Application Process

Three students working together

Institutions who wish to join the EPICS consortium agree to:

  • Meet the “Core Values for EPICS Program”
  • Work toward the “Goals for EPICS Programs” where appropriate
  • Complete annual reports
  • Participate in the broader EPICS community. These activities may include virtual and in-person meetings, such as regional workshops or conferences
  • Create an EPICS website that identifies the local program as a part of the EPICS program
  • Participate in joint proposals to other funding sources as requested and appropriate

Application Process

Institutions must provide the following:

  • A completed application, describing the EPICS type course being offered on their campus
  • A letter of support from the institution’s administration (such as dean, provost, president, principal, chairman)
  • A plan of how the program will be supported, both financially and academically
  • A summary of resources, attributes, and partnerships the institution may bring to the EPICS program

Once the above documentation is received, the application packet will be distributed to the EPICS Review Panel. Institutions will be notified as to whether their application has been accepted within two months from the date of submission.

Letter of Intent

Institutions who do not yet offer these types of courses but wish to establish EPICS on their campus may request a Letter of Intent to share with their administration to add support for their effort. To obtain this document please provide the following:

  • A description of the proposed plan for a course that clearly addresses
  • A plan of how the program will be supported, both financially and academically

These requests are also distributed to the EPICS Review Panel for approval before the letter is issued.

Core Values

The core values of EPICS Programs are those elements required of all EPICS programs. Following a model of service-learning:

  1. EPICS students earn academic credit for participation in team-based design projects that solve engineering, computing, and technology-based needs in the local or global community;
  2. EPICS teams provide service to the local or global community by partnering with not-for-profit community organizations, educational institutions, and governmental agencies;
  3. EPICS programs support these reciprocal partnerships over multiple years without obligation for remuneration to EPICS.


In addition to the core values, there are attributes of EPICS Programs that provide a richer learning experience and add value to community partnerships. While it’s understood that not all EPICS Programs will initially achieve these goals, EPICS Programs should recognize the value of the goals and continue to work to integrate them into their programs as appropriate for their own institution.

Long-term Participation by Students: Students can participate in EPICS for more than a single academic period (e.g., semester or quarter). Long-term participation on a design team provides students the opportunity to perform many roles and learn a variety of technical and project skills, including teamwork, leadership, system design, and project management. The long-term participation provides students with the opportunity to experience the entire life-cycle of their team’s projects and creates an ongoing context for their academic and professional growth. The credit structure within EPICS should encourage participation in a team for a year or longer if possible.

Large Team Structure and Continuity: A large team size (8-20) is strongly recommended. When combined with the long-term participation of students, it provides significant continuity in team membership from one academic period to the next and can help maintain partnerships over several years. As the seniors on a team graduate, they are replaced with new students and the team continues on.

This structure thus provides:

  • familiar contacts on the team each semester for the project partner;
  • the continuity and expertise necessary to complete and deliver large-scale projects of significant benefit to the community;
  • and the ability of the team to manage multiple projects (e.g., short term and long-term projects) for their community partner.

Multidisciplinary Teams: The kinds of needs that are addressed by EPICS projects usually require expertise from multiple disciplines to ensure the best possible outcomes for both the project partner and the students. When EPICS teams are comprised of students from across campus, the large team size and team continuity described above enable these multidisciplinary teams to meld and thus operate effectively. The EPICS Program should provide scaffolding to enable the teams to be intentional about establishing a proper environment to allow the multidisciplinary teaming to succeed. Each student contributes knowledge and expertise from his or her discipline while learning the importance of the knowledge and expertise of other disciplines.

Advisors for Teams: Each EPICS team should be mentored by a qualified advisor. Advisors can be faculty, professional staff from the campus or professionals from local industry. Ideally, the advisor has expertise in the technical areas that most closely matches a team’s project(s). With the large and diverse teams within EPICS, one person may not have all the technical expertise a team requires but other consultants on campus or within the broader community can fill these gaps. This model closely aligns with industry where the direct manager does not have all the expertise required by the individual designers. To support multidisciplinary teams, advisors may come from a wide variety of disciplines within and outside of engineering. In some cases, advisors can be paired as co-advisors to provide a broader perspective for the teams. The EPICS Program should provide development opportunities for the advisors and support for them to manage their teams effectively.