UH-GCSP Pre-Approved List for Competency Completion

The following list is pre-approved activities. We will add to it over time. If you have a question about whether an activity can count,  please reach out to gcsp [at] uh.edu

For each competency, there are three levels of engagement: exposure (lowest), participant (middle), and investigator (highest).

In order to complete the program, each scholar needs to achieve the following:

  • Investigator Level in the Talent Competency
  • At Least Participant Level in the Multidisciplinary Competency
  • At least Investigator Level in (2) competencies
  • At least Participant Level in (2) competencies
  • At least Exposure Level in the remaining (1) competency

This allows scholars to go deep in the competencies that they are most interested in, while also ensuring they have some exposure to all competencies. 

Scholars are allowed to count college experiences that they had before joining the program toward their competency completion, as long as they complete the reflection described at the end of this document. 


Talent Competency


Multidisciplinary Competency

  • Investigator

    • Energy & Sustainability Minor
    • Anthropology Minor
    • Atmospheric Science Minor
    • Data Science Minor
    • Economics Minor
    • Law, Values, and Policy Minor
    • Medicine & Society Minor
    • Phronesis Minor
    • Note the following minors do not count toward competency completion as most of their requirements are highly overlapping with the engineering degree plan: Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics
  • Participant
    • Take at least 6 hours of courses outside out engineering or required engineering coursework that will serve as a helpful lens on the NAE Grand Challenges. See pre-approved courses in the Multidisciplinary Exposure section below.
    • Include non-engineering component to a Talent competency or other significant engineering design project like Capstone (i.e., business plan, deep discussion or political or social impact)
  • Exposure
    • Take at least 3 hours of courses outside out engineering or required engineering coursework that will serve as a helpful lens on the NAE Grand Challenges. 

      • ANTH 2301 Introduction to Physical Anthropology
      • ANTH 2302 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
      • ENTR 3310 Entrepreneurship
      • HON 2301/ENGL 1370 Human Situation Fall
      • HON 2101/ENGL 2351 Human Situation Spring
      • TECH 1331 Impact of Modern Technology and Science
    • Attend a talk or seminar on Multidisciplinary Efforts related to the NAE Grand Challenges Themes (health, sustainability, security, and joy of living)
      • Honors College Grand Challenge Forum
    • Note: High school or dual credit courses will not be accepted as meeting UH-GCSP competency completion.


Business/Entrepreneurship Competency


Multicultural Reach Competency

  • Investigator

    • DAAD-RISE 
    • Internship, co-op, or research experience abroad or with strong international or national experience
    • Project lead on international student project 
    • Learning Abroad experience
  • Participant
    • Team member for international project (e.g., EWB)
  • Exposure
    • Active member in global organizations for at least one year (e.g., Engineers Without Borders, Doctors Without Borders)
    • Attend a conference for an international group 
    • Complete two diversity training workshops


Social Consciousness Competency

  • Investigator

    • Project Lead on EWB project
    • Leader in a volunteer organization
  • Participant
    • Year+ participation in a volunteer organization
  • Exposure
    • Support / volunteer for two large community service events
    • Volunteer for a semester long project that requires at least two volunteering experiences


In order to officially complete a competency at a given level and receive a pin, Scholars must complete a reflection. Reflections should be short and crisp. “I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — Blaise Pascal, mathematician and physicist. The length varies by level:

  • Investigator Level: 600 words, 3 questions from the list below
  • Participant Level: 400 words, 2 questions from the list below
  • Exposure Level: 200 words, 1 question from the list below 

Scholars should create a Google Document with the following. When the initial draft is complete, share it with your UH-GCSP. Plan for at least one round of feedback from your advisor and make edits based on that feedback.

  • Name of the Experience
  • Link to Experience Website, if Applicable. 
  • Include links to videos, projects, sketches, or other artifacts you created as a part of this experience.
  • An essay of the required length that answers their selected questions from the list below.
    • What skills have you gained or developed through this experience? Please explain how this experience helped you gain or develop those skills.
    • Please share how this experience affected you and / or your future plans.
    • Please describe any challenges you encountered during this experience. How did you overcome them? What did you learn from this challenge?
    • How did this experience connect to what you have learned in your engineering studies? Where were you able to draw on relevant experience from what you learned in the classroom?
    • What did you learn about the NAE Grand Challenges through this experience? Please explain how this experience deepened your knowledge about a particular Challenge or Theme. 

At the completion of the program, Scholars will create a portfolio of all their written reflections and summarize their Scholar experience with a 1-page cover letter. This cover letter is a Scholar’s opportunity to connect the dots between their various experiences and is the final step before being named an official NAE Grand Challenge Scholar.