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About ND Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Class of 2019 GCSP studentsThe College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame is one of 40 engineering schools around the world selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP).

As a GCSP school, our engineering curriculum incorporates five competencies designed to prepare students to address the grand challenges they will face as engineers. Additionally, the Notre Dame GCSP program encourages students to engage in transformational learning and research activities that they are passionate about, inspiring them to the highest levels of scholarship and service as a reflection of their responsibilities as engineers and the Notre Dame Mission. Our students often find that helping others enriches their lives in ways they had not thought possible.

Program Requirements

The ND-GCSP program is open to all engineering undergraduates in good academic standing (≥ 2.0 GPA).

Participating is voluntary, but each student must apply to be part of the program, ideally during your first two years of study. Follow the instructions under “How to Apply” for application requirements and submission deadlines.

Although a student must define his or her own path to meet the program components, each undergraduate must complete all five dimensions of the GCSP. This is usually accomplished within two years. The College of Engineering has built flexibility into the program to allow for individual development and experiences specific to a student’s goals.

Five Dimensions of GCSP


1. Research Project or Experience

Each GSP student must propose and complete a research project related to one of the Grand Challenges. All projects must be approved by the ND GCSP director.

2. Interdisciplinary Curriculum

As an NAE GCSP participating, the College of Engineering offers a core curriculum that complements a high standard of engineering fundamentals. In addition to that core, all GCSP students must complete two courses [or approved modules] that relate to public policy, business, law, ethics, human behavior, risk, or medicine. These must be approved by the ND GCSP director.

3. Business/Entrepreneurship

Students must be able to translate invention to innovation, developing market ventures that can scale into global solutions in the public interest. ND GCSP offers a variety of options in this area via coursework as well as through related opportunities.

Course options (minimum of 2 required for competency):

Boardroom Insights (BAUG 30209)
Case Studies in Computing-based Entrepreneurship (CSE 40923)
Engineering Leadership (EG 30010)
Entrepreneurial Insights (BAUG 20500)
Integrated Engineering and Business Fundamentals I (EG 40421)
Integrated Engineering and Business Fundamentals II (EG 40422)

Related opportunities:

McCloskey Business Plan Competition
ND California
Notre Dame Idea Center
Internships (only if related to your Grand Challenge)

4. Multicultural/Global Experience

Understanding different cultures and ways of life around the globe is vital to addressing challenges that can lead to global innovations. Developing a global perspective is a key dimension of the GCSP program, and Notre Dame offers a variety of ways to achieve this. Student options include:

Engineering Summer Study Abroad
Notre Dame International (NDI) Study Abroad
NDI Undergraduate International Research
Center for Social Concerns Overseas Service Learning
International Internship
ND Students Empowering through Engineering Development
ND Engineers without Borders
Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem

Another global experience (which must be approved by the ND GCSP director)

Note: Must relate to your Grand Challenge

5. Social Consciousness/Community Engagement

Community engagement helps students better understand the relationship between technology and people. It shows them how it can benefit the lives of people around the world, from meeting basic human needs to actually saving lives. This connection is vital as it motivates students to learn and grow their technical expertise even more so that they can make a difference.

This component may be fulfilled by any course, extracurricular, or community engagement experience that utilizes student engineering skills for the betterment of a community. However, it must be approved by the ND GCSP director.

Explore ideas and community engagement opportunities at EngageND