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WPI Launches New Graduate Program Targeting Innovation in Global Development

The transdisciplinary approach aims to prepare future leaders and innovators through collaborative work.
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Taking its mission of helping solve global problems to the next level, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has rolled out a new graduate program that prepares students with the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to work with partners around the globe and collectively build safer, sustainable, and more livable communities. 

The Master’s Degree in Science & Technology for Innovation in Global Development allows students to combine their passion for technological and scientific innovation with cross-cultural design thinking for the creation of self-sufficient and sustainable economies around the globe. The program prepares students to consider multiple factors and apply their scientific knowledge and technical skills—their understanding of climate and the environment, for example, or their ability to design a bridge or a medical device— when working with various partners such as government officials, policymakers, local leaders and community members. Through collaborations, problems can be addressed and potential outcomes considered to co-create sustainable solutions with lasting impact that benefit all stakeholders.

“This transdisciplinary master’s program changes the way students consider problem-solving in communities locally and around the world. Whether an applicant has a BA or a BS, this degree program offers opportunities to create change that makes a positive difference in people’s lives,” says Rob Krueger, interim head, Department of Social Science and Policy Studies, and director of the new program.



One Student's Story

Meron Tadesse's vision to work for global change at home

True to WPI’s collaborative approach, the program brings together students and faculty mentors from diverse social, cultural, and academic backgrounds. The departments involved in the program include Social Sciences and Policy Studies, Humanities and Arts, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Robotics, Chemical Engineering, and Materials Science. The combination of these areas of study provides students the unique opportunity to learn multiple perspectives, based in STEM, and will gain critical insight into how to develop responsible, sustainable, and culturally appropriate solutions through co-creating solutions that address a myriad of global problems.

Students pursuing this degree must complete a minimum of 30 credits at the graduate level and can personalize their study with thematically related coursework and research to focus on a particular area, such as biology, business or economics, civil and environmental engineering, and data science, among others. In some cases, students may enter the program with advanced standing if they have a related graduate certificate. The core courses feature WPI’s distinct approach to design theory and practice, which will develop a student’s strategic thinking skills, empathy toward practice, and cross-cultural competency. Students will be required to complete a hands-on project as well.

This is the first of several new degree programs that help advance the mission of The Global School. Launched in 2020, The Global School prepares true global problem solvers through undergraduate and graduate programs founded on the university’s half-century of leadership in project-based learning—an educational approach infused across the entire curriculum.