Vertically Integrated Projects: An Overview


The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program is a transformative approach to higher education that engages undergraduate and graduate students in ambitious, long-term, large-scale, multidisciplinary project teams that are led by faculty. The program's model has been rigorously evaluated and refined for more than two decades. 

In VIP, teams of undergraduate students — from various years, disciplines, and backgrounds — work with faculty and graduate students in their areas of scholarship and exploration. Undergraduate students earn academic credit or pay for their work and have direct experience with the innovation process, while faculty and graduate students benefit from the extended efforts of their teams.

Creates long-term experiences with the innovation process

VIP extends project-based learning beyond a single semester, with students participating for up to four years. It provides the time and context for students to gain deeper insights into their field of study, learn and practice professional skills, make substantial contributions to real-world projects, and experience different roles on large, multidisciplinary teams.

Cultivates leadership & mentoring

The long-term nature of VIP creates an environment of mentorship, with faculty, graduate students and experienced team members mentoring newer members. With each semester, returning students move into leadership roles as prior leaders graduate.

Supports faculty scholarship and exploration

VIP attracts students from many disciplines and enables the completion of ambitious projects, which strengthens and expands faculty scholarship and exploration. Faculty members create projects around their own interests, so they bring both expertise and enthusiasm to each team.