Master’s practicum

Are you interested in having CMU-Africa master’s students work on an information and communications technology problem in your industry for a full semester?

As a practicum sponsor, you are providing our students with practical experience solving real-world problems as part of the required courses in the CMU-Africa Master of Science in Information Technology curriculum. Master’s practicum projects are ideal for companies that have a complex industry problem or a new challenging idea but do not have the resources or time to devote to it.

The project provides companies with a student consulting team for 900-1000 cumulative hours of engineering work on your engineering problem over a 4-month period. Practicum projects run in both our fall semester (August-December) and our spring semester (January-May).

CMU-Africa also provides faculty advisors for guidance to the student team to ensure that prescribed processes and methodologies are being followed and that the project is completed on time and efficiently.

Sponsors are required to provide a single dedicated and highly responsive project manager, industry or domain knowledge to the students, and are responsible for providing any access or data to complete the project requirements.

Upon completion of the project, sponsors receive a perpetual non-exclusive license to the intellectual property that is produced by and owned by the student team as per CMU global policies.

CMU-Africa cannot accommodate all practicum project proposals as we are limited by our stringent academic requirements. In addition, we are limited by the number of students available each semester and our students’ selection from the projects that they are most excited to work on.

Hear from our sponsors

BBOXX Rwanda

"The CMU-Africa practicum team did a fantastic job during the project with Bboxx ltd. Starting by exploring our big data, then came up with important business questions and used the data to answer those questions. Furthermore, they introduced new KPIs to help NGOs at Bboxx in making important business decisions. One of the metrics is to track the sales made during regular technical visits. It was a positive experience for the Data Insight Team at Bboxx." - Jean Paul Izabayo, Business Intelligence Developer, BBOXX Rwanda


"The CMU Practicum Projects are always a win-win for hiveonline and the CMU students. We get to work with some of the best computer science talent in Africa and the students get to experience working in a fast-paced impact startup. This time we've achieved some milestones which will improve our data quality from our farmers in the field and enable them to get better insights from their data to improve their commercialization." -Matthew Mims, COO, Hiveonline

Internet Society

"I've seen a dedicated team of young engineers very willing to understand the problem and try out different solutions." -Amreesh Phokeer, Internet Society

Student in class

Source: Carnegie Mellon University Africa

Practicum sponsors

Practicum FAQ

How does the practicum work?

  • A team of 3-4 CMU-Africa students pursuing a Master of Science in Information Technology work on your ICT problem over a full semester as part of a course (04-900 MS Practicum). Over the course of the semester, each student will be expected to work 280 hours on the practicum.
  • The sponsor organization defines a problem that the student team works on under the guidance of the sponsor organization advisor and CMU-Africa faculty member.
  • The practicum is an educational opportunity for our students that allows them to not only apply the knowledge and skills they have learned but to also develop new competencies while solving a real-world problem. There are frequently valuable outputs, but that is not always guaranteed. 

Why should I submit a proposal?

  • Our students have in the past developed new applications, improved business processes, and researched new applications of technology. 
  • The practicum is ideal for companies that have a complex industry problem or a new idea, but do not have the resources or time to devote to it.
  • Your company will get an opportunity to work with students that are practical and focused on getting results and who might be future employees.
  • There is no direct financial cost associated with practicum sponsorship, but you will be responsible for providing weekly meeting time with the student team to provide guidance and to provide other resources (e.g. required data and/or software applications that are necessary to make the project successful)

What time commitment is expected of me as a practicum sponsor?

As a sponsor, companies are expected to provide a representative to work directly with the team on a weekly or more frequent basis.

What if my practicum takes longer than one semester?

We only accept practicum projects that can be reasonably completed within fifteen weeks. However, sometimes projects grow beyond what is initially expected, and if that happens with your project, you can negotiate with the student team to get the work completed under a separate agreement. Please note that this portion of the work is not considered part of the academic experience, and will not be supervised by a faculty member.

What kind of legal agreement can my company expect?

Once your company is selected to be a practicum sponsor, CMU will provide an Educational Project Agreement (EPA) for you to review and sign. It should be noted that the contracts are between the practicum sponsors and the students.

Do I need to provide office space for the team?

No. The bulk of your team’s work will be conducted at Carnegie Mellon University’s Kigali location, though they will be available to meet with you on-site when required for the project, such as for weekly meetings. We have video conferencing equipment to facilitate who are based outside of Kigali.

Can I require students to sign non-disclosure agreements and/or intellectual property documents prior to the start of a practicum?

Where do I submit my practicum proposal?

All practicum proposals are to be submitted to

Application and practicum timeline

  • November 6, 2023: Course sponsor information session
  • November 14, 2023: Final proposal due date
  • November 28, 2023: Partner feedback date
  • December 12, 2023: Partner proposal approval and EPA acceptance
  • January 3, 2024: Student project bidding
  • January 10, 2024: First meeting with students
  • January 15, 2024: Practicum kickoff

Make a gift

There are no costs to sponsor master’s practicum projects. However, CMU-Africa does appreciate contributions that will help fund scholarships and run our educational programs.

Give today