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.
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.
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 $5,000 scholarship to complete a global project. Improve water efficiency in pueblos in New Mexico or identify solutions for traffic congestion in Arcadia 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.
Making a Difference Near and Far
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. Hear from some recent Award Finalists.
Fabio Carrera, teaching professor and director of the Venice Project Center for 30 years, was interviewed for a lengthy feature story in The Guardian (UK) about the negative impact of tourism on Venice. In this article, Carrera, who tracks tourism flow and believes Venice’s maximum capacity for tourists per day should be better managed, noted that “no other city faces a bigger tourism challenge.”
A case study: The effects of project based learning almost 50 years after Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) re-engineered its technological education.