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.
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.
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.
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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.