About GEL Year One

GEL supplements MIT’s technical education with the leadership skills that prepare young engineers for productive and effective careers at engineering companies. In GEL1, students complete two short courses in which they learn leadership frameworks and models and practice these skills through simulations and other assignments.

In weekly Engineering Leadership Labs, students gain experience both being a team member and a team leader, working on hands-on activities that introduce industry contexts. These experiences, combined with reflection opportunities like the Personal Leadership Development Plan and the Engineering Practice Requirement, enable students to improve and grow.

GEL has partnered with industry members and others to offer mentors to GEL students. These mentors are available to advise and assist students in their development as engineering leaders, both in the program and on outside projects (optional for interested students).

Requirement Description Class Time Units/Credit


6.911/16.650: Engineering Leadership Lab (ELL)


Exposes students to engineering leadership frameworks and models in an interactive, experiential, team-based environment. Activities include: design-build projects, role-plays, simulations, and performance assessment by/of other students. (Both semesters) 2 hours per week 6 units total (3 per semester)

2.723/6.902/16.662/2.723: Engineering Innovation and Design



Presents an iterative design process that is applicable to many different domains. Activities include: designing a voice recognition application, crafting an effective and engaging presentation. (Either semester) 
*Note* Approved Alternate Courses: Either 2.722 [J]- D-Lab: Design or 2.729 [J] D-Lab: Design for Scale 
2 hours lecture, 1 hour recitation 6 units

6.912/16.651: Engineering Leadership


Introduces models and theories, such as the Four Capabilities Framework and the Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders. Discusses the appropriate times and reasons to use particular models to deliver engineering success. (Both semesters) 1 1/2 hours per week 6 units total (3 per semester)
Engineering Practice Requirement Essay (EPR1) All GELs must reflect on an experience working on a project team in an engineering context. Students identify a project they are already involved in to meet the criteria. Through a structured reflection assignment, students practice writing a project post-mortem. Required for completion
Personal Leadership Development Plan (PLDP) This assignment is designed to increase familiarity with the Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders and encourage reflection regarding personal and professional development. Students rate their competency level for each capability on an ongoing basis. Year-long assignment
Mentorship The GEL Program will periodically host group mentoring events where students can meet and connect with engineers and engineering leaders with industry experience. Optional

* This subject is no longer offered over IAP.

Goals of the GEL1 year:

  • Enable students to become engineering leaders by providing opportunities to develop and practice the Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders.
  • Prepare students to become productive and effective contributors in industry through multi-disciplinary teamwork on activities.
  • Foster the development of students’ self-efficacy through experiential learning.
  • Expose students to candid evaluation while challenging them to undertake constructive personal reflection.
  • Sharpen students’ communication and presentation skills.