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The Major Qualifying Project (MQP) is a high-level research capstone project undertaken in the student's major field during senior year. It involves problems like those a student will typically find in a career setting.

Generally undertaken in teams, the MQP is an integral element of WPI's project-based learning, which offers exceptional preparation for successful and rewarding lives and careers.

MQPs give WPI students advanced experience in their field that can prove invaluable when entering the job market or applying to grad school. These individual projects are ambitious and require a substantial time commitment. The MQP culminates with the presentation of a project report and poster on the campus-wide Project Presentation Day in April.

Recent MQPs in the Social Science & Policy Studies Department include:

Improving U.S. Foster Care Service Allocation

The goal of this MQP is to improve the allocation of services for the United States foster care system. The current foster care system is strained, which is in part due to the opioid epidemic that has impacted the nation as a whole. Our team has investigated the use of predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve the service allocation of the foster care system. Through careful estimation of the effects of various factors (including allocated services) on time in the system for each foster child, along with our proposed mechanism to reallocate such services, our results demonstrate that there is significant potential to improve the foster care system as a whole, and should be carefully considered for future implementation.

Disposable Mentality: Evaluating the Reusable Container Program

The Reusable Container Program (RCP) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) presents students and faculty with an easy way to reduce their disposable plastic use on campus by replacing the disposable plastic food containers with reusable containers. This project evaluates the RCP through archival research and interviews to understand the motivation behind the programs creation and its current operation and use. The project provides insights and recommendations into the current program and future possibilities. 

A Comparative Analysis of Breastfeeding Policies in Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines

To combat malnutrition in children, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines have passed legislation on breastfeeding requirements. The laws in each of these three countries are framed differently. This paper analyzes each law with the goal of determining why the law is or is not successful. This analysis reviews policy implementation and enforcement, as well as the role of women’s rights in the framing of the law.

Analyzing Behavior Across Four Simple Economic Games

We present an experiment on the behavior of individual subjects across four simple economic games: the Dictator Game, the Ultimatum Bargaining Game, the Trust Game, and the Public Goods Game. Subjects complete the games using the strategy method with role reversal. We thus gather data from each subject that allows us to construct a full decision plan for each role in each game, and we then study the relationships between behavior at the individual subject level in the different games. The finding that choices in individual games are useful for predicting behavior in other games indicates that the decisions that people make in simple economic games have validity and relevance outside of the specific game in which the decisions were made.


View more MQPs in Social Science & Policy Studies!

Browse through our project database to find out about MQPs in the Social Science & Policy Studies Department.

What Is the Interactive Qualifying Project?

WPI’s other innovative required project is the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) which students complete in their junior year. The IQP requires students to work in teams to address a problem that lies at the intersection of science or technology with social issues and human needs. It is done under the direct guidance of one or more faculty advisors, usually in teams of 2 to 4 students.

The IQP helps students understand, as citizens and as professionals, how their careers will impact the larger society of which they are part. Generally, these projects involve some analysis of how technology affects, and is affected by, individuals and communities.

About 60 percent of all IQPs are completed through the Global Projects Program at one of WPI's Project Centers.