Study abroad has long been a touchstone of the undergraduate college experience, but Worcester Polytechnic Institute is expanding the program and hoping to send more of its master’s and doctoral students overseas to tackle problems in health care, urban sustainability, energy and food supplies.

WPI announced on Thursday that it will launch the Global School and search for the program’s first dean.

The university plans to expand a seven-week, project-based program it offers undergraduates around the world, said Winston Soboyejo, WPI’s provost.

WPI enrolls about 2,500 graduate students and would like to have up to 1,000 participating in global projects, Soboyejo said. The seven-week project would help students earning their graduate degrees bolster their research and develop the skills to ensure they are competitive in the job market, he said.


For example, the school is developing a project center in a village in Ghana, where WPI students will work with local university students to connect residents with health care services, he said.

Training its graduates to work in global teams and on international issues remains a priority for WPI, Soboyejo said.

“We see the future of work being global,” he said.

WPI, with 6,900 total students, is focused on science and engineering education.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.