Center for Socially Engaged Design




Students from any major who are actively participating in a socially engaged design project may apply to earn course credit for the work they do with their design team during the semester. In order to earn credit,  teams of 2-8 students from the same project team must commit to working together for a minimum of one semester, meet regularly with a facilitator, and complete a set of deliverables as determined after an initial meeting with C-SED.

The time students spend meeting with their project team will be supplemented by socially engaged design training, which can be tailored to either their individual interests or needs of the project team.

Students who have declared the MDP minor may also apply to the leadership track, which includes additional training in project management and inclusive leadership. Credit received from this program will be through enrollment in ENGR X55 classes, which can be taken for 1-5 credits.

The credit enrollment timeline can be seen in the figure below:



Receive course credit and academic recognition for the work you are already doing in your extracurricular design teams. We will provide hands-on, customized training in socially engaged design to help you maintain accountability and project progress to achieve your project goals and deadlines, be they for personal or team growth.

Other members of your team who are unable to take course credit are also welcome to participate in socially engaged design training to further develop their own skills and effectively work together as a team to ensure your project progresses as desired.

No matter what stage of the design process you are in, we will work alongside you to develop a system for achieving your goals and moving beyond your expectations.


Leadership Track

The leadership track is open to students who have declared the MDP Minor, and includes additional training in project management, facilitation, and inclusive leadership skills through enrollment in ENGR 456.

Team Project Leads or Sub-Team Leads are encouraged to apply for the leadership track position. The individual who applies for this track will be responsible for scheduling meeting times, coordinating with facilitator and advisor, and ensuring all team deliverables are completed on time.


Fall Track

  • February 15th: Submit initial proposal
  • February 15th – March 15th: Meet with C-SED to revise and approve project
  • March 15th: Submit refined, finalized proposal
  • April: Enroll in ENGR X55
  • September: Meet with Dr. Steven Skerlos and work with assigned Graduate Student Facilitator
    • Note: You will also receive feedback from Dr. Skerlos midway through the semester via a mid-semester report, as well as meet with him at the end of the semester.
  • September-December: Meet bi-weekly with a C-SED graduate student facilitator, train in Socially Engaged Design, and complete objectives and deliverables
  • December: Participate in Design Expo and Socially Engaged Design (SED) Awards

Winter Track

  • October 15th: Submit initial proposal
  • October 15th – November 15th: Meet with C-SED to revise and approve project
  • November 15th: Submit refined, finalized proposal
  • December: Enroll in ENGR X55
    • Meet with Dr. Steven Skerlos and work with assigned Graduate Student Facilitator
      • Note: You will also receive feedback from Dr. Skerlos midway through the semester via a mid-semester report, as well as meet with him at the end of the semester.
  • January: Teams will be paired with 1-2 C-SED Graduate Student Facilitators
  • January-April: Meet bi-weekly with a C-SED Graduate Student Facilitator, train in Socially Engaged Design, and complete objectives and deliverables.
  • April: Participate in Design Expo and Socially Engaged Design (SED) Awards

Application Process

The project you propose can be within any domain or subject field, so long as it can be justified to relate to socially engaged design.

Step One

The first step is to submit a project proposal through the online Google Form (C-SED Course Credit Program: Initial Proposal). A proposal must be submitted in the semester prior to the one you are planning on earning course credit (i.e. submit during winter semester for fall semester credit, or submit during the fall semester to receive winter semester credit). Review a template of the project proposal here.

Note: If a team lead is not part of the group seeking credit, you must also include a brief statement of support from a team lead in the project proposal to ensure that the rest of the team is informed of the project proposal and credit.


Step Two

The initial proposal will be reviewed by a C-SED staff member who will offer suggestions for refinement, clarification of team objectives and outcomes, and decision for approval. You will meet with C-SED to discuss desired goals (overall for the team and specifically for course credit), objectives, and outcomes.

Note: The final version of the proposal will be submitted to faculty advisor, Dr. Steven Skerlos, for further refinement and guidance on achieving project objectives.

See below for Guidelines on your Project Proposal.


Step Three

After receiving a decision on the proposal, the team can make any necessary changes and enroll in ENGR X55. Overrides for enrollment in the appropriate level will be granted by the Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP).

C-SED will arrange for you to receive course credit through MDP. Students must send their uniqnames and desired credit hours to C-SED to ensure they are able to enroll in the appropriate ENGR X55 course. MDP suggests that you take class at a given level in your major before enrolling in the corresponding X55 (for example, take ME 350 before ENGR 355).

Teams are expected to spend 3-4 hours per week per credit they seek to earn. Students will be expected to complete 1-3 hours of socially engaged design training throughout the semester in addition to their project work, and should consider this when requesting the number of credits. Some guidelines for each level of X55 are shown below:

  • ENGR 255 (1-3 credits). Lower level design credit. This class serves as introductory design credit for MDP minor and is ideal for freshman and sophomores.
  • ENGR 355 (1-4 credits). Upper level design credit. This is ideal for juniors or sophomores who are taking 300 level courses in their major
  • ENGR 455 (2-5 credits). Upper level design credit. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to take this course.
    • ENGR 456 (2 credits). A mentorship track course, available to declared MDP minor students.
  • ENGR 599 (1-4 credits). Credit for students with graduate level standing


Step Four

After you have revised your proposal based on the discussions and feedback with C-SED, your finalized project proposal will be sent to the faculty advisor, Dr. Steven Skerlos for revision. You will then meet with him to further clarify and validate your desired goals and objectives.

Note: Teams will also receive feedback from Dr. Skerlos on their project progress midway through the semester, as well as meet with him at the end of the semester.


Any student taking part in the proposed design project is eligible to receive course credit. Students will be required to train and submit deliverables relating to socially engaged design practices throughout the semester. Topic selection is flexible, depending on the objectives and desired outcomes. The requirements for course credit are listed below.


Required Training

Socially Engaged Design Thinking workshop

Additional Training

Each student must select at least 2 additional socially engaged topics for training throughout the semester. The training can take the form of the online learning blocks in the Socially Engaged Design Academy, or workshops. Teams may opt to complete training on the same topic OR each individual may complete training in different topics.


Required Deliverables

  • Weekly Reflections
  • Mid-semester report
  • Final report: Summarizes work and progress over the semester
  • Design Expo: Participate and obtain feedback on your work
  • End of Semester Reflection: Reflect on individual learning goals defined at the beginning of the semester

Additional Deliverables

Based on the team’s objectives and desired outcomes, and the discussions with C-SED and Dr. Skerlos, there will be additional deliverables to be submitted throughout the semester. Deliverables will vary for each team. However, in the initial proposal

Project Proposal Guidelines

Submit a project proposal to highlight the purpose and objectives of your project. This proposal will initially be reviewed by C-SED staff, followed by the faculty advisor. A suggested breakdown of your proposal is shown below:

Initial Project Proposal

  1. Background
    1. Team Background
    2. Project Background
  2. Credit Proposal
    1. Motivation
    2. Objectives
    3. Justification
    4. Proposed Work Packages
    5. Proposed Deliverables
    6. Proposed Timeline

Access the template online here.


Still have questions? Contact Aliya Jawad at