Graduate Students

Welcome to Engineering Career Services with support for all College of Engineering Graduate Students!

Listed below are the ECS staff that specialized in working with graduate students:

Julie Rae, ECS Associate Director
MS/PhD students – Summer Intern, Co-op, & Full-time

• Resumes & Cover Letters
• Job Search Strategies
• Job Offers & Negotiation
• CPT for Graduate Students

Student appointments via Starfish – click here (COE students only)

Sierra Strebe-Grim, ECS Career Advisor
MS students – Summer Intern, Co-op, & Full-time

• Resumes & Cover Letters
• Job Search Strategies
• Job Offers & Negotiation

Student appointment via Starfish – click here (COE students only)


Resume Samples for Graduate Students

Below you will find sample resume for both Masters and PhD levels. General guidance on building a resume can be found here.

Looking for assistance in reviewing your resume? Connect with an ECS advisor


Handshake makes it easy for every UW-Madison student to explore career events, connect to jobs internships & co-ops, and even schedule on-campus interviews.

With Handshake you can:

  • Browse and register for career events on campus – including career fairs!
  • Explore thousands of openings from over 200,000 employers nationwide
  • Get personalized job recommendations based on your interests, majors and more

Get Started:

  1. Read the UW-Madison Handshake Student Terms of Use
  2. Visit
  3. Activate your account by clicking the blue button or entering your email address
  4. Complete your profile and start exploring!









We’ve pre-loaded your profile to get you started. Your profile’s default setting is “private.”
Employers, alumni, and students won’t be able to see anything until you choose.

Questions? See the Help Resources below, or contact ECS.

Preparing for an Interview

This is where all your work ultimately pays off—skills assessment, resume development, and communication with targeted employers. Preparation and practice are key to successful interviewing. A lack of thorough employer research is often interpreted as poor preparation and a lack of interest in the employer.

Quick Tips:

  1. Know your resume “inside and out.”
  2. Understand that the resume emphasizes your skills and accomplishments; it may be used in the interview to guide the conversation or as reference.
  3. Verbally practice answering questions (Yes! Out loud!)
  4. Do employer research.
  5. Attend an employer information sessions on campus if available
  6. Prepare your materials, clothing, and transportation the night prior to the interview so that you are not rushed the day of.
  7. Dress professionally for the interview
  8. Answer every interview question with supportive information; never provide a simple one- or two-word answer.
  9. At the end of the interview, ask questions. Doing this demonstrates your interest in the employer and allows you to better assess the opportunity
  10. After the interview, follow-up with a thank you!

Interviewing Guides & Tips

  • HireVue Practice Site
    • Youtube Explanation
    • Some employers use this tool to preview candidates
    • Sample site has 3 questions to test process
  • ECS Job Search Guides – INTERVIEWING
    • Prepare for Interviews
    • Typical Interview Questions
    • Questions to Ask Recruiters
    • Different Types of Interviews
    • On-site and Second Round Interviews
  • Big Interview Software
    • UW-Madison has a license for Big Interview software to assist you with interviewing. We do not recommend using their resume templates, but the interview preparation information can be useful.

    S.T.A.R. Method for Behavioral Interview Questions

    In responding to behavioral questions, it is best to provide a specific example to support your response.

    Frame the response using an example from your resume including: academic projects, classes, work experiences, and out-of-class activities.

    Be very specific as you cover the four necessary steps (Situation, Task, Action & Result) for optimum success:

    • Situation: Give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome.
    • Task: Describe the task(s) required in the situation.
    • Action: Talk about the various actions you initiated or completed.
    • Result: Provide the results directly connected to your actions.

    Looking for resources to help with technical interviews, coding interviews or case interviews? Check out the LinkedIn Learning platform and search for the type of interview by keyword. LinkedIn Learning is free for all UW-Madison students

Evaluating & Negotiating Offers

Step 1: Evaluate your Market

A job offer is much more to consider than just the base salary. Whether this is your first job or fifth, one should consider many factors before accepting any offer. Your next position can go beyond guiding your career path and should be given ample time when deciding.
Some easy comparisons to consider include:

• Financial Compensation (salary, insurance, relocation/ signing bonus)
• Location (preference, flexibility, relocation)
• Career Plan (advancement, rotational program vs fixed, interests, educational opportunities)
• Employer Culture/ Environment (values, turn-over, travel, dress, atmosphere, typical hours)

Step 2: Evaluate your Offer(s)

Which items are most important to you and your career?
An offer matrix is often a good tool to use to compare multiple offers. A sample offer matrix is provided to help you start to formulate what is important to you:

ECS Career Matrix

Step 3: Negotiate?

