WPI's Department of Integrative & Global Studies (DIGS) is a unique academic department that functions as a gateway for students and faculty to connect with and make a difference in communities around the world.
As part of The Global School at WPI, the department serves three vital components of WPI’s project-based learning model. The Great Problems Seminar gives students and faculty the opportunity to combine disciplinary lenses to explore holistic approaches to global problem solving. The Interactive Qualifying Project is a distinctive interdisciplinary project experience that challenges students to examine the impact of science and technology on society to address social issues and human needs. The Global Projects Program is WPI’s signature study- and work-away program.
Building on WPI’s distinctive interdisciplinary, project-based approach to education, a Community Climate Adaptation (CCA) Master’s program—a joint program between the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and DIGS—offers students training to support communities and organizations as they adapt to the impacts of a changing climate around the globe. Students also have the opportunity to pursue Individually Designed Interdisciplinary Majors that are approved, supported, and overseen through the department.
Through DIGS, new research and academic programs will continue to emerge and develop through a dedication to interdisciplinary research with real-world impacts.
Tackling the World's Problems
In the Great Problems Seminar (GPS), first-year students tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems, helping them to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed not only for the rest of their college career, but for life. This two-term, introductory project-based course—taught by two professors from different disciplines—allows students to step outside their disciplines, work in teams, and delve into issues of global importance.
Project Immersion: Bar Harbor
WPI students aren’t your typical learners, and the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is not your typical study abroad. Each term, students and faculty members travel to one of more than 50 project centers around the world to put theory into practice. Follow 20 students and one faculty member as they travel to Bar Harbor, Maine and embark on a distinctive immersive project experience working with a local sponsoring organization.