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Yes! GCSP is a nationally recognized program from the National Academy of Engineering. Upon completing the GCSP, you will receive a certificate/letter from the NAE President which is an excellent credential for your resume! In addition, employers are starting to take note! Becoming a GC Scholar will help you be uniquely prepared to collaborate and succeed in a transdisciplinary and global environment.  

According to the 2019-2020 Santa Clara University Undergraduate Bulletin, “To be in good academic standing at the University, a student must normally be enrolled for 12 or more units, must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 based on all courses taken at Santa Clara, and must have completed at least a minimum number of units as specified below.

  • Completing at least 36 quarter units in the previous three quarters of residency


  • Completing at least 36 quarter units by the end of the third quarter of residency
  • Completing at least 76 quarter units by the end of the sixth quarter of residency
  • Completing at least 115 quarter units by the end of the ninth quarter of residencyGCSP
  • Completing at least 160 quarter units by the end of the 12th quarter of residency

The SCU GCSP program is designed to leverage coursework and extra-currciular events that many students already choose to participate in. It is not designed to add a considerable load to your already busy schedules. From this viewpoint, it is actually desired for you to be involved with extracurriculars! You can email Dr. Kuczenski for support in making your GCSP plan.

Of course! Please direct all your questions to the Director, Jes Kuczenski She will be finding faculty mentors for the different GCSP areas, providing application support, and advising as needed while we get this program off the ground!

Not currently. As long as you are in good academic standing and have an approved plan to complete the program while at SCU, we will likely accept most students into the program!

I am a huge advocate for students to know what is said in their recommendation letters from faculty. Thus, I advocate for having your faculty mentor send the recommendation letter to both the Director (Jes Kuczenski, and to the student scholar. The scholar then can upload the letter to the GCSP application through Portfolium.

No, in fact, we are already enrolling a scholar who has a faculty mentor for the College of Arts & Sciences (Chemistry) who is working in the ‘Engineering Better Medicines’ challenge area. One word of caution is that the faculty in other Schools/Colleges than Engineering may not be aware of the program! You may consider contacting the Director, Jes Kuczenski,, to help inform them of the program and faculty mentor opportunity.

The 14 listed Grand Challenges areas are the ones formally recognized by the Scholars Program. In addition, a challenges area could be one of the broader Grand Challenges areas of Security, Sustainability, Health, or Joy of Living. Overall, these challenges areas are broad; if you are having trouble fitting your research or interest into a challenge area, contact the Director,!

Santa Clara University is just one of almost 70 colleges and universities across the nation (in addition to another 13 international institutions) to have a Grand Challenges Scholars Program!

No! Becoming a scholar as a first-year simply gives you more time to complete the GCSP requirements! It helps you find more opportunities and paths to pursue your GC interests and fulfill the competency areas throughout your time at SCU.