Each GC scholar must participate in a substantial team or independent project relating to a Grand Challenge theme or specific Grand Challenge problem.–NAE


Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for the Research program element are based on a set of objectives that have been developed at UMBC to assess the learning of URA recipients, and on the Critical Agency AFC. The six core research learning objectives are:

  • Effective Communication: Express ideas in an organized, clear, concise, and accurate manner.
  • Disciplinary Communication: Write clearly and effectively in discipline-specific formats.
  • Creativity: Effectively connect multiple ideas and approaches.
  • Practice and Process of Inquiry: Demonstrate the ability to formulate questions and hypotheses within their discipline.
  • Nature of Disciplinary Knowledge: Show understanding of the way practitioners think within the discipline and view the world around them.
  • Understanding Ethical Conduct: Predict, recognize, and weigh the risks and benefits of the project for others.

Pre-approved options for completing experience requirement:



  • Two-course capstone design sequence with a GC-related focus (e.g., ENCH 444/446; CMPE 450/451).
  • Approved multiple-semester GC-related research experience (independent study, research internship, Undergraduate Research Award, departmental honors thesis, or non-credit research).
  • Summer-long research program (REU, fellowship, or industry research internship).



  • Structured research course (e.g., ENCH 468 or HAPP 403/SOCY 663) on an approved GC-related topic.
  • Three-credit, one-course capstone design with a GC-related focus (e.g., ENME 444).
  • Three-credit independent study research course with an approved GC-related focus.



  • One-credit independent study research course with an approved GC-related focus.
  • Significant GC-related research project within the context of a course with an appropriate focus.