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The Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is one of the most distinctive elements of the WPI Plan and WPI’s signature project-based curriculum, giving every WPI student the experience of working in interdisciplinary teams to solve a problem or need that lies at the intersection of science and society. 

Unlike an academic course, this nine-credit-hour requirement involves students working in teams, with students not in their major, to tackle an issue that relates science, engineering, and technology to society. Sustainability serves as a common theme for IQPs, many of which address problems related to energy, environment, sustainable development, education, cultural preservation, and technology policy.

WPI students work on a project in Australia. alt
WPI students work on a project in Australia.

Be Immersed. WPI in the World.

Participating in a global experience is an invaluable part of a WPI education, which is why we’re excited and proud to announce that beginning with the Class of 2022, all students will receive a scholarship up to $5,000 to complete a global project. Improve water efficiency in pueblos in New Mexico or identify solutions for traffic congestion in Acadia National Park in Maine—both are examples of how WPI students have created change in their own lives and the world through their IQPs. Whether you decide on a project center across the city or across the world, It’s the experience that takes you further, and we can’t wait to see where yours will take you.

A Degree Requirement that Changes Students, and the World

Through the IQP, WPI science, engineering, and business students immerse themselves in problems of societal importance—problems that matter to people and communities. They bring ingenious approaches to an astounding array of challenges—and the projects fundamentally change the students, building leaders who possess passion, proficiency, and a certainty that their life’s work can change the world.

Paraguay Project Center alt
Paraguay Project Center
Thailand Project Center alt
Thailand Project Center
Bar Harbor Maine Project Center alt
Bar Harbor Maine Project Center
Boston Mass. Project Center alt
Boston Mass. Project Center
Cape Town South Africa Project Center alt
Cape Town South Africa Project Center
Namibia Project Center alt
Namibia Project Center
Nantucket Mass. Project Center alt
Nantucket Mass. Project Center
Rabat Morocco Project Center alt
Rabat Morocco Project Center
San Juan Costa Rica Project Center alt
San Juan Costa Rica Project Center
Santa Fe New Mexico Project Center alt
Santa Fe New Mexico Project Center
Thessaloniki Greece Project Center alt
Thessaloniki Greece Project Center
Venice Italy Project Center alt
Venice Italy Project Center
Washington DC Project Center alt
Washington DC Project Center
Wellington New Zealand Project Center alt
Wellington New Zealand Project Center
Worcester England Project Center alt
Worcester England Project Center
Worcester MA Project Center alt
Worcester MA Project Center

Making a Difference Near and Far

On-Campus

Here on campus, students engage in IQPs working closely with faculty advisors or through one of our on-campus project centers that bring together groups of IQP teams and advisors with similar project topics. Examples include energy, water and transportation projects focused on making sustainability a daily part of campus life. Search for other on-campus opportunities

In Local Communities

Through the IQP, students can make a huge social and economic impact right here in Massachusetts. A number of students engage in IQPs at our local project centers in Worcester, Springfield, Boston, and Nantucket.  One local publication in Nantucket, N Magazine talks about the impact WPI students have on this local community.

Around the Globe

Through the Global Projects Program (GPP), students collaborate with faculty advisors, sponsors, and community members to complete IQPs at one of our many Project Centers around the globe, including New Zealand, Thailand, and Cape Town, South Africa.

President’s IQP Award

The President's IQP Awards recognize the student teams whose conception, performance and presentation of their Interactive Qualifying Project has been judged outstanding in focusing on the relationships among science, technology, and the needs of society. 

The WPI students provided an invaluable resource to the Department of Conservation, New Zealand. They provided insight into the public perception surrounding the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin, while working to improve public knowledge.
William Arlidge
The Marine Species and Threats Team, Department of Conservation
WPI Project Sponsor
The students' work introduced the Museum to new possibilities for the collection of data. The results will also feed into aspects of our exhibition development and the likely changes we will make to the gallery displays.
Tom Hockenhull
British Museum
WPI Project Sponsor
For $5,000, we had a WPI project team identify emerging fire safety issues with the rise of green building technologies. We re-wrote the project report in the form of a grant application and won a $500,000 Department of Homeland Security grant.
Roy W. Deppa, P.E.
National Association of State Fire Marshals
WPI Project Sponsor
The Coast Guard was under tremendous pressure to produce a report to Congress mandated by the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988. The WPI project team developed recommendations to Congress on behalf of the Coast Guard.
M. M. Rosecrans, Captain
U.S Coast Guard (Ret.)
WPI Project Sponsor
This project was a great success. The students' plan will serve as a blueprint for all the other areas where we intend to build more community centers. The impact on this poverty-stricken community has been significant.
Dianne Womersley
The Shaster Foundation
WPI Project Sponsor

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Center focuses on helping students’ innovative ideas turn into reality through funding and mentoring of Interactive Qualifying Projects. The Center also serves as a project collaboration space to support student IQP work.

Global Impact

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

While WPI students have long since wrapped up their grade school careers, the ones who spent their summers at theAcadia National Park Project Center to complete their Interactive Qualifying Projects (IQPs) would have quite the stories to tell—and not just about their completed project work.

Student Impact: Jeremy Trilling '22

Trilling has the kind of imagination that’s exciting and a little mind-boggling—one that envisions a future where the jet stream moves packages, and people, around the world.

Media Coverage

Associate Professor Elisabeth Stoddard of the Department of Integrative & Global Studies within The Global School spoke with NBC10 as part of their Climate 2022 coverage about the Farm Stay Project Center in Paxton, Massachusetts. Through the partnership with Turn Back Time, WPI students are helping some of the youngest learners get excited about environmental education through the university’s project-based education.

Professor Joseph Sarkis, Foisie Business School, was quoted in an article by the New England Innovation Academy (NEIA) on WPI’s signature project-based curriculum, the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP). A group of WPI juniors teamed up to complete an IQP involving sixth-grade curriculum at the NEIA, which served as project sponsor.  “The WPI IQPs serve many purposes and were designed as such. We seek to allow the students leeway in the paths they wish to link theory and practice. As advisors, we may provide general guidance, but students need to plan the project and execute it,” Sarkis said.

Calendar

Sep21
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Innovation Studio
Calling all community members! You’re invited to participate in the upcoming in-person Tech Advisors Network meeting. We’re excited for you to meet and talk with several of the startups and student projects!