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Grand Challenges Scholars Program: Still Accepting Applications

Apply to become a UMBC Grand Challenge Scholar!


UMBC’s Grand Challenge Scholars Program is designed for students from all majors who are interested in solving important societal problems. The program fosters a vibrant interdisciplinary community to help tackle the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Grand Challenges, and gives students experiences and skills to create solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

What are the Grand Challenges?
The Grand Challenges are 14 problems in the areas of sustainability, health, infrastructure, and the joy of living that will require interdisciplinary teams and sustained years of effort to solve. The GCSP brings together a diverse cohort of undergraduates from all majors to work towards solutions for these problems. GC Scholars develop broad skills by completing experiences in five program areas: research, interdisciplinarity, entrepreneurship, global perspectives, and service. Solutions to these issues require interdisciplinary teamwork and years of sustained effort. Read more at

Each scholar will complete three one-credit seminars to help them create a personalized program to explore a selected Grand Challenge. This personalized program provides experiences in five program areas include research, interdisciplinarity, entrepreneurship, global dimensions, and service. Upon graduation, scholars will receive a formal designation for their accomplishments in the program.

We especially encourage sophomores to apply but students who are earlier or later in their studies are also welcome to apply as long as they are able to complete the requirements. In addition to the five program experiences, students must complete three one-credit GCSP seminars, and are expected to participate in GC-related activities on and off campus.

“The Grand Challenges are a call to action and serve as a focal point for society’s attention to opportunities and challenges affecting our quality of life.”–NAE


UMBC Grand Challenge Scholars

To apply, students should submit an unofficial transcript, short essay answers, two names of references, and optionally a short letter of support at  The deadline is April 15 but we will also consider applications received after the deadline on a rolling basis.

Faculty may nominate students by completing the short nomination form at

Apply to become a UMBC Grand Challenge Scholar!


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with a new cohort starting at the beginning of each Fall semester. Click here for more information about the selection process.

For more information about the program, please visit