Frequently Asked Questions
General Global Projects Program Questions
Do I have to do my project off-campus?
No. While the IQP and MQP are required projects, all students have the option to complete both projects on campus, typically over three terms.
What are the benefits of doing an off-campus project?
Academically, completing a project off campus allows students to complete the IQP or MQP in one term, as opposed to three terms. Non-academically, completing an off-campus project also offers many diverse project opportunities and project center locations and is a great talking point on your resume!
What are the challenges of completing an off-campus project?
Completing an off-campus project requires a lot of work. Students are expected to work forty hours a week, just like a full-time employee. It combines challenges pertaining to both a “real-world” professional setting and an academic setting. Students completing projects in residential settings may also experience culture shock and face these challenges in a new and unfamiliar environment.
What is the difference between a residential and non-residential site?
Non-residential sites are project centers where students remain in WPI housing for their off-campus project. Residential sites are project centers where housing is provided in a location further from campus.
What are the benefits of completing an IQP/MQP at a non-residential site within the GPP?
Students completing their project at a non-residential GPP site are able to complete their IQP or MQP in one term, while also maintaining some of their on-campus commitments. Students should still consider the expectations of workload for project work, and should expect to adjust their other commitments accordingly.
Can I continue to play on a WPI sports team or other extra-curricular activities while I participate in an off-campus project?
Students going to a residential project center are unable to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities during their project term. Students going to non-residential project centers are able to participate in sports or extra-curricular activities as timing permits, however your project work will be time-consuming and will be the priority.
What are WPI's safety practices?
A safe and successful off-campus experience does not just occur—it requires careful planning and preparation. WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. The best way to prepare for a safe off-campus experience is to become familiar with the project center and GPP Policies in advance. Students are required to read through the Site Specific Handbook, which they will receive before the start of the prep term. In addition, we recommend reviewing the following resources:
Health, Safety, and Security
U.S. Department of State
Centers for Disease Control
The GEO monitors these sources and more to assess health and safety at each Project Center. In addition, the GEO holds orientations with both advisors and students to prepare them for potential health and safety emergencies that arise on-site, as well as maintains a 24/7 emergency phone number for students and advisors.
I have a Global Scholars Scholarship/Foisie Scholarship. How do I get this applied to my WPI account?
You can find more information about using your scholarships and financial aid under the Finances and Cost Estimates page the Off-Campus Projects Resources page.
When will I know my specific project assignment?
Center directors will reach out to students for their project preferences before the start of the prep term and will let everyone know their project placement at the start of the prep term.
Can I use a 529 plan to pay for my project experience?
529s can be used to pay for some qualified expenses for education abroad, but you will need to check with your plan directly to understand what expenses will qualify. For most sites on the Global Projects Program, WPI bills a portion of the costs (housing and program fees) to the student’s WPI account. These costs will be seen on the WPI bill for the semester of the student’s travel. Other expenses, such as food, airfare, local transportation, etc., will be paid out of pocket by students. All costs for our programs can be viewed on the Project Center page in eProjects.
Starting Your Application
Where is the application and how do I fill it out?
What is required for the application?
The online application consists of some biographical data, a resume, a series of writing prompts or essays, and two references with their contact information.
Who can I list as my references?
Ideally, both references should be an academic reference from a WPI faculty member. If this is not possible, your second reference can be from the WPI community (a staff member or coach, not a fellow student) or from outside WPI and should be able to speak to your ability to fulfill responsibilities, perform under pressure, meet deadlines, and function in a team.
When will my references be contacted?
Your references will be contacted if the Center Director who reviews your application needs more information to make a decision on your application. They may be contacted by phone or email any time after your application is submitted.
When do I indicate my alternative choices?
IQPs: The site preference rating form is completed in eProjects. Students are encouraged to give careful thought to every location and term offered and will rate the sites/terms in three categories - Very Interested, Interested, and Not Interested.
MQPs: The MQP rankings form will be part of the application. Please make sure your major is offered at each site you rank.
I'm on Academic Warning. Am I still eligible to apply to the GPP?
We have removed the eligibility requirement for students to be in good academic standing in order to apply to the GPP. Now, a student can apply for a global project while on academic warning but they must improve their academic standing at the next review in order to be eligible to participate in the program. Students who are currently on academic warning may apply to the GPP and may be granted provisional placement in the program. Students who receive provisional placement will undergo a review of their academic record at the next academic review period. Students who are back in good academic standing will be permitted placement in the GPP, and students who are on academic probation will no longer be eligible to participate.
