CTPC Overview

The links below provide a snapshot of core elements of the CTPC as an educational, research and community development program.

WPI’s Unique Project-Based Educational Program

The Cape Town Project Centre (CPTC) is part of WPI’s Global Projects Program offering project opportunities in two dozen centers around the world. Through the CTPC, students may complete their third-year interdisciplinary project called the “Interactive Qualifying Project” (IQP), addressing a real problem related to technology, society, and human needs, and a few students also complete their fourth year “Major Qualifying Project” (MQP) in their main field of study. The Centre also provides faculty and others a vehicle for investigating sustainability dynamics related to urban settlements. Follow these links for more on WPI’s Global Projects Program and project-based educational opportunities.

Cape Town: Many Cities in One

Cape Town is an exciting, cosmopolitan, culturally diverse and vibrant city of astonishing natural beauty, but one that also is wrestling with the legacy of apartheid and uneven development that remains starkly evident in the impoverished communities where most city residents live, many in improvised shacks in informal settlements that lack adequate sanitation, employment, health, education, and other basic necessities. More…

 Project Partnerships

The essence of CTPC project work is that local interests are principally responsible for identifying project goals, enlisting community members to work with students as co-researchers, and following through projects after WPI’s annual involvement. Our projects often involve supporting collaboration among community groups, local governmental and non-profit agencies, and occasionally academic and business partners in

places as diverse as Khayelitsha, Maitland Garden Village, Langrug settlement outside Stellenbosch, and the Cape Town Central Business District. Click for more on Partnering with WPI, or to find Past Projects conducted with specific partners.

Shared Action Learning: A CTPC Philosophy and Operating Strategy

The CTPC is an experiment in Shared Action Learning (SAL) – a way of understanding how students and faculty might come together with community members and important community, civic, and governmental agencies to address pressing community issues. SAL is a philosophical and strategic outlook on the potential for personal, institutional, and community transformation arising from good faith efforts to use differences in class, culture, education, age and experience to catalyze learning and action. SAL is about personal modesty and collective audacity – with our partners, we are imagining and implementing innovative approaches to water and sanitation provision, early childhood development, local entrepreneurship and other priority issues identified by our local partners. More…


Project center costs include those associated with the WPI student educational experience and those for programmatic or infrastructural investments in communities. Costs for the former are funded through tuition as a regular part of the WPI curriculum, as students earn the equivalent of 4.5 courses for their project experience, almost 10% of their graduation requirement. Students also pay for traveling to and living in Cape Town for two months. Funding for project-related community improvements comes from a mix of local partner funding (e.g., government budgets or grants) and grants secured by the CTPC. More…