Interactive Qualifying Project

A student surveying a forest

The Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) is one of the most distinctive elements of the WPI Plan and WPI’s signature project-based curriculum, giving every WPI student the experience of working in interdisciplinary teams to solve a problem or need that lies at the intersection of science and society. 

Unlike an academic course, this nine-credit-hour requirement involves students working in teams, with students not in their major, to tackle an issue that relates science, engineering, and technology to society. Sustainability serves as a common theme for IQPs, many of which address problems related to energy, environment, sustainable development, education, cultural preservation, and technology policy.

Be Immersed. WPI in the World.

Participating in a global experience is an invaluable part of a WPI education, which is why we’re excited and proud to announce that beginning with the Class of 2022, all students will receive a scholarship up to $5,000 to complete a global project. Improve water efficiency in pueblos in New Mexico or identify solutions for traffic congestion in Acadia National Park in Maine—both are examples of how WPI students have created change in their own lives and the world through their IQPs. Whether you decide on a project center across the city or across the world, It’s the experience that takes you further, and we can’t wait to see where yours will take you.

A Degree Requirement that Changes Students, and the World

Through the IQP, WPI science, engineering, and business students immerse themselves in problems of societal importance—problems that matter to people and communities. They bring ingenious approaches to an astounding array of challenges—and the projects fundamentally change the students, building leaders who possess passion, proficiency, and a certainty that their life’s work can change the world.

Making a Difference Near and Far

On-Campus

Here on campus, students engage in IQPs working closely with faculty advisors or through one of our on-campus project centers that bring together groups of IQP teams and advisors with similar project topics. Examples include energy, water and transportation projects focused on making sustainability a daily part of campus life. Search for other on-campus opportunities

In Local Communities

Through the IQP, students can make a huge social and economic impact right here in Massachusetts. A number of students engage in IQPs at our local project centers in Worcester, Springfield, Boston, and Nantucket.  One local publication in Nantucket, N Magazine talks about the impact WPI students have on this local community.

Around the Globe

Through the Global Projects Program (GPP), students collaborate with faculty advisors, sponsors, and community members to complete IQPs at one of our many Project Centers around the globe, including New Zealand, Thailand, and Cape Town, South Africa.

President’s IQP Award

The President's IQP Awards recognize the student teams whose conception, performance and presentation of their Interactive Qualifying Project has been judged outstanding in focusing on the relationships among science, technology, and the needs of society. 

The WPI students provided an invaluable resource to the Department of Conservation, New Zealand. They provided insight into the public perception surrounding the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin, while working to improve public knowledge.
  • William Arlidge
  • The Marine Species and Threats Team, Department of Conservation
  • WPI Project Sponsor
Title
Identifying an information need
Body
  • Deconstructing a research question and identifying its key concepts.
  • Identifying and developing a focused research topic or research problem.
  • Generating keywords and synonyms for key research concepts.
  • Recognizing that information needs evolve throughout the research process.
  • Identifying stakeholders and their information needs.
Start Expanded
Off
For $5,000, we had a WPI project team identify emerging fire safety issues with the rise of green building technologies. We re-wrote the project report in the form of a grant application and won a $500,000 Department of Homeland Security grant.
  • Roy W. Deppa, P.E.
  • National Association of State Fire Marshals
  • WPI Project Sponsor
The Coast Guard was under tremendous pressure to produce a report to Congress mandated by the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988. The WPI project team developed recommendations to Congress on behalf of the Coast Guard.
  • M. M. Rosecrans, Captain
  • U.S Coast Guard (Ret.)
  • WPI Project Sponsor
This project was a great success. The students' plan will serve as a blueprint for all the other areas where we intend to build more community centers. The impact on this poverty-stricken community has been significant.
  • Dianne Womersley
  • The Shaster Foundation
  • WPI Project Sponsor

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Center focuses on helping students’ innovative ideas turn into reality through funding and mentoring of Interactive Qualifying Projects. The Center also serves as a project collaboration space to support student IQP work.

Global Impact

A Big Impact Down Under

The popular project center in Australia gives students the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects. 

Student Spotlight: Eugena Choi '24

When it comes to her path in life, both academically and personally, Eugena Choi is a product of her environment—literally.

Field Work in Sustainability

Don Seville ’92 uses systems thinking to improve farming and food.

A Global Experience: No Plane Required

Worcester Community Project Center is tackling something new: giving students a global experience in a local context through the Local Latino Projects Program.

Advancing Resiliency Projects in Puerto Rico

In Spring 2021, sensing that pandemic-fueled international travel restrictions were not going away anytime soon, Professor Emeritus Scott Jiusto and Associate Professor Gbetonmasse Somasse began looking for an alternative travel experience for students scheduled to head to the Cape Town, South Africa, Project Center they co-direct. They weren’t alone. Many global project center directors were faced with the same conundrum, recognizing that—for many students—leaving campus and traveling abroad are essential parts of the distinctive Interactive Qualifying Project experience.

A Project Center Close to Home

“Whether it’s because of on-campus responsibilities or a local job, not all students want to travel far [for their IQP],” says Lisa Stoddard, associate professor of teaching and director of the Farm Stay Project Center. “Regardless of where they go, we want all students to have the chance to experience the mainstay of a WPI education.”

In-person Projects Return to Acadia National Park

While WPI students have long since wrapped up their grade school careers, the ones who spent their summers at theAcadia National Park Project Center to complete their Interactive Qualifying Projects (IQPs) would have quite the stories to tell—and not just about their completed project work.

Student Impact: Jeremy Trilling '22

Trilling has the kind of imagination that’s exciting and a little mind-boggling—one that envisions a future where the jet stream moves packages, and people, around the world.

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