Message from Provost Bruce Bursten

Academics are at the heart of what we do

On behalf of the academic enterprise at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, I am pleased to welcome you to our special institution—the third-oldest technology-centered university in the United States. Academics are at the heart of what we do at WPI. Our distinctive, world-class educational opportunities, passionate and brilliant faculty, and cutting-edge research programs provide superb preparation for our highly-motivated students and fuel a discovery engine that generates new ideas and solutions to serve our nation and the world.

Undergraduate students see and serve the world

The undergraduate academic experience at WPI is centered on the WPI Plan, which was created in late 1960s to provide distinctive hands-on opportunities found at very few universities. At the heart of the Plan is a focus on project-based learning, in which our students work with our faculty to conceive and complete a number of research projects during their college years. We are particularly proud of one of those projects. It is a unique degree requirement called the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), in which our students undertake applied research that connects science or technology with social issues and human needs, such as sustainability, water supply, cultural preservation, food production, and clean energy. A large number of our students make these contributions at our numerous project centers around the globe, giving them a wonderful opportunity to see and serve the world and giving WPI a significant global presence. Later in their undergraduate career, students undertake their Major Qualifying Project (MQP), in which they take a deep dive into an area within their major and learn how to conduct research at the frontiers of science and engineering.

We are particularly proud of a unique degree requirement called the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP). Our students undertake applied research that connects science or technology with social issues and human needs.

Our undergraduate students thrive in this project-based learning environment; in addition to exploring deeply a variety of topics through coursework, they learn how to collaborate, how to work in teams, how to be leaders, and how to explore the unknown. They leave this experience extraordinarily well-prepared for their next aspiration, whether it is graduate or professional education or employment. The record of placement of WPI students is among the best in the country, and they make us proud with their record of success in life.

Graduate programs: original scholarship at the highest levels

The opportunities for graduate education at WPI are enormous and continue to grow. Our broad portfolio of master's and doctoral programs allow students to undertake original scholarship at the highest levels in science, engineering, and business. In addition to graduate programs in our departments, the multidisciplinary approach to knowledge-generation and discovery at WPI has led to forward-thinking graduate programs in some of the most currently important multidisciplinary areas, such as robotics engineering, data science, interactive media and game development, environmental engineering, biotechnology, and entrepreneurship. Our graduate students leave WPI to take leadership positions in technology, science, and business around the world.

Our broad portfolio of master's and doctoral programs allow students to undertake original scholarship at the highest levels in science, engineering, and business.

Of course, the manifold accomplishments of our students would not be possible without the commitment and contributions of our extraordinary faculty. Like faculty members at other top universities, the faculty at WPI are proven experts in their fields who are conducting research at the far reaches of discovery. What sets WPI faculty apart is their deep commitment to working closely with students, in the classroom and in the explorations that are at the heart of project-based learning. Our faculty members are passionate about their disciplines and about our students. It is quite remarkable to see the magic that happens when passionate, brilliant professors work with bright, curious, and motivated students—and that happens daily at WPI.

More details on our project-based learning, our undergraduate and graduate academic programs, and our faculty members are elsewhere on our website and I encourage you to explore the distinctive academic aspects of our great university. You will see the WPI difference and the impact that it has on our students and our world. I hope you enjoy learning more about WPI, and encourage you to contact my colleagues or me if you want more information.

It is quite remarkable to see the magic that happens when passionate, brilliant professors work with bright, curious, and motivated students—and that happens daily at WPI.