Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

views updated

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Advanced Distance Learning Network

Worcester, Massachusetts


In 1979, WPI's commitment to active, lifelong learning prompted the creation of the Advanced Distance Learning Network (ADLN), a partnership between several academic departments and WPI's Instructional Media Center. ADLN programs empower working professionals to continue to grow within their chosen field without having to take classes on campus. There is no residency requirement.


ADLN delivers the same courses, content, and material as the on-campus programs but through a different delivery system. On-campus courses are taught by a faculty member in a face-to-face classroom environment. The delivery system for ADLN, taught by the same WPI faculty, is through a combination of technologies, including via the Web, videotape, and videoconferencing, thereby utilizing the best delivery method for the specific course content. Materials such as books, handouts, and supplemental readings are sent by express mail, fax, or e-mail or are posted on the Internet. An e-mail account and access to the Internet are required for participation in an ADLN course.


ADLN offers a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in technology organizations, a Master of Science (M.S.) in fire protection engineering, and a Master of Science (M.S.) in civil and environmental engineering. In addition to these degree options, WPI's ADLN also offers numerous graduate certificate programs in these areas.

The M.B.A. program focuses on the management of technology and features a highly integrative curriculum that emphasizes leadership, ethics, communication, and a global perspective. Concentration areas include electronic commerce, information technology, and management of technology. This 49-credit M.B.A. program may be reduced to as few as 31 credits with an appropriate academic background. A customized 14-credit graduate certificate program in management is also available.

The Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) program is oriented toward developing a well-rounded professional who can be successful in a competitive career environment. The curriculum is designed to teach students current standards of practice and expose them to state-of-the-art research literature that will support future practices. In addition to the ten-course (30-credit) M.S. option, professionals with a B.S. degree in an engineering, engineering technology, or science field who complete four thematically related FPE courses can receive a graduate certificate in FPE. Master's degree holders may instead opt to complete five thematically related courses for an advanced certificate in FPE.

The Environmental Engineering program is arranged to meet the interests and objectives of individual students and their employers. The curriculum focuses on today's environmental issues in water quality systems and water remediation systems and their relationship to engineering, business, and law. The 33-credit Master of Science degree is a professional practice–oriented degree designed to meet the continuing challenges faced by practicing environmental engineers. A four-course graduate certificate is also available through ADLN.

Founded in 1865, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has long been a pioneer in technological higher education. Three decades after it was created, the university's distinctive outcomes-oriented approach to education is being viewed as a model for reform at the national level, and WPI is recognized as the leader in global technological education. WPI is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

WPI awarded its first advanced degree in 1893. Today, most of its academic departments offer master's and doctoral programs and support leading-edge research in a broad range of fields. Through the years, WPI has earned a reputation for its academic excellence, its responsiveness to the needs of the marketplace, and for its faculty of renowned academicians and industry experts who are practitioners in their fields.

Credits earned in any WPI certificate program can later be applied toward an advanced degree, contingent upon formal admission to graduate study. A maximum of two courses taken at WPI as a non-degree-seeking student may be applied for credit to the M.B.A. program; a maximum of four courses taken at WPI as a non-degree seeking student may be applied for credit to an M.S. in fire protection engineering or an M.S. in environmental engineering.


ADLN and appropriate academic personnel are always willing to consider the addition of new programs for which there is sufficient interest.


Academic advisers are assigned upon admission. Online library services are free, and reference services are available by phone or e-mail. Dial-up UNIX accounts (for e-mail, etc.) and career placement and counseling are available for matriculated students. Books can be ordered toll-free from the WPI bookstore (888-WPI-BOOKS) and are typically delivered one to three days after ordering.


The M.B.A. program allows 18 foundation-level credits to be waived for those with appropriate academic backgrounds via waiver exams. The M.B.A. program, the M.S. in fire protection engineering, and the M.S. in environmental engineering allow students to transfer up to 9 credits from graduate-level course work at other schools. Graduate and Advanced Certificate programs require all credits to come from WPI.


Management has 29 faculty members (21 full-time members and 8 part-time members), 26 of whom have Ph.D. degrees. Fire protection engineering has 6 full-time faculty members, all with Ph.D. degrees, and 2 part-time professors. Environmental engineering has 13 full-time faculty members, all with Ph.D. degrees, and 8 part-time professors.


To be considered for admission to the M.B.A. program or a graduate certificate in management, an applicant must hold a B.S. degree and possess the analytic aptitude necessary to complete a technology-oriented program. Admission to WPI's M.S. programs or graduate certificate options in fire protection engineering or environmental engineering require an applicant to hold a B.S. degree in an appropriate field of engineering, engineering technology, or science and meet department-specific admission standards. Conditional admission is available if all requirements are not met at the time of application.

Non-degree-seeking students wishing to take management courses must demonstrate that they hold a bachelor's degree with an overall 3.0 (or equivalent) undergraduate grade point average or a completed graduate degree from an accredited university prior to being permitted to register for the courses. This requirement must be met with an official transcript submitted to the Office of Graduate Management Programs prior to registering for the first course. In addition, students must provide a personal statement explaining the motivation for their interest in WPI's graduate management program.


Tuition is $897 per credit for all programs in the 2004–05 academic year. Students wishing to earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) instead of graduate credit may opt to audit courses at half tuition.


Loan-based aid is available only through special arrangements. Students must be registered on at least a half-time basis (two courses per semester).


Pamela Shelley, Assistant Director
Advanced Distance Learning Network
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
100 Institute Road
Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-2280
Telephone: 508-831-5220
Fax: 508-831-5881
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.wpi.edu/+ADLN


All departments require standard forms, official transcripts, and a $70 application fee. Management degree programs also require three letters of recommendation and GMAT scores. All international applicants must submit TOEFL scores. GRE scores are not required but may be substituted for the GMAT scores when applying for a graduate certificate in management.

About this article

Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article