WPI’s distinctive project-based educational model has been praised by the most recognized and valued resources in the academic world, as well as by those who know the benefits of a WPI education firsthand — WPI students and alumni. 

While we’ve never had any doubt about the value of this method of education, we now have powerful empirical evidence of its effectiveness—an extensive study of more than 2,500 WPI alumni has confirmed that there are lifelong professional and personal benefits of experiential, hands-on learning through project work.

The survey also revealed that alumni who completed a project off-campus at one of our domestic or international project centers reported more positive impact than alumni who did not. This was true in almost all areas, with notable differences in interpersonal and communication skills, world views, and personal impacts:

Of the more than 2,500 alumni across a span of 38 years who responded to this 2012 survey on the impact of their off-campus project experiences:

Diagram on Long-term Benefits

These WPI alumni confirmed the findings of a 2014 Gallup-Purdue index poll that showed students who undertook long-term college projects report more career satisfaction and stronger connections to professional satisfaction, advancement, and personal enrichment.

Project work can literally be life changing.
Mary Ellen Blunt ‘79
The way it changed my view of the world translates to multiple, different areas of my life. I look at my community as a much smaller piece of a larger world than I used to. I see diversity in a different way.
Nicholas Pelletier '09
From WPI and my projects I have developed a deep respect for human factors when it comes to engineering. You cannot underestimate those in terms of how they'll impact the design and your work on a team to produce results.
Mary Schubert '05
The biggest impact that project work had on me was the confidence level that it gave me to go out and take challenges head-on and have the confidence that I have a good chance of succeeding.
John Kopchik '77
It all applied instantly to what I needed to do when I got out of school. The groundwork was there because of the project.
Megan Holmes '05

Media Coverage

Under Emerging TechDigital Trends interviewed Craig Putnam, associate director of robotics engineering, about the student-led project that is developing the autonomous rover and payload-deploying drone. The goal is to find and safely destroy hidden munitions that kill or maim as many as 20,000 people around the world each year. Putnam told Digital Trends, “the goal was to come up with a system that was as low cost as reasonably possible so that it could be afforded by some remote village that has a problem with land mines in the area.”

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BBC News profiled WPI landmine-related research in this segment. “I believe we’re probably the first that’s been doing the robot drone duo in the context of looking for landmines. Initially, it was just the aerial part then we worked on the rover. Now we’re trying to bring it all together,” Craig Putnam, associate director, robotics engineering, told the BBC. The student teams are developing the autonomous rover and payload-deploying drone to find and safely destroy hidden munitions that kill or maim as many as 20,000 people around the world each year.

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