The Major Qualifying Project (MQP) is a high-level research project all WPI students complete. The project is in your major field and lets you solve real-world problems and challenging research issues that might be similar to what you will find in your professional life.

Biomedical engineering students use the MQP to dig deep into research in their field, allowing them to get a jump on gaining skills and generating original ideas that are essential for working in this fast-paced field. A recent award-winning project involved students developing a low-cost phone-based malaria test.

Each project requires a substantial part of an academic year, culminating in a public project report on Project Presentation Day. With an MQP on your resume, you’ll have a leg up on the competition when it comes to launching your career or gaining admission to the best graduate schools.

Because the MQP is used to fulfill the design requirement for ABET accreditation, department requirements must be met regardless of the advisor's departmental affiliation or the number of biomedical engineering students on the project.

In addition to any special requirements made by the advisor, all project groups must do the following:

  • Keep a design notebook that documents the design process
  • Complete an MQP report
  • Orally present the project’s results at Project Presentation Day (and possibly at another department’s Project Presentation Day if your advisor or co-advisor is from a different department)

The design notebook documents the project’s design history and any other relevant material and becomes property of the department upon the project’s completion. Notebooks are available in the department.  

Students choose from several options for the oral presentation requirement of the MQP, beginning with the Biomedical Engineering Department's Project Presentation Day held in D-Term of each year.

If the advisors are all from outside the Biomedical Engineering Department, students may present at their department's Project Presentation Day event. Students are, however, also encouraged to present at the Biomedical Engineering event. If they are presenting solely in a department outside biomedical engineering, students must inform the biomedical engineering department prior to Project Presentation Day

Examples of recent MQPs in Biomedical Engineering:

System for Continuous Postoperative Monitoring in Microvascular Free Tissue Transfer

This MQP developed a novel system for remote and continuous monitoring of temperature and Doppler ultrasound signals for postoperative monitoring of microvascular free tissue transfer. The system effectively collects data from the transferred tissue flap, analyzes the data using a novel signal processing algorithm, and wirelessly uploads the results to a server where they can be viewed from any mobile device.

Students: Dennis Giaya, Rebecca Stolarczyk
Advisors: Yitzhak Mendelson, Raymond Dunn (UMMS), Samandar Dowlatshahi (UMMS)

Tissue Retractor for Distal Radius Fractures

This MQP team proposed a time- and money-saving self-retaining retractor that is able to expose the incision site, is adjustable, and replaces the need for additional surgeons during common surgeries to repair distal radius fractures.

Students: Jacquelyne DiTroia, Caroline Mazzola, Andres Monterroso, Patricia Swierk
Advisors: Kristen Billiar, Samandar Dowlatshahi (UMMS), Raymond Dunn (UMMS)

Canine Abdominal Palpation Training Device

This project designed and created a haptic teaching device for use by veterinary students to learn canine abdominal palpation skills. The device had to simulate the tactile sense of a canine abdomen including palpable organs and abnormalities to teach students diagnostic skills and the ability to recognize and identify abdominal abnormalities in canines.

Students: Anne Harris, Sean Murphy, Elizabeth Pellegrini, Alexandra Price
Advisors: Zoe Reidinger, Michael Stone (Tufts)

Major Qualifying Project Resources

The Biomedical Engineering Department has created an MQP manual and other packets to help students. The manual includes the format of the written report, examples of the report cover, and evaluation sheets used.

Community Partnerships

WPI works closely with area industries to provide outside project opportunities and ideas. At UMass Medical Center in Worcester, students work with physicians on projects that range from redesigning surgical tools to developing new monitoring equipment. At Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in nearby Grafton, students find many animal-related MQP opportunities.  

MQP/Projects Laboratory

Because project work is a significant component of a WPI education, the Biomedical Engineering Department maintains a dedicated laboratory for MQPs, IQPs (Interactive Qualifying Projects), and independent projects (Goddard Hall 006).

The facility contains network-attached PC-based computers, computer-based data acquisition systems, general electronic testing equipment, biomechanical and biomaterial testing equipment, and other common laboratory equipment and supplies. It also has equipment used in the study of cell culture, including biosafety cabinets, incubators, and microscopes.