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The Global Leader in Project-based Learning

Projects are at the heart of a WPI education, and our signature project-based approach to a STEM undergraduate education, known as the WPI Plan, is instrumental in preparing students for the future.

Through a project-based education, students discover the value of learning by doing. They take the hypothetical and make it real, applying skills and concepts from the classroom to real problems, leading to real-world experience and impact. Each journey is distinctive, but regardless of the paths students follow, these hands-on learning experiences help them build confidence, leadership, collaborative, and critical thinking skills. It’s not just what students learn, but how they learn, that proves invaluable for a lifetime—professionally and personally.

Theory

Theory

In 1970, WPI’s STEM curriculum was radically reengineered to provide students with hands-on learning experiences through a project-based education. Seven-week terms create space for team-based, real-world experiences, and a unique grading system with a focus on teamwork and experimentation allows for experiential learning rooted in faculty guidance. And since we believe a well-rounded STEM education is crucial to ensuring students become better scientists, engineers, and business leaders, all students are required to complete the equivalent of a minor in the humanities and arts.​

0%

failing grades 

The WPI Plan
100%

of undergraduates 

complete the equivalent of a minor in Humanities & Arts
7 weeks

per term for undergraduate studies

The WPI Plan
13:1

student-to-faculty ratio 

Practice

Practice

It's not theory then practice. It's theory AND practice.

WPI Great Problems Seminar

The best way to ensure hands-on opportunities in college is through projects, and that’s exactly what’s at the core of the WPI project-based education. Experiential learning is key here, requiring students to delve into authentic problems, and extend their classroom knowledge to real-world experience. From day one of the Great Problems Seminar, early exposure to the culture and practice of project-based learning and learning by doing is motivational (97% of first year students return for their sophomore year), laying the foundation for classroom work and the team-based major projects they’ll eventually undertake.

Overall, my collective experiences with projects at WPI have revealed and prepared me for the challenges and rewards of real-life work in a powerful, firsthand way.
Daniel W.
Robotics Engineering
Through project work, I have learned to look critically at problems I don’t necessarily have the answer to. I’ve also gotten better at communicating my ideas through both writing and speaking.
Elizabeth Q.
Biomedical Engineering
WPI’s project-based curriculum has impacted my education by allowing me to gain more experience working in an unstructured environment where my group and I must set our own due dates and goals.
Hannah J.
Interactive Media & Game Development
The project-based curriculum has given me the opportunity to gain valuable experience solving real life problems. Overall, I feel like I am part of a supportive community of people here at WPI who all have the same goal of changing the world.
Jacob S.
Management Engineering
Through project work, I learned how to work efficiently in a team of vastly different personalities and to manage my time to stay on task, produce high-quality work, and meet critical deadlines.
Sara L.
Biology/Biotechnology
Project work has empowered me to believe in my ability to succeed and see the values of my own skills and talents, as well as learning how to work as a team to create powerful outcomes.
Shaye J.
Chemical Engineering
Working on a project that has the potential to create a significant change has shown me how an engineering mind can have profound social and cultural impact if applied in the right way.
Jason B.
Chemical Engineering
Global

Global

This is not your typical study abroad—WPI students Journey to Albania

We believe a global consciousness leads to a broader perspective, which is why many of WPI’s projects aren’t just on campus, but around the world. Our Global Projects Program includes 50+ diverse project centers located across six continents ​where students complete interdisciplinary and major capstone STEM projects, as well as work focusing on the humanities and arts. Fully immersed in hands-on learning experiences and cultures around the globe, these real-world experiences are often transformative for students, having a profound and lasting impact.

100%

of students receive a Global Scholarship to complete life-changing project work

50+

global project centers on six continents

46

years of undergraduate project experiences through the Global Projects Program

14,500

undergraduate students with off-campus project experience 

Impact

Impact 

Life-changing. That’s how students and alumni describe WPI's distinctive approach to project-based learning. Tackling authentic problems that matter to others helps students develop perseverance, empathy, and self-efficacy while also gaining valuable skills that help them succeed in their careers and lives. From these hands-on learning experiences—both in and out of the classroom—students leave WPI more sophisticated, well-rounded, globally aware, and prepared for whatever the world throws at them.

WPI’s Proven Life-Long Project Impact

Project Work Pays Off

WPI’s unique project-based approach to STEM education has been lauded in the academic world for years, but one of the most compelling acknowledgements is by those who know the benefits of a WPI education firsthand—WPI alumni. A survey of 2,500+ WPI alumni across a span of 38 years revealed the powerful professional and personal impact of project work and learning by doing.

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
I am pleased to recognize the 2016 Gordon Prize recipients and Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their transformational program to develop engineering leaders prepared to tackle society's greatest challenges.
C.D. Mote, Jr., President, National Academy of Engineering
Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education
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
WPI's project-based education model provides multiple opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and gain
Princeton Review
Colleges that Create Futures