x-terms is a new co-op program that fully embraces "learning by doing", allowing upperclassmen to do a semester-long internship while still taking MIT classes and living on campus. "At MIT, the best way to motivate change is not necessarily top-down, but to give students the knowledge, resources, and ability to reimagine what could be."
- Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz
Learning by doing plays an essential role in the MIT ethos. For students interested in academia, semester-long UROPs perfectly serve this role: they supplement students' classes, provide practical experience, and help them learn about a new field or career path.
No such UROP exists for industry. Students interested in working at companies to explore a field or gain experience are limited to internships during summer or IAP. These stints, however, are too short and often unfulfilling. Unsupported by MIT, the internships exist in isolation from all the coursework on campus. What MIT lacks is a rich educational experience that ties together the "mens" and "manus" in the professional world.
Welcome to x-terms.
Applications are due March 18th.
About / FAQ
What is an x-term?
x-terms is a new program available to MIT juniors and seniors in any major. During either the fall or spring semester—referred to as an x-term—students take 1 to 2 classes at MIT while spending the rest of their time interning at a local Boston/Cambridge company to gain real-world experience.
Why should I consider an x-term?
You receive the benefits of a longer internship, as well as the connections that come with combining academic and work experiences. By interning at a company for a longer duration than just a summer, you can work on more substantial projects and have a more authentic experience. By taking classes at the same time, the x-term will serve as an academic experience to guide your career exploration and future classes. Throughout all this, you maintain all the benefits of an MIT student, including the ability to live on-campus.
How does part-time MIT registration work?
During the semester, you will be registered as a part-time student. You will continue to be able to live in your dorm, access all MIT facilities, and enroll in any classes. As explained below, there are changes to tuition and financial aid.
How do tuition and financial aid work?
You will pay tuition per unit taken during the semester (which includes IAP) as determined by MIT for that year. As of 2017-18, the per unit charge is $770 for a semester. This equals $9,240 for one 12-unit class or $18,480 for two 12-unit classes.
Eligible students will receive financial aid as usual. Since MIT has need-based financial aid, the assessed parental contribution will remain constant since it does not depend on units. In short, you will be charged less tuition and receive less financial aid such that your parental contribution remains the same.
What is the value of doing an x-term versus arranging it on my own?
In short, we're here to help you do all the dirty work, as well as streamline the logistics, so that you can focus on the really important part: the internship and your classes. We have an advisor who can help you navigate the part-time registration process, connect with local companies offering semester internships, and find ways to couple your internship with your classes and future MIT plans.
How will I find an internship?
We cannot guarantee an internship, but we will work with you to identify and apply to semester-long internships in the Boston area that might be an appropriate fit. Ultimately, you will be responsible for applying to companies. The x-terms team will facilitate conversations around part-time work and can supply connections to several companies.
How much time would I spend on classes vs. the internship?
If you're taking two classes, you'd likely spend 20-25 hours at your internship. If you're taking one class, you'd likely spend 30-35 hours at your internship. Of course, these numbers depend on your specific needs and arrangements.
Do the classes I take need to be related to the internship?
While not required, we encourage students to find classes that might help them with their internship and provide a theoretical backdrop to their applied work. We'll work with you to identify classes that fit both your personal and professional needs.
Can I stay in my dorm?
You can stay in your on-campus housing during your x-term. You can also choose to live off-campus, although just like a normal student, being able to move back on-campus is not guaranteed.
Will I continue to have access to MIT facilities and resources?
You will enjoy access to every MIT resource that any full-time undergraduate student is entitled to: access to athletic, maker, and academic facilities, ability to participate in MIT-sanctioned clubs, MIT health insurance, MIT email and other licensed software, etc.
How will transportation work?
You will be responsible for commuting between work and MIT. We can help you plan your schedule and trips.
Will I graduate on time?
While it is up to you to figure out whether you can take a part-time load for one semester and still graduate on time, the x-terms team will work with you to plan your class schedule. Most students will still be able to graduate in 4 years by adding a class or two to their other semesters.
What if I am an international student or varsity athlete?
At this time, x-terms is unfortunately not available to international students and varsity athletes, who need to remain registered at MIT full-time. We are working to expand x-terms and hope to include all students in future years.
What are the key dates for an x-term student throughout the year?
A fall x-term coincides with the fall semester. A spring x-term begins during IAP (exactly when is up to you and the company) and ends on the last day of classes to allow students to study for finals (in red). x-terms do not interfere with any summer activity (in yellow) that the student may have planned. This can be the same internship as the x-term, but it does not need to be. Specific dates will vary on a case-by-case basis based on student and company needs.