Be a leader.

In the Engineering Leadership Program you will take specialized leadership courses, attend college-sponsored leadership seminars, and learn from mentors who have experience relevant to your interests.

You can apply to ELP after you are accepted into the College of Engineering and Applied Science. In the fall semester, you’ll participate in Taste of ELP, which will help determine whether the Engineering Leadership Program is the right fit for you.

Program Elements

The Taste of ELP provides a semester-long, four- to five-session (most are 1-hour long, held in the evening ) introduction to help determine whether ELP is the right fit for you. Sessions include a preview of the Engineering Leadership Gateway course, an outside leadership speaker, and a roundtable with recent ELP graduates. Students entering Engineering in the fall semester and considering ELP should apply to ELP before the end of the first week of fall classes to participate in Taste of ELP. After completing Taste of ELP, you make an informed commitment to the program.

Starting in Fall 2018, the ELP Certificate requires a total of 12 credit hours in leadership, project management, and/or global perspectives. The first course to be taken is Engineering Leadership Gateway. Students then take 3-2 credit ELP courses before graduation, generally one each academic year. Students select additional elective courses to complete the 12 credit hours.

The Engineering Leadership Gateway course (COEN 2050) is designed to launch students’ journey through the Engineering Leadership Program. As a cohort students explore fundamental concepts and questions that are especially meaningful for self-guided, life-long leadership development. Rather than impart a particular philosophy and particular practical skillset, the course aims to cultivate students’ capacity to inductively develop their own leadership convictions, assess their own needs to develop particular leadership virtues and skills, and proactively seek experiences to learn and practice these abilities and traits. The spirit of the course emphasizes integrity—both in the sense of commitment to authentic, gritty, courageous engagement in course work, and in the sense of cohesively integrating leadership development with all other aspects of personal, professional and civic life.

The 2-credit hour ELP courses (COEN 3051, 3052, and 3053) help ELP students remain connected with other ELP students and provide structure and support to ensure the independent elements of ELP (mentor relationships, leadership seminars, and leadership experience) are successfully completed.

ELP students are encouraged to plan their ELP electives around a purposeful learning plan in a discipline that is complementary to their leadership experience plan and/or their future career plan. Students have the freedom and responsibility to select any courses that are relevant to thier leadership interests. Things to consider as you select your electives: Will this course help me learn leadership theory or develop leadership skills? Am I interested in this topic and will it help develop skills in the areas aligned with my career interests? Am I qualified to enroll in this course based on my class standing, prerequisite requirements, or program admission?

For example, if you are considering attending law school, you may want to select elective courses in political science, philosophy and economics. If you are interested in globalization, you should consider courses in geography, political science, economics and environmental studies. If your plan is to develop strong business skills, then you should investigate courses in the Engineering Management Program or the Business Minor offered by the Leeds School of Business. ROTC students can apply their ROTC courses as their ELP electives.

Students are responsible for taking any required prerequisites, or for obtaining a waiver from the department/program for any prerequisites. If the department/program has any questions about ELP, please feel free to ask them to contact the ELP Director. In most cases, introductory courses (1000 level) will not be accepted as ELP electives. An elective course plan must be included in the student's ELP Portfolio.

Students desiring to undertake an independent study as an ELP elective or desiring to take an ELP elective from another institution should discuss this option with the ELP Director.

Interacting with Mentors

Mentoring is a key component of ELP, and students and mentors will interact frequently. ELP students will be matched with mentors throughout their time in ELP. At the start of COEN 3051, each student will be matched with a Young Alumni Mentor (YAM) in their likely leadership plan, major, and/or career path. The mentor will be a resource for the student to observe leadership and gain advice on forming a leadership experience. After formulating a leadership plan, each ELP student will have the opportunity to also have a Professional Mentor, who is someone who has deeper and broader experience relevant to the student's leadership and career goals. Additionally, current ELP students will serve as mentors to enterinig ELP students prior to and while they take the Engineering Leadership Gateway course.

Leadership Experience

Students are expected, with guidance from their mentors and the ELP director, to structure and undertake a leadership experience in industry, government, or a non-profit organization.

Examples include:

  • Multi-year engagement in a group such as Engineers Without Borders, including project planning and in-country leadership experiences.
  • Multi-year involvement in a student society or program, including holding at least one leadership position, with specific goals and results.
  • Strong involvement in a major fundraising or other volunteer project, such as the Journey of Hope cross-country bicycle ride to raise funds for programs to help people with disabilities.
  • Leadership position on a campus or college committee with specific goals and results.
  • A summer- or semester-long internship at a company where the student had a leadership role on a team-based project with specific goals and results, and/or undertook a leadership role within the company during the internship.

Leadership Seminars

To expand their leadership experience and knowledge, ELP students will be required to attend at least four seminars on leadership. These seminars include campus and college leadership seminars, such as the Dean's Speaker Series, the Leo Hill Leadership Series, and the CU Distinguished Speakers Board talks.   

ELP students will be required to develop a leadership portfolio to obtain the ELP certificate. The Portfolio will reflect the student's experiences and learning in all the components of ELP.  The portfolio will be developed throughout your academic program and will be reviewed each fall semester. The final ELP Portfolio must be submitted no later than three months before graduation (ex: a May graduate must submit his/her portfolio by Feb. 1).

The ELP program fauclty and/or director will provide feedback to the student on the content of the portfolio each year, which may include required changes and/or needed improvements. Any required changes in the final submittaal must be provided and accepted no later than one month before graduation in order for the student to receive the Engineering Leadership Certificate.

Presidents Leadership Class (PLC) students who are in the College of Engineering and Applied Science will generally undertake the campus-wide Leadership Minor through their PLC coursework. A student pursuring the Leadership Minor cannot simultaneously undertake ELP, but are welcome to attend ELP Leadership Seminars.  PLC students who are not undertaking the Leadership Minor may apply to ELP. PLC students desiring to pursue the ELP certificate should contact Angela Thieman Dino at