Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) reports that it has received more than 7,000 applications for the undergraduate Class of 2015—a new record for the university that reflects a 6 percent increase over last year's record-setting total. Applications have grown by 43 percent in the last five years alone. In addition, the university continues to receive record numbers of undergraduate applications from women and underrepresented minorities. At the graduate level, WPI has already received 3,000 applications for fall 2011 admission, representing a 40 percent increase over last year and a 500 percent increase over the past five years.
"WPI is committed to developing new academic programs in emerging fields of study," said Kristin R. Tichenor, senior vice president for enrollment and institutional strategy. "Our fastest-growing programs include biomedical engineering, robotics engineering, interactive media and game design, and environmental engineering. All of these programs have seen double-digit increases in student majors, and the academic interests of our applicants this year underscore the appeal of these exciting new programs. WPI has long been recognized for offering students a strong return on investment. Making sure we offer innovative academic programs is part of that value proposition, and WPI is committed to giving students opportunities in these cutting-edge careers."
Much of the recent growth in applications and enrollments stems from strong interest in emerging fields of study, such as biomedical engineering, robotics, and game design. WPI has made deep investments in these programs—and student interest has grown accordingly.
In 2005, for example, WPI had 161 biomedical engineering majors. Since then, WPI has invested more than $100 million in life sciences education, research, and facilities—most notably via the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park (LSBC) and the George I Alden Life Sciences and Bioengineering Educational Center—and the number of biomedical engineering majors has nearly doubled. Now, 300 students are enrolled in this program, and this year, the number of applicants expressing interest in the field is well over 500—that is more than twice what it was five years ago.