It is important to note that the application process for the GPP is competitive and that the strength of a student’s academic record is an important consideration when reviewing applicants for any site. The GPP application requires 2 academic references, and students on warning are advised to submit the name of a reference who can speak to how they have responded to the academic difficulties they have encountered and what steps they have taken to better support their studies at WPI.
Students on academic probation remain ineligible to apply to the GPP.
I have a conduct record at WPI. Am I still eligible to apply to the GPP?
You are still eligible to apply. You will need to consent to a review of your conduct history when you apply to the program. This information is used exclusively for the determination of admission and continued eligibility to participate in the GPP. The GEO will be notified by the Dean of Students office if you have a conduct record. Then, we will place a flag in your application notifying the application reviewer of this record. If there is a concern, you may be asked to attend a supplemental meeting to discuss the incident(s) and how it relates to your project experience. Most conduct records do not hold students back from participation in the program.
I'm a First Year student, but a Sophomore in credit status. Am I eligible to apply for an IQP?
First Year students with Sophomore status on their transcript are eligible apply to the IQP program. Students in their first year at WPI are strongly encouraged to consider C and D Term sites only, given the academic rigor of the prep-term and the term off campus. If you do not have Sophomore status, you are not eligible to apply.
Should I apply to the same place as my girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend?
Deciding where to apply is a personal decision, based on many factors. You should consider the term of the project, and the term of the prep-term to determine feasibility within your own schedule. It is also important to consider cost, location, and personal health concerns when deciding where to apply. There is no guarantee that your girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend will be placed at the same project center as you, so trying to coordinate placements will be a difficult task. Consider your options for you, and you can hope for the best for your friends.
I'm concerned about cost for an off-campus project. Are there any low or no cost sites?
Yes, there are low and no cost sites! You will find a detailed breakdown of estimated costs for each center in the "Estimated Expenses" section of each program page on eProjects.
Project Center Preference Ratings (IQP Only)
Can I rate more than 6 options?
Yes! We strongly encourage you to list more than the required 6 choices in the Very Interested and Interested categories. The more you list, the better your chances to be placed in a site you’re interested in. For best possible placement results, consider all the options and answer honestly. Because you may be considered for every site that you rate in the Very Interested and Interested categories, you should not include any site where you would not be happy to go.
If I rate a site that is not included in the higher-demand list, will I be matched there?
Each year, some sites receive many more applicants than can be accommodated. These sites are considered higher-demand sites. These sites, along with new site locations, will likely have higher demand this year, as well. If you include only higher-demand sites in your ratings, you risk not receiving any placement at all. A list of these sites can be found in the Application Preview.
Considering sites that are not listed on the higher-demand list will increase your chances of being matched to a site. We will always look at the sites listed in your Very Interested category first. If you list a site of lower-demand in that category, there is a higher likelihood that you will be placed there. Because you may be considered for every site that you rate in the Very Interested and Interested categories, you should not include any site where you would not be happy to go.
Is there any way to show which location is my top choice?
You must select at least 6 choices in the categories of Very Interested and/or Interested, at least 3 of which must be in the Very Interested category. You can indicate your top choices by placing them in the Very Interested category. You will not indicate a single choice as your top choice in the process though.
Does my application get reviewed by every site where I’ve indicated interest?
Your general application to the off-campus IQP will be reviewed by a participating faculty reviewer who may or may not be a Site Director for one or more of the sites where you have indicated preference. Applications will not be reviewed for each individual site listed on your preference survey. That said, Site Directors will have a final review of their cohorts before decisions are released to students.
Is there a max number of sites that I can rate?
No! We recommend you explore all Project Center/Term opportunities and include as many as possible in the Very Interested and Interested categories. We strongly encourage you to list more than the required 6 choices in the Very Interested and Interested categories. The more you list, the better your chances to be placed in a site you’re interested in. For best possible placement results, consider all the options and answer honestly. Because you may be considered for every site that you rate in the Very Interested and Interested categories, you should not include any site where you would not be happy to go.
Will I receive placement to multiple options?
You will receive and offer of placement to one site.
Can I only rate one site?
No. You must select at least 6 choices in the categories of Very Interested and/or Interested, at least 3 of which must be in the Very Interested category. We recommend you explore all Project Center/ Term opportunities and include as many as possible in the Very Interested and Interested categories.
What if I have allergies or medical conditions that restrict my preference choices?
We recognize that some students may have restrictions based on allergies or medical conditions that may greatly limit the number of sites that you can include on your site preference survey. We strongly encourage students with specific concerns related to program choice to contact our office and meet with a staff member. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to start this process.