Negotiation is not always necessary and reasonable depending on competing offers, job market, etc. but if you feel it is, ask for flexibility on one or two carefully chosen items (i.e. Salary, start date, moving expenses, time-off)

Rules for negotiating:

1. Don’t negotiate until a firm offer (in writing) has been extended
2. Be prepared and use facts (average salary information, cost of living statistics)
3. Understand the needs and abilities of the employer.
4. All negotiating should take place over the phone or in person; this needs to be a conversation
5. Have your notes and materials with you, with source information
6. Follow-up with an email after the conversation to ensure that key points discussed are “in-writing”

Step 4: Accept/Reject, Extend Offers

Once you have made the decision to accept or reject an offer, verbally confirm and immediately follow-up in writing. Be sure to clarify important details for example “start date’, salary, bonuses, and other important specifics.
ACCEPT ONLY ONE OFFER (even if something better comes along later!)

Don’t burn bridges you may need in the future, and risk being “bad-mouthed” to other organizations.

Immediately decline (in writing) all other offers as well as notify all other employers that are still considering you. This is a professional courtesy and allows the recruiter to continue their search.

Report your accepted/declined offers:

Graduate Students

ECS Job Search Guide: Evaluating Offers & Negotiation

U.S. Employer’s Guide to Hiring International Students (information provided by Interstride and Fragomen Law Firm – July 2022)

National Data for Masters Salaries

Masters’ Program (MS) Mean Median
Biomedical Engineering $67,575 $69,250
Chemical Engineering $82,996 $83,148
Civil Engr. $73,871 $74,411
Computer Engr. $122,903 $123,036
Electrical & Computer Engr. $104,623 $96,497
Engr. Mechanics* $90,885 $85,634
Geological Engineering $75,700 $75,700
Industrial Engineering $88,798 $84,100
Manufacturing Systems Engr.** $85,027 $85,100
Materials Science & Engr.*** $88,216 $83,727
Mechanical Engineering $87,909 $85,046
Metallurgical Engr. NA NA
Nuclear Engr. & Engr. Physics NA NA
Source: NACE Summer 2023 Salary Survey
*Aerospace Engineering
**Manufacturing Engineering
*** Materials Engineering

National Data for PhD Salaries

Doctorate Program (PhD) Mean Median
Biomedical Engineering $82,482 $71,300
Chemical Engineering $107,696 $115,000
Civil & Environmental Engr. $72,400 $74,342
Computer Engr. $142,609 $149,873
Electrical & Computer Engr. $156,392 $169,000
Engr. Mechanics & Astronautics* $109,532 $120,000
Geological Engineering NA NA
Industrial Engineering (incl. Manf. Sys.) $92,644 $96,667
Materials Science & Engr.** $94,929 $94,700
Mechanical Engineering $103,728 $115,000
Metallurgical Engineering $90,900 $90,900
Nuclear Engr. & Engr. Physics*** $90,991 $80,786
Source: NACE Summer 2023 Salary Survey
*Aerospace Engineering
** Materials Engineering
***Nuclear Engineering

The Engineering Cooperative Education (Co-op) and Summer Internship program provides graduate engineering students with the option to gain valuable “real world” engineering experiences working with a variety of industries and governmental agencies.

Basic requirements for these experiences include working full-time, being competitively paid, completing engineering assignments and working under the supervision of an engineer on-site.

Obtaining work experience through a co-op or summer internship prior to completing your degree requirements typically increases employment opportunities and starting salaries at graduation.

About Co-op:

Cooperative education is an academic option as part of your engineering education. Co-op students work full-time in an engineering position for 26-28 weeks. This is typically a Spring-Summer terms or Summer-Fall terms. Co-op can be a single semester as well (Fall or Spring). All co-op positions must be paid experiences.

