About the Program

WPI’s Interactive Qualifying Project Program

The Massachusetts Water Resource Outreach Center (WROC) is a new Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) project center developed to assist Massachusetts municipalities with their water resource challenges. The WROC works to execute one of WPI’s signature programs, the Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP). The IQP is a junior year requirement for all WPI undergraduate students. Through the WROC, these student projects occur during two seven week academic terms, fourteen weeks in total, during the late winter and early spring. The project topics involve an issue or problem proposed by a sponsor, i.e. a watershed association or municipality. Students then work in teams of three or four , in collaboration with the sponsoring organization, agency or municipality, to complete the project. Throughout the duration of the fourteen week project, students are guided by two WPI faculty advisors with whom they meet regularly. 

Preparation Phase

During the first seven weeks the students prepare to tackle the project issue. During this term students meet with their sponsor, conduct background research on the water resource issue, and develop a proposed methodology to tackle the project issue. Also during this time, students learn about: operating in a professional environment, including oral and written communication; and various social science research methods such as survey design and implementation, conducting professional interviews, and facilitating focus groups.

Project Execution 

The subsequent seven weeks is when the students work to complete the project they have been tasked with. During this time, students work approximately 40+ hours/week on the project. They may be working in the field or at the sponsoring town or organization’s office. On a weekly basis during these seven weeks, students will share their project progress, challenges and changes in a joint meeting with the sponsor and faculty advisors. The culmination of these efforts is always a detailed project report with research findings and recommendations and may also include a project video or other related deliverables.