I didn’t get placed where I really wanted to go for IQP – why?
As part of the IQP application process, students are asked to rate all sites and terms available. Locations rated as "Very Interested" or "Interested" are considered to be viable locations for us to match you and we consider all matches a good fit, if you are completing the form correctly. You should not rate any site that you are not interested in going to. No student is placed in a site that was not indicated on their survey.
Can I switch with someone else?
No. Placement decisions were made with the balance of selected students, projects and locations in mind.
What are my options after I receive a placement?
Your options are to commit to your placement OR decline the opportunity and seek an on-campus project. After the primary application process is concluded, we will make any openings on the off-campus program available to the student body at large through a subsequent application process. It’s important to consider that any subsequent application processes will have limited space/location availability and could be very competitive.
If I was not placed on a project through the Global Projects Program, what are my options?
You will need to find an on-campus IQP or MQP. For an IQP, the best opportunity to do that is at the on-campus IQP fair, held in March each year. We encourage you to attend in order to review the many on-campus IQP options available to you. For an MQP, please contact faculty in your major department for on-campus options.
What if my academic standing changes after I am accepted to the program?
Students who go on academic probation are no longer eligible to participate in the program. Students on academic warning will be required to meet with their project advisors and GEO staff to determine if they are able to remain in the program and if their participation will be subject to an academic contract for the duration of the preparatory term. Students are encouraged to proactively reach out to project center director/advisors if they are aware that there has been a change in their academic status.
I have decided not to participate on an off-campus program - how and by when can I withdraw?
The GEO strives to make off-campus opportunities available for as many students as possible. In an effort to fill all available spaces, we have set the following withdrawal deadlines. Please notify the GEO in writing by emailing email@example.com to confirm your cancellation. Note: cancellation fees may apply so be sure to read the policy and dates carefully.
What is ID2050?
ID2050 is a 1/3 unit course that is required of all students participating in an off-campus IQP project center. You will take this class with your project center group the term preceding your project. The purpose of ID2050 is for students to learn the skills they will need to complete their projects. As part of the course, teams complete a well-developed project proposal.
Your ID2050 instructor may or may not be your center’s director and/or one of your project advisers. This means that for some groups, the instructor may accompany teams to the project center, and in others, the instructor’s involvement ends after the end of the preparatory term.
ID2050 is scheduled for Monday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 - 8:20 PM
What is a PQP?
PQP is a 1/6 unit pre-qualifying project that is required of all students participating in an off-campus IQP. You will participate with your project team and your advisers. The specific structure of your PQP is highly dependent on your project advisers, and therefore your PQP experience may be different from those of students participating in other project centers. The main focus of this is the development of your research proposal.
How I register for ID2050 and PQP?
The GEO will register students for ID2050. ID2050 instructors will walk students through enrolling for their PQP and IQP at the start of the prep term.
How will on-campus housing work when I am off-campus?
- If you have contracted for WPI on-campus housing for when you are away, you are still financially responsible for fulfilling that contract. In other words, you may have to pay for housing in both places if you have already signed a contract with WPI Residential Services.
How do I request my Global Scholarship?
Beginning with WPI's Class of 2022, all new first year students will receive a Global Scholarship to support participation in a project off campus. The up to $5,000 scholarship can be applied towards any program administered by the Global Projects Program in partnership with the Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy. This includes Humanities Projects, Interactive Qualifying Projects, Major Qualifying Projects, and Exchange Programs.
Before You Go
Where can I confirm the expected costs and Program Fee for my project?
You can view the expected costs for all programs on eProjects.
When will I be charged for my project?
The Program Fee will be added to your regular WPI tuition bill and will be posted to your student account ~3 weeks prior to the start of the term and will be due immediately; failure to pay may result in a hold and or late fee being applied to your Student Account. Additional estimated expenses are listed on the Budget Sheet for your Project Center in order to help you budget for these costs.
I have specific housing accommodations on campus at WPI. How do I make sure I get these accommodations while away?
Students who may need accommodations to participate in the Global Projects Program (including but not limited to housing and transportation needs) are encouraged to contact either GEO and/or the Office of Accessibility Services as soon as possible after placement and no later than the start of two terms prior to travel (i.e., A-Term for C-Term projects). After this date, we will do our best to meet individual accommodation needs, but cannot guarantee availability of requested accommodations.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to disclose them to ID2050 instructors and/or project advisors. We have found that many issues that arise for students with disabilities during off-campus projects could have been avoided with a simple conversation at the start of the preparatory term. Students who do disclose disabilities, even when their approved accommodations don’t directly apply, are able to connect with their instructors and advisors in meaningful ways that often benefit the whole project team.
