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. 

IQP at Worcester Art Museum
IQP at Worcester Art Museum

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.

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.

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

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.

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Thailand Project Center
Thailand Project Center

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Bar Harbor Maine Project Center
Bar Harbor Maine Project Center

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Boston Mass. Project Center
Boston Mass. Project Center

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Cape Town South Africa Project Center
Cape Town South Africa Project Center

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Namibia Project Center
Namibia Project Center

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Nantucket Mass. Project Center
Nantucket Mass. Project Center

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San Juan Costa Rica Project Center
San Juan Costa Rica Project Center

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Santa Fe New Mexico Project Center
Santa Fe New Mexico Project Center

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Venice Italy Project Center
Venice Italy Project Center

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Washington DC Project Center
Washington DC Project Center

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Wellington New Zealand Project Center
Wellington New Zealand Project Center

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Worcester England Project Center
Worcester England 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. Hear from some recent Award Finalists.

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

News

Maria DeJesus, Shelter Director at Friendly House, with Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director
Maria DeJesus, Shelter Director at Friendly House, with Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director
May 10, 2019

Media Coverage

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.”  

The Guardian

A case study: The effects of project based learning almost 50 years after Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) re-engineered its technological education.

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