Major Qualifying Project

project center student panama

The Major Qualifying Project (MQP) is based on a fundamental philosophy – once you graduate, what will you be able to DO?

At WPI, the MQP, a team-based, professional-level design or research experience, makes the answer a very positive one.  The culmination of WPI's project-based undergraduate education, a successful MQP demonstrates such learning outcomes as how to communicate effectively; understand the scientific, social, and ethical dimensions of the problem; and demonstrate knowledge appropriate to your specific major. And every year the results show students finding meaningful work.

There are many possible solutions to a problem and many paths to take to get there. The MQP helps you put the theory of what you’ve learned into practice to tackle real-life scenarios and issues, often sponsored by corporations or other external organizations. You will see that the skills acquired over your undergraduate years will be your foundation on which to build your life's work. Employers are looking for mastery. The MQP, an integral part of the WPI plan, positions students to stand out in the applicant pool.

formerly Project Presentation Day

Undergraduate Research Projects Showcase

A celebration of research, design, and creative theses—a requirement of every graduating senior through the Major Qualifying Project—takes place each spring on campus. Student teams representing all academic departments present their work to their faculty advisors, external sponsors, and the community-at-large, and the public is invited.

Global Projects Program. Go into the World.

Everyone wants to make their last year of college one for the ages, and what better way to do that than by going into the real world? Starting with the Class of 2022, every student will receive a $5,000 scholarship. From designing a robotic arm to sort and move scrap metal for recycling in China to analyzing the effect of wind turbines on radar in Massachusetts, the world is at your fingertips.

MQPs In the News

The Boston Globe reports on Lola, the amputee sea turtle who received a first-of-its-kind prosthetic flipper designed by three WPI engineering students as part of their MQP. The new flipper they created will allow Lola and other injured turtles to be rehabilitated and live a more normal life--and is another step toward next-generation animal prosthetics. 

The first day at ACP involved a bit of a learning curve, but it didn’t take us long to settle in and start working. In fact, on the second day I was out collecting water samples and running water quality tests.
  • Adrienne
  • Assessing Water Quality at Landings and Onboard Canal Tugboats
I often made site visits and met with a team from ACP as well as the contractor hired to design the spillway. I also revised AutoCAD drawings from the contractor—in fact ACP is now using my revisions in their final design for the spillway.
  • Carly
  • Designing New Spillway to Release Excess Water from Lake Guton
I determined that GRP towers require less equipment and construction time, and are less likely to be damaged than steel towers. When ACP next updates the ranges, I think they will consider GRP towers.
  • Brigitte
  • Alternatives to Steel Towers Used for Navigational Cues
I provided ACP with a framework to be implemented as part of a bid package for a larger study. I also created a shoreline management plan that could help ACP minimize the effects from the upcoming increases in traffic due to the expansion.
  • Abigail
  • Study on Occupation and Use of Land Around Canal
Undergraduate Learning Outcomes
  • Have mastered fundamental concepts and methods in their principal areas of study.
  • Demonstrate global and intercultural competency by developing the capacity to identify, explain, and critically analyze the forces (such as cultural, historical, political, economic) that shape the self and others as they engage with local and global communities.
  • Have the skills, diligence, and commitment to excellence needed to engage in lifelong learning.
Start Expanded
Working on a project at the Panama Canal is a dream come true for a civil engineering major. It was so interesting to see how ACP works and get a first-hand view of all the remarkable processes behind the canal.
  • Carly
  • Designing new spillway to release excess water from Lake Guton
Through this experience, I decided to continue my education and hope to become a PhD student at WPI. As I have seen, there are so many opportunities here and I look forward to taking part in even more innovative experiences.
  • Adrienne
  • Assessing water quality at landings and onboard canal tugboats
We got to experience the canal in a way that tourists would not have the chance to. For example, I walked across the Gatun Locks and the new set of locks on the Pacific side.
  • Carly
  • Designing new spillway to release excess water from Lake Guton

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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

A Culmination of 4 Years of Theory AND Practice

A Stepping-stone to a Rewarding Career


Q&A with Rosanna Garcia, Paul R. Beswick Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Professor Garcia answers questions about the entrepreneurial culture of WPI

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Nothing Lasts Forever

Julie Bliss Mullen ’12 uses electrochemistry to sever the nearly unbreakable bond in PFAS forever chemicals.

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‘Ropeless’ Lobster Traps Protect Right Whales

Lobster fishing is critical to New England, but the ropes that connect traps to buoys pose a threat to the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Learn how students developed a project to address the problem. 


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