Students with disclosed disabilities are encouraged to utilize the WPI accommodation letter process to inform their ID2050 instructors and/or project advisors of their disability in order to initiate a conversation regarding any support or accommodations that may be necessary.
Students with disabilities who have not yet disclosed their disability to the WPI Office of Accessibility Services are encouraged to utilize the WPI disclosure process.
If you have any questions about the disclosure process, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services.
When does preparation start for my program?
During the pre-prep term (i.e., A-Term for C-Term projects), all students must complete an GEO Pre-Departure Orientation on Canvas. Certain international Project Centers may also have a language and culture course during the pre-prep term.
During the prep term (i.e., B-Term for C-Term projects), students will take an ID2050 course and PQP course. In addition, students going to residential project centers must attend a Site-Specific Pre-Departure Orientation.
What are the dates of my program?
Program Dates can be found on the brochure page for each Project Center on eProjects. Dates can also be found on eProjects and in the Going Global Handbook, which students will receive prior to the prep term.
Can my family/friends come visit me? Can they stay in my room?
Friends and family can certainly visit, however they are encouraged to visit towards the end of the program. That way, you will be more familiar with the area to show them around, they can attend your final presentations, and you can arrange to travel together after the program! Visiting at the start of the program may hinder project work, group cohesion, and adjusting to your new location. Overnight guests, however, are not allowed in WPI off-campus housing.
I need to arrive late/leave early from my project. Who do I talk to?
Students are required to arrive on or before the program start date and stay on-site until the program end date and final presentations are completed. If there are any extenuating circumstances, you may reach out to the Center Director for special considerations.
When should I get my passport?
If you are going to an international project center, you are encouraged to begin the passport application process as soon as you have confirmed your placement. You must have your passport in hand before the end of the pre-prep term, and even earlier for certain sites, to ensure a smooth visa process.
What is a Visa?
A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country. It is your responsibility to determine whether you will require a visa and to obtain your visa prior to traveling. The GEO will support the visa application process for students traveling on programs where U.S. citizens are required to have a visa. Students who are non-U.S. citizens participating in a program where U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa will want to contact the GEO for help facilitating the visa process. Students who require a visa to enter a country are encouraged to begin this process prior to the prep term; it can take up to 2 months to have a visa processed and a delay will mean a late arrival that can impact the success of your project and overall experience.
Do I need specific immunizations in order to travel? Can I get these at WPI Health Services?
Some Project Centers may require or encourage specific immunizations in order to travel. Students should visit the Centers for Disease Control Website, WPI Health Services, or a local travel clinic with any questions. Some, but not all, travel immunizations may be obtained at WPI Health Services.
Are there local travel clinics in Worcester?
Yes! The UMass Travel Clinic and Fallon Travel Health Clinic are both located in Worcester, however they both may book out well in advance.
What does the WPI travel insurance cover?
WPI students traveling internationally are automatically enrolled in a travel assistance plan through ISOS. The description of coverage will be available in the Going Global Handbook, which you will receive before the start of the prep term. You can read more about the plan here: International Travel Resources and Assistance.
What is the housing like at my project site?
The type of housing and a short description can be found on the program page for each Project Center in eProjects. More detailed information will be available in the Going Global Handbook.
How should I plan to communicate with family/friends while away on my project?
While some students may choose to purchase an international phone plan to their U.S. phone while away, all students are required to have a local cell phone with a local number on site. Parents can learn more about communication here: Off-Campus Project Resources for Parents.
What is the best way to manage money while I'm away? Do I need a foreign bank account?
While housing will be included in the Program Fee, there will be many additional costs you should expect to pay out of pocket once on site, such as food, travel expenses, souvenirs, and project incidentals. Students are not required to open a foreign bank account, but should carry at least one debit and one credit card with them when going abroad. It is very important to contact your bank to inform them of your travel plans to avoid the possibility of your card being locked and declined while you are away. Most students use an ATM to withdraw local currency on-site. As foreign ATM fees are usually a flat fee, it is suggested to withdraw larger sums of money, to allow for fewer transactions, and to immediately ensure any excess cash is locked away in your housing. More details and suggestions will be discussed in the Pre-Departure Orientation and Going Global Handbook.
I am unhappy with my final project grade. Who should I talk to?
Academic concerns, including contesting your final grade, are handled by the Dean of the Global School.