All WPI students complete a Major Qualifying Project (MQP) in their senior year. The MQP is a high-level research and application project in the student's major field. In the Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program, students get out into the world to experience the kind of real-world problem solving that will soon characterize their professional careers. With an MQP on their resume, WPI students have a solid work experience history to help launch their careers or gain admission to the best graduate schools.

The MQP involves problems typical of those found in the student's professional discipline and addresses challenging research issues. These qualifying projects are robust and require a substantial part of an academic year, culminating in a project report and poster on Project Presentation Day.

Evan Sawyer's MQP

Evan Sawyer’s MQP, “Passive Home Design—A Guide to Remodeling and Building Highly Energy Efficient and Eco-Friendly Homes,” intended to inform a home builder, designer, or owner of the important differences between the production and design of a passive home and typical house construction.

Increasingly, energy conservation and eco-friendly products are becoming attractive to owners and builders who wish to build sustainably without sacrificing comfort or style. This building technique, when applied properly can develop homes that require no off-site energy input.

Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP)

WPI students also undertake an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) requirement in their junior year, one that's unique to the university. The IQP challenges students to address a problem that lies at the intersection of science and technology and social issues. The IQP is done under the direct guidance of one or more faculty advisors, usually in teams of two to four students.

This interdisciplinary requirement helps WPI graduates understand, as citizens and as professionals, how their careers will impact society at large. Generally, these projects involve some analysis of how technology affects, and is affected by, individuals and communities.