The Global School

Engaging Locally and Globally for a More Just, Ethical, and Thriving World   

Urgent global challenges require the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) practitioners to collaborate for a better world. This calls for education in inclusive globally minded approaches informed by the social sciences, humanities, and arts. 

The Global School responds to that need—as only WPI can.

Working in partnership with communities, The Global School empowers and inspires students to become civically engaged, compassionate and globally aware individuals. 

Rigorous academic preparation in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies–from the Great Problems Seminar in the first year and immersive field work through the Global Projects Program to our innovative graduate programs–gives students the critical knowledge, collaborative mindset, and methodological tools they need to advance progressive global research and meaningful community partnerships. 

The Global School’s undergraduate and graduate programs, founded on the university’s half-century of leadership in project-based learning, foster interdisciplinary, purpose-driven global research that is tied to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

Our Degree Programs

MS in Science and Technology for Innovation in Global Development

The global MS in science and technology for innovation gives students the opportunity to explore and apply knowledge in design thinking, global technology and development, and technological and scientific innovation to create real change with and within communities. Working collaboratively, student teams, faculty, and community partners identify and work to implement sustainable solutions that promote resilience and change that makes a positive difference for people.

MS in Community Climate Adaptation

With a collaborative and research-based focus, the Community Climate Adaptation MS degree program helps students gain the knowledge and field experience to address one of the great problems of our time. This is a joint-degree program offered through the Department of Integrative & Global Studies (DIGS) and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) where students work closely with each other, faculty, and community partners to address climate change and its impacts.  


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Project Work in the Global School

The Global School rests on a foundation of extraordinary project work conducted over the past half century and is bolstered with WPI's academic offerings and The Global School's intensive, field-based research approach. To prepare for meaningful careers where they can make real change in the world, students, faculty, and community partners collaborate on team-based, interdisciplinary projects that address real issues in more than 50 communities from the local Worcester region to as far away as Australia. This approach of co-creation transforms lives with ethical and sustainable solutions.

Students work with the university's Global Experience Office to ensure they are fully prepared for their global projects.

Great Problems Seminar Celebrates 15 Years

WPI's Great Problems Seminar (GPS) immerses first-year students in university-level research for complex global challenges. This signature program recently marked 15 years of preparing students for developing ethical global solutions, and it also has a new director.

Research in The Global School

Every student at WPI participates in The Global School research throughout their years here and particularly with their work in the Global Projects Program. The Global School crosses all disciplines to create a network of rich research opportunities and results that foster community-based action. Drawing on deep area knowledge and concern for social justice, our interdisciplinary research, in collaboration with governments, NGOs, and other global organizations, uses design thinking to develop solutions that support community needs and aspirations.

The Student and Alumni Perspective

Fulbright Scholar Solange Uwera's Path to WPI

Uwera came to WPI as a Fulbright Scholar and is finding an ideal fit between her ambitious academic pursuits and her varied personal interests.

A Student Perspective of this Degree

Hear Meron Tedasse ’20 BS and a current MS candidate in the Science and Technology for Innovation in Global Development program discuss the personal and global value of this degree.

Erin Bryan's Personalized Approach

Captivated by the discussions around climate change, Erin Bryan worked closely with Professor Sarah Strauss to guide an academic path that lets her pursue her passion while developing the skills she will need in her career.

Alumni Success Story: Kristophe Zephyrin '21

Even as a child, Zephyrin had grand ambitions to improve the human condition, starting with a dream of creating urban green spaces in his hometown of Houston, Texas. 

The Global School's Interdisciplinary Work

For more than five decades, WPI has been a globally focused university where the drive to use technology and innovation for societal good is prominent in everything we do. Whether it is an interdisciplinary research center that aims to improve public safety across the globe, a new regionally focused academic program, or a global partnership, The Global School's work supports and augments work across the university.

Project Centers Offer an Immersive, Interdisciplinary Experience

A Big Impact Down Under

The popular project center in Australia gives students the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects. 

A Global Experience: No Plane Required

The Worcester Community Project Center is tackling something new: giving students a global experience in a local context through the Local Latino Projects Program.

Advancing Resiliency Projects in Puerto Rico

In Spring 2021, sensing that pandemic-fueled international travel restrictions were not going away anytime soon, Professor Emeritus Scott Jiusto and Associate Professor Gbetonmasse Somasse began looking for an alternative travel experience for students scheduled to head to the Cape Town, South Africa, Project Center they co-direct. They weren’t alone. Many global project center directors were faced with the same conundrum, recognizing that—for many students—leaving campus and traveling abroad are essential parts of the distinctive Interactive Qualifying Project experience.

A Project Center Close to Home

“Whether it’s because of on-campus responsibilities or a local job, not all students want to travel far [for their IQP],” says Lisa Stoddard, associate professor of teaching and director of the Farm Stay Project Center. “Regardless of where they go, we want all students to have the chance to experience the mainstay of a WPI education.”

In-person Projects Return to Acadia National Park

When in-person project work resumed after the pandemic, Maine's Acadia National Park Project Center was the first to welcome back students and faculty. “It was great to just see the students arrive, and to see them in person for the first time in this environment that was so great," says Project Center Director and Professor of Music Frederick Bianchi, who cites being able to meet and work with his students in person as the highlight of this year’s trip. "All of us being there together was just perfect.”

Climate Change and the "A Word"

Scientists and engineers at WPI are helping the world adapt to the inevitable changes that a warming climate is bringing to the planet.

Do you need more information?

For international research opportunities or institutional collaborations with The Global School contact Dean Mimi Sheller.

For Global Projects Program partnership or project sponsor opportunities, contact Associate Dean Kent Rissmiller.

For graduate studies information in The Global School, contact Professor Sarah Strauss.

For graduate admissions information, contact Graduate Admissions.

For general information, contact Dawn Farmer.