Western Polytechnic Institute (WPI) ranks as one of the top technical and scientific colleges in the country. Founded in 1865, the two men who started the college wanted a school that would offer students the chance to study technical subjects while also taking liberal arts or humanities classes. Its Department of Practical Mechanics was one of the first in the nation that focused on teaching students skills in the classroom and then letting them practice their skills in workshops. Though it was the site of a Navy College Training Program during World War II, the campus struggled in its later years. Its new president launched new programs that streamlined its programs and changed its curriculum, which led to more students enrolling. WPI now has around 4,100 undergrads in its programs and a graduate and doctoral enrollment of more than 1,900 students.

U.S. News & World Report calls WPI a Tier One school, which means that it ranks within the top 25% of all American colleges. BusinessWeek picked its part-time MBA program as the best in the nation and also said it had one of the best returns on investments for students, placing it higher on that list than some Ivy League colleges ranked. Its business, game design and engineering programs also received recognition from other publications.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Accreditation Details

Western Polytechnic University has both program and regional accreditation. Program accreditation refers to the approval granted to the university to offer specific degree programs. It has accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business for its business program. The university also has program accreditation from the Accreditation for Engineering & Technology, Inc. (ABET) for its aerospace, chemical, biomedical, civil, robotics, mechanical, industrial, environmental and electrical and computer engineering. ABET also accredited its computer science program. Regional accreditation, which gives the university the right to award graduates their degrees, comes from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Application Requirements

The WPI website features its official online application. Before filling out the application, you’ll need to create an account based off a password you choose and an email address you can regularly access. Separate sections in the application ask you where you attended college, if you have a degree or when you will finish your undergrad degree, the classes you took, any professional experience you have and where you currently live. WPI also charges an application fee of $70 that you pay when submitting your application.

The institute asks for an official transcript from any college or university that you earned course credits at that count towards your degree and at least two letters of recommendation. You must also take the GRE and submit your official score as part of the application process. The last step is the submission of a statement of purpose. This is a short essay that explains your reasons for choosing WPI, what you want to study and what your hope to do with your degree. Some programs will also ask for a copy of your resume.

Once the university receives your information, it will send you an email within two weeks to let you know that it started processing your application. If it needs any additional information, it will contact you via email. Depending on when you applied, you should receive an answer within six to eight weeks.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Western Polytechnic Institute charges a tuition rate of just over $1,400 per credit for graduate students, which equates to more than $25,000 a year for full-time students. You’ll also pay around $1,000 for your textbooks and an additional $1,000 or more for personal expenses. All students must have health insurance, and if you purchase a plan through the university, you’ll pay over $1,000 a year for coverage. Graduate students typically spend around $30,000 to attend WPI, which does not include the cost of room and board.

WPI offers financial aid packages for nearly every student, but you’ll only receive one of those packages after completing and submitting the FAFSA. The university offers a small number of scholarships based on either need or merit and can help you learn about and apply for scholarships from outside sources too. Many graduate students also qualify for loans and grants. Those attending classes on the campus can apply for an assistant job and work as a teaching or research assistant. Fellowships are also available through the university and from outside sources that can help you get $10,000 or more in a single year. WPI has its own unique program for alumni and recent graduates that lets them enroll in a graduate program and take up to 18 credits every semester while only paying for nine credits. You can also use private or alternative student loans to cover your educational and personal expenses.

Online Degrees Available

WPI offers 10 graduate programs, one doctoral program and 10 certificate programs that you can complete online. Its cybersecurity certificate program gives you a better understanding of how to keep computers and information safe online. The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated WPI a Center of Excellence, and many of the students who earn their certificates work for one of those government departments. Designed for those who already have a bachelor’s or a master’s in computer science, this certificate program consists of just six classes. One class focuses on risk management, while a second look at computer networks and security. You’ll also take classes on intrusion detection, digital forensics, software design and cybersecurity case studies.

Related Resource: 50 Most Technologically Advanced Small Colleges 2015

If you want to earn a full graduate degree, you might enroll in the WPI fire protection engineering program. This program is available as a full-time or part-time program and includes three core courses, one integration course and at least six electives for a total of 30 credits. The university recommends that you work with your adviser to select electives relating to your career goals. Your adviser can also help you get course credit for some of the work that you performed in the past. Some of the electives available in the Western Polytechnic Institute fire protection engineering program include detection, alarm and smoke control, advanced fire suppression, explosion protection, fire modeling and special projects for fire control and prevention specialists.