precision readout and control for instrumentation, including inertial, Doppler, and optical sensors, biocompatible and bio-implantable sensors and medical devices, ultraminiature radios operating from UHF to mm-wave, electronics design and controls for robotics.

  • Guidance Hardware

    The Guidance Hardware Division leverages advanced technologies across a range of disciplines toward the design, prototyping and deployment of precision guidance instrumentation. Students with skills in electrical test, optical test and physics-based modeling are encouraged to apply.

    Technologies utilized include electro-optics, photonics, electromechanical design and analysis, chemical analysis, and radiation physics

    Application domains include Cold atom sensors, integrated optics gyros, imaging systems, electromechanical inertial sensors, guidance and navigation systems and radiation-hardened devices.

  • Microsystems Fabrication

    The Microsystems Fabrication Division maintains state-of-the-art capabilities in advanced electronics multichip module packaging. The clean room facility, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., is a production-oriented laboratory with both electronics packaging as well as rapid prototyping.

    Technologies utilized include clean room-based wafer fabrication, MEMS fabrication, electronics packaging, electronics test, mechanical design and rapid prototyping.

    Application domains include multichip module packaging for microelectronics systems.

Algorithms and Software

  • Information and Decision Systems

    The Information and Decision Systems Division works to solve some of our sponsor's toughest “big data” problems. We apply advanced algorithmic techniques and work with our human-centered engineering team to ensure that we provide information users what they need to address their problems and relieve them from the task of wading through massive amounts of data for their answers. We apply our solutions to all domains (government and commercial) in which extracting meaning from large amounts of data is beneficial. We encourage students with skills in mathematics and statistics, computer science, software engineering, security engineering, human-system collaboration, cognitive engineering, and signal processing and analysis to apply.

    Technologies utilized include human-system modeling and analysis, human supervisory control, physiological and psychological signature analysis, cognitive engineering, information fusion, machine learning, graph theory, formal methods, data inferencing, knowledge discovery and data engineering, expert systems, natural language understanding, data and text mining, geospatial data processing, resource optimization, autonomous systems development and planning.

    Application domains include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; medical information systems; soldier systems (mobile application development); security systems; defense information systems; and command and control systems.

  • Embedded Navigation and Sensor Systems

    The Embedded Navigation and Sensor Systems Division is engaged in a wide array of topics, including autonomous navigation, cyber security and embedded systems, real-time signal processing, wireless communications and networks.

    Technologies utilized include navigation, embedded and advanced software, signal processing, communications and cognitive robotics.

    Past topics include:

    • Vulnerability analysis and reverse engineering of embedded systems
    • Development of embedded systems for blind navigation
    • Indoor navigation and mapping for autonomous vehicles
    • Kalman filter implementation for inertial and aided navigation systems
    • Faster streaming algorithms for low-rank matrix approximation
    • Compressive sensing for efficient image compression and transmission
    • Exploiting temporal and spatial correlation in wireless sensor networks
  • Dynamic Systems and Control

    The Dynamic Systems and Control Division provides quality algorithm and software products, services and expertise to ensure customer success, including space, ground, and underwater GN&C systems and technologies; mission design; autonomous systems design; software and software systems engineering; mission operations and mission validation.

    The Division engages in a wide array of technologies and applications. Common themes include aerospace guidance and control, autonomous underwater vehicles, guided airdrop, guided ammunition and fault detection and isolation. The Division'a operating locations are in Cambridge, Mass., Houston, Texas, and Huntsville, Ala.

    Technologies utilized include GN&C, vehicle system architecture, vehicle dynamics, mission design, model-based design, and embedded software.

    Application domains include:

    • Spacecraft attitude determination and control
    • Guided airdrop
    • Guided ammunition
    • On-orbit guidance
    • Missile guidance
    • Trajectory optimization
    • Model-based design
  • Mission Assured Systems

    The Mission Assured Systems Division designs and tests complex, mission-critical system software used in the some of the nation’s most important space, defense, and commercial applications. Engineers participate in solution-making for safety-critical and highly secure systems that carry humans to space, control strategic weaponry, and protect national infrastructure and resources. These applications demand a diversity of knowledge bases and rigorous life-cycle development techniques.

    Technologies utilized include secure embedded systems, avionics design, fault tolerance, verification and validation, embedded software design, modeling and simulation of GN&C applications, system safety analysis and relative navigation.

    Applications domains include strategic systems, submarine controls, accuracy and reliability analysis, energy control systems, secure systems and communications and man-rated space avionics.