Founded in 1865, WPI is the third oldest private university of science, engineering, management and the liberal arts in the United States. Since its founding days, WPI has been a pioneer in technological education. In 1970, the Institute continued that tradition by creating a new, project-based undergraduate program called the WPI Plan. It requires students to demonstrate their ability to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems, and to gain an appreciation for how the solutions to those problems might impact the world around them. This approach has proven to be uniquely well-suited to preparing young men and women for the demands of professional careers and lives on the brink of a new millennium, and has also become a model for change in technological education at the national level.
WPI has also been a pioneer in globalizing technological education. WPI established its first off-campus project center in 1974 in Washington, D.C., and its first international center in 1987 in London. Today, it maintains a network of project centers that span the globe. About a third of WPI undergraduates now travel overseas to complete professional level projects with international corporations and organizations, gaining an invaluable global perspective.
WPI awarded its first advanced degree in 1898. Today most of WPI's academic departments offer advanced degree programs that can be pursued on a full- or part-time basis. Graduate courses and continuing education programs are offered at WPI and at two branch campuses in eastern Massachusetts. The growth of the graduate program has helped the Institute build research efforts that have earned increasing recognition in the scientific and engineering communities. With the external support these efforts have attracted, WPI has created a host of advanced research laboratories and centers.
WPI's well-maintained physical plant is an important contributor to the success of its programs. Of the 31 major campus buildings, 17 have been built or acquired since 1962 and a number of historic buildings have been fully renovated in recent decades. WPI's state-of-the-art campuswide data network connects every laboratory, classroom, office and residence hall room at WPI, linking members of the campus community to each other and, through the Internet, to computer users around the world.
WPI's attractively landscaped 80-acre campus, bordered by public parks and scenic residential areas, is only a few minutes walk from downtown Worcester. Situated in the heart of New England, WPI is adjacent to one of the largest concentrations of high-technology industries in the nation.
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