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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”