Project Planning

During the academic planning period, which starts in February, students who intend to conduct project work during the following year should set aside time to plan their projects, meet with faculty, and form project teams. Any pre-planned projects will be posted on the project opportunities section in e-projects ( Students are also encouraged to meet with faculty individually. 

The most important and difficult part of a project is the planning which precedes the execution. The planning phase of your project will involve developing a background, talking to people in the field, finding out what has already been done in the area, and determining what your goals are and what you need to do to accomplish them. If any special equipment, financing, or resources will be needed for execution of the project, it is especially important to make this known early to ensure that it will be available to you. In addition, most faculty members require a project proposal before registration of the project.

Project Registration

Students who intend to do project work must complete a project registration form by no later than the beginning of the first term of that project work. Students will complete their registration request through e-projects after the project is built by the project advisor and the student is added as a member. Instructions for this process can be found on the Registrar’s website. Any student who will travel to an off-campus location, such as a Residential Projects Program site, is also required to fill out an electronic project registration form. 

Project registration for terms A-E will be accepted up to the 10th day of the term (not including weekends) without penalty. A project involving an off-campus sponsor (MQP mostly, but some IQP) carries the further obligation of compliance with the rules and regulations of the sponsor. Often, these are specified in a formal contract between the sponsor and WPI, and are legally binding. At the time of registration, any affected student will be required to indicate the sponsor on the electronic registration form.

For an MQP, the project advisor or an associate advisor must be a member of the faculty in the discipline which corresponds to the major area of study of the student.

Change of Registration Information

Students must make all project registration changes through e-projects. Students may make changes to the project by making an addendum to the previously registered project and submitting the changes electronically to the project advisor for approval. Credit distribution can be changed for the current term through day 10, or any future terms. No changes in credit distribution can be made after day 10 of the term.

Changing Project Advisor

To change the project advisor for a degree-required project, students should contact the Registrar’s Office.

Project Conferences

Students should report to their project advisor’s office at the beginning of the term to make arrangements for subsequent meetings.

Overload with Project

Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their project advisor(s) before registering for an overload. Students are not permitted to overload during a one-term off-campus project offered in the Global Projects Program or during the prior term when students are enrolled in ID 2050, Social Science Research for the IQP and an associated pre-qualifying project.

Project Completion

During the final term of registration for the project and sufficiently prior to the deadline for submittal of Completion of Degree Requirement Forms, students must submit their completed project report to the project advisors. Students are also required to submit a copy of the document to the participating off-campus organization sufficiently prior to the end of the term so that proprietary and confidential information in the report can be identified and removed. Most off-campus organizations require 30 days for this review, and the grade and final report cannot be submitted to the Registrar by the project advisor until this review has been done.

Directions for submitting the project report electronically are available from the Gordon Library. A final project report is submitted electronically through the e-projects website (See Electronic Project Submission) The electronic eCDR must be submitted by the project advisor no later than the 10th day of the next academic term.

A student who has filed an application to receive their degree in May must submit a completed eCDR to the Office of the Registrar by the last Thursday in D-term.

Registration Policy for Degree Requirements

The completion of a degree requirement (MQP, IQP or Humanities and Arts Requirement) will not be recorded in the Registrar’s Office after the tenth day of classes of a term unless the student is registered for a minimum of 1/6 unit of the same activity in that term. The deadline for receipt of the Completion Form is no later than the tenth day of classes for the next term. Any exceptions to this policy must be handled by written petition from the project advisor.

Note: Candidates for degrees must meet graduation deadlines if they differ from the above. Deadlines for degree candidates will be strictly enforced!

Only Completion of Degree Requirement (CDR) forms which are complete, correct and consistent with the student’s registration records will be accepted by the Registrar’s Office. (See PROJECTS AND RESEARCH section, page 14.)

Off-Campus Insurance and Legal Agreements

WPI’s insurance program includes a broad range of coverage for students doing projects in cooperation with off-campus organizations. This insurance coverage requires proper documentation of individual student participation. All students doing project work with off-campus organizations must complete the pertinent portion of the project registration form. In certain cases, where the project is included as part of a regular course, the course instructor must submit to the Projects Office a list of the students going off campus and the name(s) and address(es) of the organization(s) involved.

WPI has entered into a variety of agreements with off-campus organizations, covering a wide range of issues common to the projects program. Students agree to abide by these agreements during the registration for the project.


Pay and Credit (for students working on sponsored projects)

Many WPI projects, including both the IQP and the MQP, are completed with an external partner or sponsor. It is important to emphasize that WPI project work is different from traditional internships or co-op experiences in two important ways. First, the primary purpose of the project work is always student learning, as defined by the learning outcomes associated with each project. Second, there must be a WPI faculty member advising the project who has primary responsibility for guiding the student work, for setting the goals of the work, and ensuring that the focus of the project remains student learning.

There do arise situations in projects sponsored by an external organization, usually a company or government agency, when the sponsoring organization requires that the students are classified as employees or interns and receive pay in order to work on the project. In these situations, approval from the Office of Undergraduate Studies is required.

WPI students may receive pay for work on an externally sponsored IQP or MQP when all of the following three conditions are met:

1. There is documentation, shared with the students, sponsors, and the faculty advisor(s), stating that the primary purpose of the project work is student learning.

2. WPI faculty advisor(s) have a central role in the project and have the responsibility and authority to guide and evaluate student work done on the project. The sponsor does not assign grades or evaluate student learning.

3. The Sponsored Project Agreement and the Scope of Work document is reviewed and approved/denied by the Office of Undergraduate Studies before project work begins. Proposals for pay and credit projects must be submitted for approval/denial by the Office of Undergraduate Studies before the fifth day of the academic year term (A, B, C, or D) or summer term (E1 or E2) preceding the term when project work will begin.


Note that, in order to receive academic credit, students must be registered for the project during the terms in which project work is being done. Work performed with an external sponsor prior to registration – and outside the three conditions described above – will not receive academic credit.