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Grand Challenges Education

Craig Arnold and students
Craig Arnold (center) interacts with students at the freshman seminar, Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future. (Photo: Denise Applewhite)

Bringing Innovation and New Opportunities to the Academic Curriculum

The Grand Challenges Program increases opportunities for students to learn about Grand Challenges themes and prepares them to address complex environmental problems in their future studies and careers.

This academic mission is advanced through a dynamic web of introductory and advanced-level courses, faculty-mentored internships, and opportunities for independent study on campus and abroad. The Program is open to all students regardless of academic major or area of concentration.

Grand Challenges Courses

Students with interest in the Grand Challenges subject areas of climate and energy, development, and health may choose from more than 250 related courses in 39 academic disciplines. These include 44 new courses – sponsored by Grand Challenges -- that leverage insights from cutting edge research evolving from current research projects. Multiple Grand Challenges courses involve field research in locations including Bermuda, Kenya, Norway, Panama, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. more >>

Related Courses of Study

Undergraduate students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in specialized areas in addition to their academic major may elect to enroll in one or more certificate programs with connections to the Grand Challenges Program including the Program in Environmental Studies (ENV), the Program in Sustainable Energy (MAE), the Program in African Studies, and the Program in Global Health and Health Policy.

Grand Challenges Internships

Summer Internships are a signature of the Grand Challenges Program, allowing undergraduate students to participate in mentored immersion experiences that enhance their understanding of focal themes. The internship program provides support for both established and student initiated experiences. Grand Challenges interns work on faculty-led and self-initiated projects in national laboratories, government, and non-government organizations, industry and not-for-profit enterprises. Grand Challenges internships enable students with a broad range of disciplinary interests to gain hands-on experience in real-world settings, enriching their understanding of complex global challenges facing humanity. Participating students receive a stipend to defray the cost of living and international travel. Students in their freshman, sophomore and junior years are eligible to apply. more >>

Independent Field Research

The Grand Challenges Program provides funding to support independent field research pursued as preparation for students’ senior theses in the areas of climate and energy, sustainable development in Africa, and global health and infectious disease. Applications for Grand Challenges senior thesis research support are coordinated through the funding portal located on the Dean of the College’s website with Grand Challenges awards made during both spring and fall award cycles. more >>

Graduate Study and Research

Grand Challenges supports graduate research and interdisciplinary graduate fellowship in climate and energy, development, and health. Funded graduate students participate in seed research projects, and may also serve as mentors to undergraduate interns in the Program. Current and prospective graduate students interested in exploring potential areas for study are encouraged to visit the directory to identify participating faculty and/or refer to descriptions of Grand Challenges research projects to understand possible research affiliations. Applications for admission to Princeton’s graduate programs are made through the Graduate School with admissions decisions coordinated through individual academic departments. Several opportunities exist for graduate students to become engaged in a community of scholarship dedicated to exploring target Grand Challenges themes.

Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars (PECS) — Founded in 2008, Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars brings together a select group of highly talented and engaged Princeton Ph.D. students with research expertise ranging from energy security and technology to climate science and policy. more >>

Certificate in Health & Health Policy — Graduate students with interests in infectious disease and global health may pursue a Certificate in Health and Health Policy through Princeton University’s Center for Health and Wellbeing, part of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. more >>

Science, Technology and the Environmental Policy — Graduate students may also apply to Princeton Environmental Institute’s program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (PEI-STEP), offered in affiliation with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. This two-year program enables participating graduate students to explore the environmental policy dimension of their doctoral research. more >>