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Program Structure

The Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) consists of five competencies to provide the expertise and skills necessary to address a Grand Challenge. Each Texas A&M Grand Challenges Scholar will develop a customized plan for developing each of the five GCSP components and ensure they help the student approach their chosen Grand Challenge. They will also provide connectivity across these five components and a Grand Challenge problem or problem area.

GCSP Competencies

Below are the five competencies of the program as directed by the National Academy of Engineering and is standard across all GCSP programs across the nation.

  • Talent - Mentored research or project experience related to a Grand Challenge to enhance technical competence

  • Multidisciplinary - Understanding gained through experience of the multidisciplinary character of implementable and viable Grand Challenge solutions

  • Viable Business/Entrepreneurship - Understanding gained through experience that viable business models are necessary for the successful implementation of Grand Challenge solutions

  • Multicultural - Understanding gained through experience that serious consideration of cultural issues is mandatory for all viable Grand Challenge solutions

  • Social Consciousness - Deepened social consciousness and motivation to address societal problems, often gained through service learning, as serving people is the vision of the Grand Challenges

Fulfilling the Competencies

GCSP scholars fulfill all five competencies throughout their college careers. Descriptions and reflections of their experiences will be compiled in their GCSP portfolio, which is a valuable portion of the program. Examples of how to meet the requirements for each of the competencies are provided below.

Talent - Two semesters of mentored research or creative project experience geared towards solving your grand challenge area of choice: health, sustainability, security or joy of living.

Multidisciplinary - Complete ENGR 499 - Grand Challenges Scholars Program (one credit hour) the first spring semester in the program and one additional interdisciplinary course or experience relating to a grand challenge area, such as the following:

Viable Business/Entrepreneurship - Complete an entrepreneurship course or participate in a significant entrepreneurial experience.

Multicultural - Complete two multicultural/global courses or experiences.

Social Consciousness - Gain significant participation and leadership in community service projects or outreach events

The above is a list of pre-approved activities that is continually updated. If you have a question regarding whether an activity can count, please reach out to

Scholars are allowed to count their college experiences before joining the program toward their competency completion if they complete the reflection in their GCSP portfolio.

Maintaining Active Status

To maintain active status, you must:

  • Be a student in good standing with the university, maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0. 
  • Maintain continuous progress in five areas.
  • Participate in GCSP meetings and activities.
  • Submit an annual report describing their GCSP activities for the past year and their plans for completing all GCSP requirements.
  • By graduation, scholars must submit a completed GCSP portfolio and present it at the GCSP Spring Symposium.