Grand Challenges Scholars Program



The ESI Center sponsors the Georgia Tech Grand Challenges Scholars (GCS) Program. This Program encourages the development and growth of a diverse and dynamic community of students and faculty who are committed to engaging the most pressing challenges facing the global community.

Grand Challenges Scholars will develop individual plans to fulfill the five curricular and co-curricular components:


  1. Hands on project or research experience related to a grand challenge.
    This project will have a sustained duration of two or more semesters focused on a challenge of importance to humanity.
  2. Interdisciplinary learning experience:
    This requirement can be fulfilled through completion of two courses with a GC focus in the social sciences,   arts, humanities, public policy or international affairs.  It can also be fulfilled by participating on a multi-disciplinary design project at the capstone level or before.
  3. Entrepreneurship experience:
    This component focuses on translating an invention or innovation into a commercial venture linked to a grand challenge. Many opportunities for fulfilling this requirement can be found at
  4. Global/Cross-cultural experience:
    Participating in this activity will deepen a student’s consciousness and motivation to bring technical knowledge to bear on global problems. This experience could be overseas through the Office of International education, Engineers without Borders, Engineering World Health or in an under-served domestic community.  It can also be fulfilled through coursework.
  5. Service and Social action experience:
    Develop/deepen social consciousness and motivation to bring technical expertise to bear on societal problems.


To apply for admission to the GCS program, a student must be in good academic standing and submit the following documents within the first two months of an academic term.

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A personal essay explaining reasons and goals for participating in the GCS program. (This essay should be concrete in describing prior relevant experiences and/or desired personal goals. 1-2 pages.)
  3. A proposed GCS curricular and co-curricular plan, which maps out the courses, activities and experiences the student plans to pursue in the five required areas. This plan is subject to change as the student works through the components and consults with his/her adviser.

Apply to the Grand Challenges Scholars Program Now!