About Summer Internships:

The Summer Internship is for students seeking engineering employment during summer months only. These 12-14 week, full-time assignments provide students exposure to engineering while enabling the employer to fill short-term project needs. Students securing a summer internship may have the option for academic credit in addition to the position being paid.

Instructions for Reporting an accepting Co-op or Summer Internship

Step #1: Report your offer in Handshake 

  • Login to Handshake via your MyUW
  • Click on “Career Center” in the top navigation and select “Experiences” from the pick-list.
  • Click on “Submit and Experience”
  • Choose the Experience Type and Term that works best for you specific offer.
  • After selecting the correct Experience Type, follow the prompts to submit the required information

Step #2: Offer Letter

After you have clicked “submit” for your Experience Report, you will see your overview page

Click on “New Attachment” to upload your offer letter (blue button on left)


Drop off your offer letter in the ECS office (1150 Engineering Hall)

Step #3: Faculty Approval Form

Please complete the following form(s) and return to ECS:

U.S. Citizen & Permanent Resident students:Enrollment process

International students – please see the CPT tab


After steps 1-3 are completed, to request internship/co-op course enrollment authorization, please email Julie Rae at

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Instructions for International Students (F-1) who have accepted a co-op or summer internship and will need work authorization through the CPT program

1 Get approval from faculty advisor Request your faculty advisor to confirm their approval of internship/ co-op by completing google form — coop-fac-approve You must have approval from your faculty advisor to participate co-op or summer internship position and CPT

The form requires logging in with a
wisc email address

2 Obtain offer letter with required information Your offer letter must include:

  • Company letterhead
  • Your name
  • Company or organization name
  • Start and end date of employment
  • Numbers of work hours per week
  • Your position title
  • Brief job description
  • Employer address (company’s address)
  • Supervisors’ name and contact information
  • Signed by employer (physical or authenticated digital)
Check International Student Services (ISS) template letter for missing info: employment/f-1-curricular-practical- training-cpt/cpt-information-for- employers/
3 Report your internship or co-op offer
  • Login to Handshake via your MyUW
  • Click on “Career Center” in the top navigation and select “Experiences” from the tiles below
  • Click on “Submit an Experience”
  • Choose the Experience Type that works best for your specific offer.
    • Options include:
    • 2024 – Spring ONLY Co-op (Graduate)
    • 2024 – Spring to Summer Co-op (Graduate)
    • 2024 – Summer INTERNSHIP (Graduate)
  • After selecting the correct Experience Type, follow the prompts to submit required information
  • After you click “submit” for your Experience Report, you will see your overview page
  • Click on “New Attachment” to upload your offer letter (blue button on left)
Academic credit is a requirement for F-1 Visa students for all Fall, Spring, or Summer term co-ops/internships.

After you complete this step, ECS will review your reported Experience and offer letter on Handshake, then authorize your enrollment in course 702 and send you a confirmation e- mail message. You need to wait until ECS provides you with authorization to complete the course enrollment.

4 Receive authorization for 702 Co-op Course enrollment
  • After receiving the course authorization, enroll in course 702 via MyUW
You must enroll in the 702 Co-op Course before submitting your CPT application.
5 Submit Electronic Verification  in  CPT application
  • Review CPT application process here
  • In the section “Request Electronic Verification”, enter the following information and then click “Add User” to request CPT approval:
    • PhD Students:
    • First Name: Julie
    • Last Name: Rae
    • Email:
    • Phone: 608/262-3472
    • Follow the prompts to complete CPT application before you “submit”
    • Masters Students:
    • First Name: Sierra
    • Last Name: Strebe-Grim
    • Email:
    • Phone: 608/262-3496
    • Follow the prompts to complete CPT application before you “submit”
After you request CPT verification from advisor, ECS will receive an electronic request through Terra Dotta to approve your CPT verification. The verification from ECS does not indicate an approval of CPT from ISS.

When the CPT application is approved, you will receive an email confirmation from Terra Dotta, with your new I-20 form that has the CPT information on
page 2.

You CANNOT start work until CPT approval is on your I-20.


CPT process outlined by ISS


ECS Job Search Resources:

Job Search Sites: