Worcester Polytechnic Institute Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Narimane

Academics at WPI depend from class to class. Freshman classes like chemistry and physics are in big lecture halls so the professors don’t even know your name; however, math, humanities, and social sciences are a good size where the professor will get to know most of the people. Also, when take courses within your major professor have a good idea about all of their students even if it’s a big class. My favorite courses at WPI are math, humanities, social sciences and engineering science. So far all of those courses I took in those departments were great. Professors explain well, hold conversations, available to help whenever needed, and nice professors. However, when talking about the science department, physics and chemistry, their system is pretty low and the overall grade is based on the four exams you take. This works with students who already had a good science background in high school but for those who don’t they might have to spend a LOT of time studying. Student at WPI work hard I would say there is only a small percentage of students who don’t care, and other who do care but are not hard workers. It’s pretty common to walk around WPI and hear students all around you talking about their exams and homework. It is typical to have more than one exam a week. WPI’s overall academic requirements are pretty good and manageable and the education you get from here is geared toward both getting a good job and learning.

Ting

Some professors know my name since this is a relatively small school. Amount of student is not so large. My favorite class is mechanical vibration. My least favorite is design for manufacturability. As I know, we Chinese students study a lot. We can see lots of american students study in the library. Therefore I think they are also very hard-working. Yes, they do have intellectual conversations outside of classes. They are competitive because everyone want to get the first prize of their projects or classes. Dynamic signal. This class is very interesting because it requires lots of experiments and reports. My major is mechanical engineering and it belongs to mechanical engineering department. Yes, since we always meet lots of problems and have to discuss with professors. The academic requirements of the school is very strict. The education at this school is geared toward making you a good engineer who will contribute to the society.

Stefan

WPI has a unique academic system. Instead of having the typical 2 semesters, it has 4 terms. Each term is 7 weeks long and a student takes 3 courses, or overloads and takes 4. With this type of system, an exam occurs every few weeks for each class, so it keeps you on your toes. The professors are very good with contact outside of their regularly scheduled office hours. They make every effort to help a student learn the subject matter. A great professor that I have encountered is Prof. Emmanuel who does not let you leave his office until he is convinced you understand the concept. It is this type of support that can be felt throughout most of the professors around campus, they all want to see the students learn and succeed. Class participation is highly encouraged by all the professors. My Major is Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). It is considered to be one of the toughest majors at WPI. The main building for ECE is Atwater Kent (AK). AK has a lounge/lobby when you first walk in that has students gathered all the time working on HW, talking, or just relieving stress after an exam. It is a great place to meet new people in your major field that can help when you might be stuck on the homework.

Kunal

I am a masters student in Biomedical Engineering. The most unique class that i have taken was Ratlab-Animal Lab Surgery.it was a fun class.

Elizabeth

Although the academic work is generally rigorous and fast-paced, many students find they prefer the work environment of WPI to other schools. Student study rates tend to be higher than typical colleges, partly due to its being a technical school, and partly due to the competitiveness of the students. Some positives about this, however, is that the professors realize this, and are incredibly helpful and approachable when it comes to student inquiries - and so are your fellow students, who can often help you as well.

Elizabeth

Although the academic work is generally rigorous and fast-paced, many students find they prefer the work environment of WPI to other schools. Student study rates tend to be higher than typical colleges, partly due to its being a technical school, and partly due to the competitiveness of the students. Some positives about this, however, is that the professors realize this, and are incredibly helpful and approachable when it comes to student inquiries - and so are your fellow students, who can often help you as well.

Emily

Starting ansAcademics at WPI are fast paced and rigorous but there are plenty of resources to ensure success. Professors have office hours every week and are willing to schedule a time to meet if you cannot make it to office hours. Professors are also willing to meet and talk with students about future plans and offer advice about courses and any other academic concerns you may have. The Academic Resource Center is also available to assist students with their academics. Students can sign up for one-on-one or small group sessions with a tutor. MASH (Math and Science Help) offers weekly help sessions for general math and science courses. One of the best academic resources is other students. Instead of a sense of competition between students, there is a sense of camaraderie. Students are always willing to help other students with academics. Intellectual conversations between students are common outside of the classroom setting. The amount of type that students spend studying and working on homework, largely depends on the student, but a good rule of thumb is approximately two hours per class per night. wering!

Fernando

The best thing about my school is that everyone is so excepting of each other that it is very hard to be an outcast their. I wouldn't change a thing about my school, i like it the way it is. My school is just right, i like that it's not too spread out because you wouldn't be able to meet everyone. When i tell people i go to WPI, they assume i am a nerd or rich which i'm not. I spend a lot of time either in the gym or in the library, doing work or working out. I feel the administration is very helpful, coming from a public school system private school can be very overwhelming. They help me get my things organized, which i appreciate. There isn't many controversy that i am involved in because i am either in the gym or library. My school is very traditional, so school pride is huge their. This is my first time going to a private school, so everything is unusual to me. The experience i will always remember is living with my friends from home at school. You get to know your friends a lot better after living with them. The most frequent student complaints is that supplies at school are very pricey.

