Skip To Main Content
Student in lab adjusting laser

The Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) curriculum consists of five curricular components which provides the Grand Challenge Scholar with the engineering and non-engineering expertise and meta-curricular expertise necessary to address a Grand Challenge. Each Texas A&M Grand Challenge Scholar, working with their Grand Challenge Faculty Mentor, will develop a customized plan for achieving a specified level of engagement and competence in each of the five GCSP components, and for ensuring curricular connectivity across these five components and a Grand Challenge problem.

Curricular Components 

Below are the five components of the program with the expected engagement levels of each, including examples of the type of the activities or mechanisms that can be used to satisfy each component. 

The depth of engagement is defined in terms of equivalent credit hours:

    • Deep: equivalent to 9+ credit hours or 3 courses
    • Medium: equivalent to 5-8 credit hours or two courses
    • Exposure: equivalent to 3-4 credit hours or one course


  • Research

    • Activity: Thesis (required) - must contain a separate section describing how the research can be used in solving one or more of the NAE grand challenges
    • Engagement Depth: Deep
  • Interdisciplinary

    • Activity: Thesis research, AggiE_Challenge, Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS)
    • Engagement Depth: Deep, Medium
  • Entrepreneurship*

    • Activity: Aggies Invent, Startup Aggieland, Entrepreneurship Courses, Texas A&M University (TAMU) Hack
    • Engagement Depth: Deep, Medium, Exposure 
  • Global Perspective*

    • Activity: Engineering International Certificate, Engineers without Borders, Study Abroad
    • Engagement Depth: Deep, Medium, Exposure
  • Service Learning*

    • Activity: Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS), Big Event(significant leadership role), Peer Teaching, Engineers Serving the Community
    • Engagement Depth: Deep, Medium, Exposure

Note: At least one of the three requirements with an "*"  needs to have a depth of engagement of "Medium" (e.g., Entrepreneurship-Exposure; Global Perspective-Exposure; Service Learning-Medium)  

Texas A&M has a number of existing programs that address one or more of the five Grand Challenge curricular components and which the Grand Challenge Scholars can utilize in their customized GCSP curriculum.

It is possible, and indeed desirable, for a Grand Challenge Scholar's activities to fulfill multiple curricular components. For example, the thesis research on the Grand Challenge problem may naturally involve interdisciplinary curriculum or global dimension, and, depending on the project, could also involve entrepreneurship or service learning.

In cases where a component is satisfied with activities other than traditional coursework, an assessment of the level of engagement will be done by the GCSP Director; Grand Challenge Scholars will work with their Grand Challenge Faculty Mentor and/or the GCSP Director to determine the level of engagement. 

To Maintain Active Status

  • Be a student in good standing with the university, maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.25 
  • Maintain continuous progress in five areas
  • Participate in GCSP activities and annual Spring Grand Challenge Symposium at Texas A&M
  • Meet with GCSP Director every semester
  • Submit an annual report & evaluation by Grand Challenge Faculty Mentor and GCSP Director, describing their GCSP activities for the past year, their plans for the coming year and for meeting all GCSP requirements prior to graduation

Program Structure