WPI Establishes New Combined BS/MS Program in Learning Sciences & Technologies
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has launched a new five-year BS/MS option that allows students to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in any major and a Master of Science degree in Learning Sciences and Technologies, an interdisciplinary field focused on how students in kindergarten through 12th grade learn and the tools and techniques that can make education more effective.
The BS/MS option represents an expansion of WPI’s Learning Sciences and Technologies program, which brings together computer and data scientists, psychologists, and mathematicians. The program launched in 2010 offering MS and PhD degrees, and it concentrates on student learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and English.
Faculty members blend social and scientific approaches in research that has been supported by more than $85 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and private foundations. The research has led to technologies shown to improve teaching and learning in schools across the country, such as ASSISTments, a digital math platform developed by William Smith Dean’s Professor of Computer Science Neil Heffernan, and Associate Professor Erin Ottmar's products related to Graspable Math, an algebra learning platform.
“Our graduate program features strong relationships with K-12 schools, which gives WPI graduate students opportunities to pursue valuable research that addresses the critical need for better learning tools and techniques,” said Heffernan, who is director of the Learning Sciences and Technologies program. “The new BS/MS option allows undergraduates to quickly and efficiently earn a master’s degree and prepare for jobs in educational technology, data science, academia, and other fields.”
The BS/MS option gives students an accelerated pathway to two degrees by counting certain courses in computer science, data science, psychology, mathematics, and business toward both an undergraduate and graduate degree. An undergraduate’s Major Qualifying Project, a research project that is a cornerstone of WPI education, also can count toward both degrees. This newest BS/MS is hosted within the School of Arts and Sciences, one of WPI’s four schools and a major contributor to the university’s interdisciplinary programs that bring together different fields to create opportunities for students to gain cross-disciplinary skills.
“A BS/MS program is a really attractive opportunity for WPI students, because it can save a student time and money,” said Terri Camesano, dean of graduate studies. “The university’s programs are so flexible that a student can pursue the BS and MS in the same field or different fields. A combined degree can qualify graduates for higher salaries and open up expanded job opportunities.”