Worcester Polytechnic Institute

2014 Quick Stats
100 Institute Road

Worcester, MA 01609

Phone: (508) 831-5000
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Feb. 1
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#62 Overall Score: 58 out of 100. National Universities

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private institution that was founded in 1865. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,952, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 80 acres. It utilizes a quarter-based academic calendar. Worcester Polytechnic Institute's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 62. Its tuition and fees are $42,778 (2013-14).

Among the 10 colleges located in Worcester, Mass., Worcester Polytechnic Institute stands out as a close-knit private school grounded in scientific education. The student body is actively engaged in campus activities, such as the rivalry contests like the gigantic tug-of-war held throughout the year that pit the freshmen class against the sophomores. More than 30 percent of students are members of the school's 15 or so fraternities and sororities. Even more – close to 70 percent – are involved in campus sports at some level. The WPI Engineers compete in the NCAA Division III New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference, supported by mascot Gompei, a goat. Though the original school mascot was the head of a once-live goat, the school now uses a man-made replica for a mascot. WPI students also come out in droves for the school's club sports and intramural program, and all students must take four physical education courses, ranging from lifeguarding to plyometrics.

Freshmen do not have to live in campus residence facilities, which include standard dormitories and four houses with student-selected themes. A university seal is imprinted on the ground in the center of campus, but make sure not to step on it; school lore warns that any student who does won't graduate on time. Off campus, students can use Woo Cards to get discounts on food and activities around Worcester. Boston is 45 miles away, or about an hour's trip by train.

At WPI, "M*A*S*H" is not just a decades-old hit television show; it is also the student-led tutoring program more formally known as Math And Science Help. The student population is decidedly male dominated, with men accounting for more than 70 percent of undergraduates. Notable WPI alumni include Robert Goddard, inventor of the liquid-fueled rocket, and Nancy Pimental, a writer for "South Park" and cohost of "Win Ben Stein’s Money."

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation's first engineering and technology universities. Today, WPI is a small, independent university centered on engineering, science, technology, and mathematics, with strong academic and co-curricular programs in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and business. The university's 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, leading to the BA, BS, MS, ME, MBA, and PhD. WPI places a high premium on excellence in undergraduate education, with rich student-faculty interaction and a distinct approach to active, collaborative learning through a project-based curriculum. Each WPI undergraduate must complete two key projects, one in the major field of study and one that addresses an open-ended problem at the intersection of science, technology, and society. Through these projects, which are often sponsored by leaders of major corporations, senior officers in government agencies, and representatives from professional societies around the world, students demonstrate their ability to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world problems, and gain an appreciation for how the solutions to those problems impact the world around them. Students can participate in the Great Problems Seminar, a two-course introduction to university-level research and projects focused on themes of current global importance. Through the university's innovative Global Perspective Program, students have the opportunity to make a difference in communities and organizations around the world. WPI established its first off-campus residential project center in 1974 in Washington, D.C., and its first international center in 1987 in London. Today, it maintains a network of project centers that span the globe, with more than 30 project centers located in North and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe. About two thirds of WPI undergraduates now travel off campus to complete projects, with half working overseas, gaining a global outlook. In addition, all students must complete a humanities and arts requirement. Graduate students are challenged to engage in research that matters, offering contributions that lead to breakthroughs in problems facing society. Faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Notable WPI academic and research centers include the Fire Science Laboratory, where students and faculty tackle the most challenging questions in fire safety; the Metal Processing Institute, the largest industry-university alliance in North America; and the Bioengineering Institute, which commercializes cutting-edge life sciences technology. WPI is making a significant investment in life sciences-related research and in the economic development of its home city by jointly developing an 11-acre mixed-use, life sciences-based campus adjacent to downtown Worcester. The first building at the site, the 125,000-sq.-ft. WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, houses the university's graduate research programs in these disciplines. A second building houses, among other tenants, the Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center, the new Fire Protection Engineering Laboratory, which supports one of the world's only graduate programs in fire protection engineering, and the university's School of Business. Gateway Park is a short walk from WPI's attractively landscaped 80-acre campus, which is bordered by public parks and scenic residential areas. WPI's 32,000 alumni are located throughout the U.S. and in more than 99 countries. Through the years, WPI alumni have been responsible for many world-changing innovations, including the liquid-fueled rocket, stainless steel, the airbag safety system, and the Segway Human Transporter.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1865
Religious affiliation N/A
Academic calendar quarter
Setting city
2012 Endowment $358,640,000


When applying to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, it's important to note the application deadline is February 1, and the early action deadline is January 1. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due March 1. The application fee at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is $60. It is more selective, with an acceptance rate of 52.6 percent and an early acceptance rate of 65.2 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity more selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 52.6%
Application deadline February 1
SAT/ACT scores must be received by March 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is 14:1, and the school has 64.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Worcester Polytechnic Institute include: Mechanical Engineering; Electrical and Electronics Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Civil Engineering, General; and Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 95.3 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 14:1
4-year graduation rate 74%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Mechanical Engineering 18%
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 11%
Chemical Engineering 9%
Civil Engineering, General 9%
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 8%

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Student Life

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,952, with a gender distribution of 68.4 percent male students and 31.6 percent female students. At this school, 50 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 50 percent of students live off campus. Worcester Polytechnic Institute is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 5,957
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, women's center, placement service, health service, and health insurance. Worcester Polytechnic Institute also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Students who have cars on campus N/A
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 65.9 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $20,415.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $42,778 (2013-14)
Room and board $13,082 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

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