Program completion requirements

Becoming a Grand Challenges Scholar

To successfully complete the program and graduate as a Grand Challenges Scholar, you must achieve five “competencies” in your educational journey, focusing your experiences on a Grand Challenges theme (Health, Joy of living, Security, or Sustainability).

These five competencies will give you the tools you need to make a positive difference in the world.

You will complete the following five competencies by crafting a personalized roadmap, including courses and/or extracurricular activities. Faculty mentors will guide you through three special courses designed to keep you on the right path

Chart a course for success

Below are the five competencies you must complete over the course of your education.

These competencies can be completed at any time through the GCSP-approved courses and experiences you choose. They will help you further your understanding of your GCSP theme area.


Mentored research/creative project experience on a Grand Challenge-like topic.

You must complete two semesters of mentored research or creative project experiences related to your theme area to satisfy this requirement.


Understanding multidisciplinary of engineering systems solutions developed through personal engagement.

You must complete the FSE150 Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering GCSP course and 1 additional course OR experience related to this competency and your theme area to satisfy this requirement.

Viable Business/Entrepreneurship

Understanding, preferably developed through experience, of the necessity of a viable business model for solution implementation.

You must complete 1 course OR 1 experience related to this competency and your theme area to satisfy this requirement.


Understanding different cultures, preferably through multicultural experiences, to ensure cultural acceptance of proposed engineering solutions.

You must complete 2 courses OR experiences related to this competency and your theme area to satisfy this requirement.

Social Consciousness

Understanding that engineering solutions should primarily serve people and society reflecting social consciousness.

You must complete 80 hours of service learning experience related to engineering and/or your theme area to satisfy this requirement.

Help along the way

We will support and mentor you throughout your individualized GCSP journey through the four steps outlined below.

Along the way, you may also participate in GCSP community events or apply for funding to support any travel and/or research you pursue.


Year 1: FSE150 + Create Portfolio (3 credit SB, Honors)

Explore local and global challenges, identify your interests, create your portfolio, and design your GCSP journey. Optional: jumpstart your GCSP experience at GCSP Summer Institute, a weeklong residential summer program exclusive to incoming first-year GCSP students.


Year 2: FSE250: GCSP Gold (1 credit iCourse, Honors)

Hone your path through the GCSP program, and learn how to connect that journey with your life and career goals. Seek mentorship opportunities and begin to look for internships and other professional opportunities.


Year 3: FSE350: GCSP Maroon (1 credit iCourse, Honors)

Plan your final steps toward graduating as a Grand Challenges Scholar, reflect on what you’ve learned in the program and learn how to leverage it in the professional world.


Year 4: Final portfolio submission and graduation

Congratulations, you’ve made it! Submit your portfolio and get ready to meet the world’s challenges with an open mind and the determination to make a difference.