First-time freshmen are eligible to apply to the program after they have completed at least three semesters at UMBC. Transfer students may apply after they have completed at least one semester at UMBC. Students in engineering and computing majors must have completed the gateway requirements for their major.

Applicants are expected to:
  • Have earned at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Students who have earned at least a 2.8 may apply, but will be accepted on probationary status.
    • To remain in the program, these students must earn semester GPAs of at least 3.0 and must bring their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the end of their second semester in the program.
  • Have completed (or made significant progress towards) at least one qualifying experience in at least two of the five program areas. Students who are not sure whether their past work would qualify may still apply. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this expectation.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of and commitment to social consciousness and global awareness.
  • Exhibit a commitment to increasing diversity in Grand Challenge teams and solutions.
To apply, students must submit:
  • An Unofficial transcript
  • Documentation of the completed qualifying experiences
  • Responses to short essay questions about the Grand Challenges, social and global awareness, and diversity
  • Identification of two endorsers (UMBC faculty or staff, employers, or supervisors/contacts for outside activities), who will be asked to complete a short web form indicating their support of the student’s application.

Apply to the Program

Application and Selection Process
  1. The standard application deadline is during the end of the Spring semester of each academic year (website is updated annually with the due date), but students may apply at any time, and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Students applying by the deadline will be notified of acceptance by the end of May.
  2. Students will be selected based on a GPA cutoff, their demonstrated readiness to commit themselves to work towards solutions for the Grand Challenges, and validation of their completed qualifying experience, if any.
  3. Once accepted to the program, students must meet the requirements of a GCSP Scholar, including maintaining a 3.0 cumulative GPA, enrolling in and passing the GCSP Seminars as required, meeting with their GCSP advisor each semester, and making documented progress on the required qualifying experiences each semester.
  4. Students not accepted to the program will receive feedback about their application, and will be encouraged to apply again if the reviewers’ concerns could be remedied (e.g., through improved grades, validated experiences, or more thoughtful essay responses).
  5. Students who complete the program will receive a GCSP Scholar Certificate, a UMBC GCSP lapel pin, and an NAE Grand Challenge Scholars medal to wear at graduation, as well as recognition on NAE’s website.