Graduate Qualifying Projects

Graduate Qualifying Project (GQP)

Data Science MS Program

All students in their final semester of the data science MS program complete a capstone experience that allows them to put their acquired data science and analytics skills to use as they work on a real-world problem facing a sponsoring company or organization.

In the spirit of WPI's forward-looking, project-based education, the Graduate Qualifying Project (GQP) allows students to work on an authentic project for a sponsor. Under the direction and guidance of WPI’s world-class data science faculty, teams of three or four students use sponsor-supplied data for analysis and data science tools to develop and advance solutions for the sponsors in a wide range of project scenarios.

This project-experience allows students who have completed 24 credits of intensive data science graduate credits to integrate theory and practice using their problem-solving capabilities, applying data science and analytics skills to a real-world problem faced by a business or organization. 

GQP students use comprehensive data science skills such as computer programming, artificial intelligence, data cleaning, machine learning and deep learning, big data management, statistics, cloud computing, and visualization. They use industry-standard analytical software tools appropriate for the project to tackle the given challenges.

As of Fall 2023, 500+ students have engaged in 100+ projects by 40+ industry partners over the past 9 years. 

Why sponsor a student project at WPI?

  • A student/faculty team is committed to working on your organization’s specific problem.
  • Teams employ cutting-edge research, techniques, and theories. 
  • Projects maintain close sponsor-faculty collaboration. 
  • Return on investments often exceed initial costs. 
  • Sponsoring projects provides a valuable opportunity to screen for future talent.

Program Logistics 

All GQPs employ timeline planning, assessment, reflection, implementation, and product delivery for completion of the project. 

Through the GQP process, students strengthen the following skills and ideas:

  • Apply state-of-the-art techniques and technologies to tackle complex data challenges.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary team experiences, deepening their academic training via practical experiences.
  • Get exposed to new techniques and technologies in data science, expanding their repertoire of skills.
  • Set and meet milestones for the project monitoring their and their team’s progression through the project. 
  • Provide constructive suggestions to stakeholders relaying the technical results in a professional manner.
  • Maintain a positive and productive relationship with the team, mentors, and sponsors.
  • Submit well-documented deliverables to sponsors from software, recommendations, reports, and/or presentations.
  • Establish professional connections and experiences instrumental for their long-term professional careers.

Our Industry Partnerships

WPI’s Data Science Executive Advisory Board prioritizes industry partnerships with exceptional corporations, both regionally and internationally. Their participation and our other top executives are imperative to helping drive the success of our program and to meeting the needs of corporate America, particularly in conjunction with our sponsored GQPs, which give students the opportunity to work on real-world problems for the businesses with whom they collaborate.

To learn more about how you can become an industry partner, visit our website here

Data Science GQP | A Success Story

Pfizer Corporation

WPI and Pfizer have a history of collaborating successfully on innovative projects. The Data Science Program's 'Graduate Qualifying Project' has already seen teams of students work on cutting-edge projects, on site at Pfizer's research headquarters.

“We are confident that our students are absolutely ready to transition into their professional careers right from our degree program, fostered by this priceless GQP project experience supported by our DS faculty and extraordinary company mentors.”

—Elke Rundensteiner, director of WPI’s data science program.

WPI Transfer Honors Award

“I want to add my congratulations to your students for the phenomenal work they did on our project. I expect we will continue to collaborate on future projects with WPI students,”

—Lynne Handanyan, Pfizer

Start Expanded

“WPI taught me how to think like a research scientist and to not discount the bounds on what can be achieved. I've learned it's important to me that I work in a collaborative and supportive environment and that collaboration isn't exclusive of personal high performance.”

—Claire Danaher ’19 MS