WPI’s distinctive project-based educational model has been praised by the most recognized and valued resources in the academic world, as well as by those who know the benefits of a WPI education firsthand — WPI students and alumni.

While we’ve never had any doubt about the value of this method of education, we now have powerful empirical evidence of its effectiveness—an extensive study of more than 2,500 WPI alumni has confirmed that there are lifelong professional and personal benefits of experiential, hands-on learning through project work.

From a 2012 survey of alumni from the classes of 1974 through 2011, conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute, alumni reported that project work influenced them in a wide range of ways. The study revealed that project work helped alumni develop professional abilities, foster professional advancement, enhance their world views, and enrich their personal lives. The survey delved even deeper to uncover the long-term professional and personal benefits of project-based learning, reporting that their project experiences positively impacted them across a range of areas:

  • Professional abilities such as developing ideas, solving problems, and using current technology
  • Interpersonal and communication skills, from being team players to taking leadership roles
  • Professional advancement and the ability to succeed and move ahead in business
  • Increased cultural awareness and expanded world views
  • Personal growth including character development and achieving a work/life balance
  • Continued connection to the WPI community

Of the more than 2,500 alumni across a span of 38 years who responded to this 2012 survey on the impact of their project experiences:

These WPI alumni confirmed the findings of a 2014 Gallup-Purdue index poll that showed students who undertook long-term college projects report more career satisfaction and stronger connections to professional satisfaction, advancement, and personal enrichment.

Project work can literally be life changing.
Mary Ellen Blunt ‘79
The way it changed my view of the world translates to multiple, different areas of my life. I look at my community as a much smaller piece of a larger world than I used to. I see diversity in a different way.
Nicholas Pelletier '09
From WPI and my projects I have developed a deep respect for human factors when it comes to engineering. You cannot underestimate those in terms of how they'll impact the design and your work on a team to produce results.
Mary Schubert '05
The biggest impact that project work had on me was the confidence level that it gave me to go out and take challenges head-on and have the confidence that I have a good chance of succeeding.
John Kopchik '77
It all applied instantly to what I needed to do when I got out of school. The groundwork was there because of the project.
Megan Holmes '05