WPI’s motto, Lehr und Kunst, extols the importance of theory and practice. One without the other has less impact so, no matter what their career plans are, all students at WPI engage in research.
Undergraduate research at WPI runs the gamut from basic to applied to fundamental. Research problems come from within academia or from our business, industry, or government partners.
- The Major Qualifying Project (MQP) is a required senior-year capstone research or design project within the major field of study in which undergraduate students bring to bear all the theory that they have learned in their disciplines to solve open-ended problems and to effectively communicate their results.
- All undergraduate students do an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) in the junior year. They tackle issues at the intersection of science, technology, and culture, and in their work they learn how technology affects societal values and structures.
- WPI undergraduate students have the opportunity to engage in significant inquiry as soon as they step on campus. The Great Problems Seminar is a two-term, project-based course that introduces first-year students to university-level research focusing on themes of global importance.
Beyond these opportunities, students may work with faculty and graduate students on research during the summer or during the academic year.
Learning how to ask and solve open-ended questions leads to advances in whatever fields students are studying. Research takes undergraduate students past that important initial step of asking a question and leads them through the complexities of finding good solutions to original technical, scientific, and societal problems.