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)

6.912/16.651: Engineering Leadership (EL)

Introduces models, theories, and methods of engineering leadership in the contexts of conceiving, designing, implementing and operating products and systems. Discusses the appropriate times and reasons to use particular models to deliver engineering success. (Both semesters)
1 1/2 hours per week 6 units (3 per semester)
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. Component of 6.912 (either Fall or Spring term)
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. Component of 6.912 (both Fall and Spring terms)

6.902/16.662/2.723: Design Thinking & Innovation Leadership for Engineers (D-TILE)*


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 total
Mentorship The GEL Program will host a mid-fall mentoring event where students can meet and be connected with engineers and engineering leaders with industry experience. Recommended/Optional

*Design Thinking & Innovation Leadership for Engineers (D-TILE) Requirement: GEL Year 1 students must complete one semester of Design Thinking & Innovation Leadership for Engineers (D-TILE). The primary course that fulfills this requirement is 6.902/16/662/2.723 (6 units; offered Fall and Spring semesters). Though MIT offers many other design-related courses, 6.902 uniquely introduces a holistic engineering design process that covers the full product development lifecycle, spanning understanding user needs, early stage conceptualization, product realization, user testing, and design validation. Many other design courses stop short of covering this full cycle (often at prototyping). In order to offer students flexibility, GEL approved two alternate courses to D-TILE: D-Lab Design (2.722; 12-units; Spring semester) and D-Lab Design for Scale (2.729; 12-units; Fall semester). Similar to D-TILE, these two alternates also provide wide-ranging coverage of a holistic design process and may be substituted for 6.902 as credit toward the GEL Certificate. At present, no other courses may be substituted for 6.902 aside from 2.722 and 2.729. 

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.