Worcester Polytechnic Institute

100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609-2280

School Details

Situated on an 80 acre campus in the historic town of Worcester, MA, approximately 35 miles west of Boston, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is one of a small group of Polytechnic universities in the country, dedicated to educating students in the fields of engineering, science management and humanities. Founded in 1865, shortly after the end of the civil war, WPI was founded at a time when America was approaching a period of industrial and technological growth. WPI’s founders desired to develop a university that could develop a new class of engineering, scientific and entrepreneurial professionals. WPI was developed from the combination ideas of John Boynton, a self-made tinware manufacturer and Ichabod Washburn, the owner of the world’s largest wire mill. Both men had vastly different visions for how they felt technological professionals should be educated, but after merging their ideas, a new type of higher education institution focused on combining theory with practical experience was created, resulting in an institution that now provides one of the nation’s most effective approaches to higher education.

WPI strives to educate students in the fields of engineering, science, management and humanities. WPI was established to develop the most up-to-date scientific and engineering knowledge, and this is currently being conveyed through the school’s 14 academic departments offering 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas of study including Engineering & Computer Science, Liberal Arts, Management, Sciences and Pre-Professional Studies. Best known for its engineering department, WPI is one of the top ranked engineering schools in the North America. While WPI is primarily focused on undergraduate education, the expansion of graduate and research programs in a long-term goal of the institution. There are approximately 3,841 undergraduate and 1,734 graduate students currently enrolled at WPI representing 42 states and 62 countries.

Unlike most universities, WPI has a unique schedule that is composed of seven-week terms. Instead of the standard semester seen at most universities, WPI’s first term typically begins sometime between the second-to-last Thursday in August and the last term usually ends on the first Tuesday in May. The advantage to this type of schedule is that instead of taking a year to complete Chemistry, Physics and Math, it can instead be completed in one and a half semesters. This fast pace schedule allows students to complete more classes in less time, and by a student’s senior year, they have already completed four years at WPI. The graduate program is scheduled under a traditional schedule based on two semesters.

Students at WPI are required to participate in a project-based curriculum that requires them to complete a sufficiency, also known as a humanities project, in the Liberal Arts, an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), in which the social effects of technology are studied with students from other disciplines, and a Major Qualifying Project (MQP) which is done within their own discipline. The Sufficiency is usually completed in the student’s sophomore year, the IQP during the junior year, and the MQP which is similar to other school’s “senior thesis” is completed during the senior year.

Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, WPI is the third oldest private independent technological university in America. Additional accreditations include the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board and The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education


School Overview:

  • Sector Of Institution:
    4-year, Private not-for-profit
  • Religious Affiliation:


  • Highest Level Of Offering:
    Doctor's degree
  • Total Enrollments:
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