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The International Development, Environment, and Sustainability (IDEaS) program encourages students to challenge convention while giving them the tools and support they need to examine, tackle, and ultimately solve the world’s most urgent environmental, social, and technological crises.

Because these problems touch upon people, nature, planetary systems, and technologies, it’s imperative that their solutions are just as comprehensive and all-encompassing, utilizing scientific and engineering approaches informed by social sciences, humanities, and arts.

In keeping with this goal, the IDEaS program offers a major and minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ESS), where students learn to strike a balance between improving quality of life and honoring humankind’s responsibility to natural resources. Students may select ESS as a stand-alone major, or pair it with another degree program ranging from chemical engineering and biology to chemistry and civil engineering. In addition, the new minor in Science and Engineering for International Development allows students to examine social and societal challenges from a multidisciplinary lens.

As part of the IDEaS program, students become proficient engineers and scientists who are skilled in the complexities of human nature.

Degrees & Certificates

Degree is also offered online.
Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD
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Academic Technology Center
All day
Fuller Laboratories
Posters for the GRIE Poster session should be submitted to the ATC by February 2nd.

Media Coverage

WPI was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Ed's Teaching Newsletter. Beth McMurtrie, the Chronicle writer, attended a presentation by Geoffrey Pfeifer, associate teaching professor of philosophy and international and global studies, and Derren Rosbach, associate teaching professor of environmental studies, as part of WPI’s 2019 Institute for Project-Based Learning. She wrote about designing project-centered courses for first-year students.



WGBH’s Morning Edition” profiled bird research by Associate Teaching Professor Marja Bakerman, “Tracking Massachusetts’ Disappearing Whip-Poor-Wills”. The research project, a collaboration between WPI and Mass Wildlife, features catching and putting GPS tags on the birds to collect data on their travels,” the report stated.  

construction worker digging a trench

Bettering the Environment

Faculty and students unite in their drive to better the environment. WPI’s hands-on projects deliver practical experience in areas such as sustainability studies, environmental justice, environmental sciences, and environmental politics.

professor holding a book teaching a student

Working Together for Change

The collaborative environment in WPI’s Social Science & Policy Studies Department allows students and faculty to work closely to understand a human world where technology is growing at a rapid rate.

Worcester Project Center

Professor Rob Krueger is the founding director of the Worcester Project Center. Learn how that initiative launched a local move toward sustainable development.


most innovative schools 
U.S. News & World Report (2023)


of students are eligible for a Global Scholarship to complete life-changing project work


global project centers on six continents

Critical Urban Moments

Read Professor Robert Krueger’s blog, Critical Urban Moments for reflective and thoughtful comments on issues ranging from urban design to sustainability to climate change.

Career Possibilities

A degree in Environmental & Sustainability Studies opens career possibilities in diverse and growing fields such as academia, government, legal, or environmental.