For Students

EPICS is a service-learning course where engineering students work in multidisciplinary and multi-level teams to undertake community-identified engineering projects. Students will gain insight into design and development processes and perform and report upon tasks consistent with their level of discipline expertise.

Projects are intended to be at least one year in length, meaning that ongoing student participation in EPICS classes is encouraged. EPICS projects are for non-profit organizations, local communities, and government agencies. Student teams are multidisciplinary and are a mix of freshman through seniors. Course listings are as follows:

  • ENGR 60 SL - Engineering Projects in Community Service - (1 unit) For freshmen and sophomores with fewer than 60 units total.
  • ENGR 160 SL - Engineering Projects in Community Service - (1 unit) For juniors and seniors with greater than 60 units, but not doing it as a substitute for the senior project or culminating experience requirement.
  • ENGR 195 C/D - Interdisciplinary Senior Projects I/II - (3 units) For seniors substituting this class for the senior project requirement in the major. This option requires consent from the major department. These courses fulfill the S and V general education requirements when taken in conjunction with ENGR 195 A/B.

As a requirement for service-learning courses (i.e. ENGR 60SL and 160SL), students must sign in to, complete the Release of Liability and Learning Plan & Participation Guidelines forms, choose their Community Partner ("Learning Site"), and log total amount of service hours at semester's end.

Team Roles

Deliverables for each team member will be negotiated at the beginning of the semester, and will be a function of the number of units taken, major, and level in school. Additional team roles include the following:

Learning Outcomes

Multidisciplinary Design

  • Gain design knowledge and skills
  • Apply disciplinary knowledge to real problems
  • Collaborate with people from other disciplines

Professional Preparation

  • Develop broad set of skills needed to be successful in the changing global workplace and world
  • Learn how to function on multidisciplinary teams and gain an appreciation for the contributions from individuals from multiple disciplines
  • Communicate effectively both orally and written with widely-varying backgrounds

Service Learning

  • Provide significant service to the community while learning
  • Gain an understanding of the role that engineering can play in society and the broader issues related to the needs being addressed
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the needs and assets of the multidimensional community as expressed in a community organization
  • Explain the ethical issues that underlie the community needs and solutions they experience in their service project


Student feedback on the 2015-16 design reviews:

  • "Really helpful and insightful"
  • "Since reviewers were from industry, we were given better feedback than from other students"

Student feedback on the 2015-16 EPICS class:

  • "Learned a lot than from a regular engineering class"
  • "There's a sense of stress for getting things out, but not just for a grade. This is actually helping a community and is actual engineering in practice."
  • "This class makes you do see the community, you see their needs, and you feel obligated to do something. Any you want to do something about it."