Projects are at the core of the WPI curriculum, requiring students to apply the knowledge learned in classes and labs to real-world situations, developing solutions to problems that matter to real people. Project work helps students become better collaborators, critical thinkers, public speakers, and communicators— vital to success at WPI and the skills that distinguish WPI graduates throughout their careers.

Our signature project-based approach to undergraduate education, known as the WPI plan, prepares students for success. These great young minds 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. 

Students on Project-based Learning

Student Reflections 2015 | Rachel Wigell - Undergraduate

Student Reflections 2015 | Kelsey Stergiou - Undergraduate

Student Reflections 2015 | Jose Cueva - Undergraduate

Student Reflections 2015 | Jessica Williams - Undergraduate

Student Reflections 2015 | Eric Crevoiserat - Undergraduate

Student Reflections 2015 | Amanda Weis - Undergraduate

Student Reflections 2015 | Tushar Narayan - Undergraduate

Every student at WPI completes projects in addition to academic course work throughout their undergraduate experience – sometimes on-campus, sometimes off-campus at sites around the world. Project-based initiatives are integrated into the undergraduate education through classroom projects, projects in the first year, major capstone projects, community-based projects, study abroad projects and more. Most projects are undertaken in teams, an invaluable experience for getting things done in any profession, teaching students how to pool individual strengths and insights to accomplish something they could not do alone.

Project Work Pays Off

WPI’s distinctive project-based educational model has been lauded in the academic world for years, but unquestionably one of the most compelling acknowledgements is by those who know the benefits of a WPI education firsthand — WPI alumni. A 2012 survey of 2,500+ WPI alumni from the classes of 1974 through 2011 revealed the powerful impact of project-based learning on professional skills — and much more.

Life is Projects.
Michael Kentley '90
The practical, hands-on experience is unique and makes WPI a very special place.
Melissa Reeves '80
You realize that it isn't about the best technology in many, many cases. It's really about people understanding it, accepting it, and being able to use it every day, and that was definitely the biggest takeaway.
Gary Olszewski '94
This project work really helps students connect with the societal aspects of engineering, apply classroom concepts to problems, and learn how to work on a team.
Lillian Clark Jeznach '11
In the real world, the only answers that are important are the right ones. So that requires a different way of thinking, and you learn that from doing projects with people who actually depend on your answers being right.
Michael Kentley '90
To have an opportunity to be on a project where you need to try, re-evaluate, and try again was really more applicable to how you solve problems in the working world and in life outside of the classroom.
Megan Holmes '05
Project work broadened my perspective on, first, what a problem is in the real world, and, second, that it's not a math problem. There isn't always one right answer. You're involving a very complex world of human beings.
Mary Schubert '05
These projects really allowed me to see the impact on society that engineering can have. It made it fun, interesting, and relatable and really stimulated my interest in staying with engineering.
Lillian Clark Jeznach '11
This is real. This is going to make a difference for somebody.
Cindy Gagnon '82
This was very much a real-world experience.
Jennifer Borhegyi '92

Accolades for WPI's Project-based Learning Model


Most Popular Study Abroad Program

The Princeton Review (2016)

Most Underrated Colleges in America 

Business Insider (2015)

Of more than 1,500 colleges

Money Magazine Best Colleges List (2015)
1 of 50

colleges that create futures 

The Princeton Review (2016)
Of nearly 400 colleges and over 135,000 students surveyed nationally, WPI was the only technological university among the top 20.
Most Popular Study Abroad Program
Princeton Review 2016
WPI graduates learn to solve real-world problems through the school’s project-based learning curriculum. Within this system, students design and complete projects that combine what they’re learning in class with larger social and environmental issues.
Most Underrated Colleges in America
Business Insider 2015
WPI’s challenging and hands-on project program helps students obtain well-paying jobs and earn salaries “30% higher than schools that admit a similar demographic of students.
Best College List
Money Magazine 2015
WPI’s project-based education model provides multiple opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and gain “unique professional and social advantages” that help them excel after graduation.
Colleges that Create Futures
Princeton Review 2016

The Entrepreneurial Mindset and Project-based Learning

To continue meeting the educational and learning style needs of students, WPI is engaging students in developing an entrepreneurial mindset, which focuses on curiosity, connections and creating value to society.  WPI's project-based educational model offers a great platform for entrepreneurial minded learning. In January 2016, WPI Prof. Glenn Gaudette was named 2015 Outstanding Faculty of the Year by Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) for his work on a new campus program, Developing the Entrepreneurial Engineer, which is not only in line with the KEEN mission—developing entrepreneurial spirit in engineers—but also in line with WPI’s overall entrepreneurial perspective, with initiatives such as the Global Projects Program.