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College of Engineering

EPICS Program

EPICS, or Engineering Projects in Community Service, is an engineering-centered, multi-disciplinary academic program that offers courses using service learning to teach design. EPICS students learn design by creating real projects for community partners both locally and globally. The program was founded by Leah H. Jamieson and Edward J. Coyle at Purdue in 1995.

Teams of EPICS students partner with not-for-profit community organizations (community partners) to design solutions that will address compelling needs in the community. Projects are intended to solve real problems and are developed based on needs identified by both the students and community partners. A hallmark of EPICS is that the partnerships are long-term, lasting for a number of years, and projects can last multiple semesters. Students can take EPICS for as many semesters as they wish, and most choose to take the course for credit for more than one semester. This allows projects to be extended beyond traditional semester boundaries and allows more complex solutions to be developed.

The EPICS courses (EPCS 10100-41200) can be used in many departments as credit toward graduation and in many cases can be substituted for departmental requirements, such as technical electives or capstone requirements, as well as for meeting University requirements, such as the entrepreneurship certificate.

EPICS courses operate like small engineering design firms with students in leadership roles such as project managers who run course meetings and manage team resources and timelines, design leads who guide the project design process and manage project resources, and financial officers who manage budgets. The EPICS curriculum is designed to support the development of projects that make a real impact in the community and provide the professional preparation students need to become leaders in the 21st century.

The EPICS courses are open to all academic levels from first-year students through seniors. Most first-semester students participate through the EPICS Learning Community. A typical section of EPICS consists of a mix of first-year students, sophomores, juniors and seniors and provides opportunities for mentoring among students within the sections. EPICS draws student enrollment from more than 70 majors from engineering and other colleges.

The best way to learn more about EPICS is to read about the different teams and the types of projects they are working on. Visit the EPICS website for additional information.