Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private premier research university specializing in the instruction and research of technical arts and applied sciences.
Founded in 1865 in Worcester to create and convey the latest science and engineering knowledge in ways that are most beneficial to society, WPI was one of the United States' first engineering and technology universities. Today, WPI holds firm to its founding mission to provide an education that balances theory with practice.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute has 14 academic departments with over 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, management, social sciences, humanities and arts leading to bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees. WPI's faculty works with students in a number of research areas including biotechnology, fuel cells, information security, surface metrology, materials processing and nanotechnology.
The university’s curriculum features a flexible, rigorous program that is project-based and globally engaged, aimed at quality experience and a positive impact for the communities it partners with. WPI faculty members who has recently been ranked top in the nation for quality and accessibility by the Wall Street Journal 2016 work with students on interdisciplinary research seeking solutions to important and socially relevant problems - both on campus and at more than 40 project centers throughout the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Graduate research programs include robotics, materials science, cybersecurity, learning sciences and technology. WPI invests in research in critical areas, seeking solutions to important and socially relevant problems in such diverse fields as fire protection engineering, life sciences and bioengineering, energy and data science.
Among the 10 colleges located in Worcester, WPI stands out as a close-knit private school grounded in scientific education. WPI's undergrad schedule is also unusual compared to most universities. Instead of a normal semester, WPI has 7-week terms. Each term is claimed to be roughly equivalent to a third of a year at another university.
Notable WPI alumni include Robert Goddard, inventor of the liquid-fueled rocket, Paul Allaire - the previous CEO of Xerox, Elwood Haynes, inventor of stainless steel, Robert Stempel, inventor of the catalytic converter, former chairman and CEO of General Motors
WPI consistently ranks as a tier-one (top 25%) university according to U.S. News & World Report. In 2017 it was ranked the 60th among national universities by The Best Colleges ranking.
WPI offers a variety of majors in engineering, science, management, liberal arts, and social science at the undergraduate and graduate level. It is most well known for its engineering disciplines and is one of the top-ranked schools to attend for engineering in North America and the world over. Unlike many peer universities WPI does not combine related departments into colleges or schools.
The most popular majors by the number of registered students are engineering, computer and information sciences, biology, business/marketing.