Tammy

Professors will usually know people's name when the class is small (10-20). For big classes, some professors will remember every student registered for his class. Most professors will remember the name if students go to talk to him after class or act actively in class. I like one class I am taking right now. Computer networks. Very very challenging and prof is pushing so hard but giving so much to students as well. He requires lots of reading before each class so we will be familiar with materials he teach ( he elevate the class with many real world cases). We have quiz bowl every class to test our reading which is a random list of computer algorithm that will show people's name with questions so that student is expected to answer. We also have project works which is hard coding of real server, routers etc. Students study every day. I am a junior and each class expects 9-12 or 13-21 hours/ week and I am taking 3 classes. 3 classes/ term is normal, 4 classes/ term is overloading. 4 + is fine (up to you). *WPI is operating on quarter not semester. Class participation is common. Professors are nice to answer questions you have (both in big and small classes). The students have a lot of conversations outside class because of project and teamwork are so common for almost every class. Students are competitive, not everyone of them but most are. My major is Management Information System (school of business) and minor in computer science (CS department). My major serves as the bridge of communication between business people and technical people in a company, eg a business analyst in a IT department is a typical job for MIS people. But MIS people can do whatever they want and it's very flexible depending on your interest. Good major for people who like CS and business at the same time. I spend time with prof outside of class. Prof has many office hours and easy to get appointments. The academic requirements are demanding for some major (ECE, robotic eng etc). For school of business, we have a foundation course that requires all business students to take. Other than that, each major has additional requirements. WPI is unique for its IQP (interactive qualifying project, junior year) and MQP (major qualifying project) which is required for all WPI students. Both credit can take one term to three terms to finish and can be done by individual or teams ( individual is rarely). WPI offers abroad opportunities for both but MQP is limited because you can only consider the place based on your major. These two experiences are the things valued a lot when WPI students go out to find jobs. They have first-hand experience in the industry to talk about before they graduate. WPI is willing to get students ready for jobs after they graduate. But I feel it's the student's responsbility to differentiate about real learning or just enough for jobs. For every class we take, it's up to us of how we can get out of it rather than totally decided by prof.

Amelia

Hard classes are inevitable you have to study but not an enormous amount. My personal take is that classes get easier as you go up- freshman year was hard for me cause of the adjustment of the rigor of classes but I'm doing alot better now already in my sophmore year.

Cameron

Some classes are small, and the professor knows your name, but others are done in a big lecture hall, and sometimes even the TAs or PLAs don't know your name. Class participation is always encouraged, and sometimes required. Students study pretty much every night, except Tuesdays, and WPI students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, which is very refreshing. I'm majoring in Math and Spanish. I love the Spanish department, and the math department I'm still deciding about. All the teachers really want to help you, but for most of them if you don't seek help you won't do well.

Morgan

Because of the exceptional amount of class hours that we have over other universities, engendered by our 7 week terms rather than the normal semesters, there is a lot of student teacher interaction and class participation, as well as many lab hours within most majors. I personally believe that many of WPI's classes are very creatively geared towards really developing not only academics, but real professional knowledge, which holds to the polytechnic spirit. As an Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as a Computer Science Student, I spend lots of times in labs and doing assignments. Though the work is not unreasonable. I do feel that, as a double major that is passionately devoted to keeping both majors, that the requirements at WPI make it very difficult to complete a double bachelors in a 4 year time frame. The distribution requirements for any one major are already very extensive and leave only small room for additional work, the the diversity of what you can do is very good.

Brian

As with most colleges, class participation is very low; professors really have to pull teeth for students to answer questions. Classes are medium in size (the biggest ones that everyone takes can have 100-150 people but most have no more than 30). Overall, the education at WPI is definitely geared towards job training, offering both theory and practice ("Theory and Practice" actually being the school's motto).

Tristan

Class sizes are pretty large so many professors do not know you by name unless you make yourself known. The way to do this is to introduce yourself, go to office hours, email them, etc. My favorite class was ECE 2022 because the labs were relevant to what I want to do in the future. It wasn't too difficult but it did challenge the mind.

chris

Wpi is damn near impossible with the amount of work that is given. With 4 terms of 7 weeks each classes are over before you know it. However when you fail a class (getting below 70%) it does not hurt your gpa. There are however projects that need to be completed before you can graduate which can really screw you over.

Ryan

Academics are very strong at WPI, even though a lot of times the amount you learn from a class depends on the quality of the teacher. I've had both good and bad teachers, as you would at most institutions, but when you get a good teacher, you learn SO much. Theres a lot of online resources rating teachers, which gives you a good idea when class selection time comes up which class section to take. The ECE department is well known for their teachers, if thats what you're looking into taking.

Elisabeth

Although my major (Game Development) is less than 5 years old, I feel that the teachers in that field are very friendly and helpful. It would help if WPI gave some more support to the major, especially if they want to expand it because there is little help from the school in getting a job in Game Dev outside of WPI. Generally, there are smaller classes (around 30) and many of the teachers are international, which has good and bad qualities. Sometimes their accent is hard to understand, but it's interesting to have a different culture teach you.

Stacie

WPI is a good place to go if you don't want to be just another student at a large university. The classes are taught by professors (not TAs). They have office hours for students to go see them individually if necessary. Many professors will take the time to get to know you. Many students participate in class, and there isn't a lot of competition between students. Actually, group work is encouraged and many students work together to solve problems and help each other with assignments. The senior project allows students to get in the lab and do something real with one on one help from professors. WPI prepares people for life in the real world, and gives graduates the knowledge needed to enter the workforce, or attend graduate / med school.

Alex

Small, sometimes personal classes aimed at real world experiences. Most go overseas, and almost all get jobs right after (the rest go to grad school). Nothing to worry about in that respect

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