Rice Center for Engineering Leadership

Info Session Presentations

O-Week FAQs

Why should I study engineering leadership?

Many of the most important changes in the world today are driven by the creations of engineers. Leaders in technology and engineering are at the forefront of these advancements, and RCEL’s Certificate in Engineering Leadership program is intended to build the skills, motivations, and opportunities needed to become an engineering leader. The difference between a “really smart” engineer and a “leading engineer” is the ability to create and communicate a shared vision, to build a high performing team, to develop and execute shared plans and projects, and to create innovations that endure. These capabilities are not usually taught in traditional engineering courses.

RCEL is different from other leadership training opportunities on campus in that the curriculum is specifically tailored to engineering and technical work and research environments. Your engineering courses will teach you the technical skills you need to solve real-world problems, but the RCEL Certificate will give you the skill set to work with a team of engineers to develop those solutions quicker and more efficiently. Students will not have to wait until they graduate to apply skills learned in RCEL – the leadership, project management, and communication skills developed in class can be applied to classroom team projects, leadership roles in students clubs and organizations, as well as summer internships while at Rice.

What do students do when they graduate with the RCEL Certificate in Engineering Leadership?

The RCEL Engineering Leadership Certificate is an accredited academic credential aimed at preparing students for their first leadership role after graduation. The RCEL Certificate Program allows students to learn and practice fundamentals of engineering leadership, and critically reflect on their leadership experiences through a series of structured self-assessments. Students who complete the RCEL Certificate in Engineering Leadership have developed the skills necessary to lead on day one of their first job, and are a step ahead of their colleagues in securing that first promotion. If you have dreams of making a difference, and are motivated to learn the skills needed to do so, then the Certificate in Engineering Leadership program for you.

If I am considering this major, what classes should I take this year

The RCEL Certificate in Engineering Leadership is comprised of 11 credit hours. Courses range from 0-2 credit hours, and can be completed in as few as two years or spread out over your four-year career at Rice. These courses are:

  • RCEL 100: Self-Awareness and the Engineering Leader
  • RCEL 200: Personal Development for the Engineering Leader
  • RCEL 241: Engineering Internship Practicum
  • RCEL 300: Development of High Performing Engineering Teams
  • RCEL 400: Leading High Performing Engineering Teams
  • RCEL 450: Project Management and Leadership Action Learning

Chose one of the following:

  • RCEL 410: Engineering Launchpad - Research
  • RCEL 420: Engineering Launchpad - Industry
  • RCEL 430: Engineering Launchpad - Career Pathways
  • RCEL 440: Engineering Launchpad - Entrepreneurship
If I have AP credit, should I use it or are there classes I should consider retaking anyway?

RCEL courses are not interchangeable with AP courses. However, having AP credits when you come to Rice opens your schedule up to taking more electives, including RCEL Certificate in Engineering Leadership courses. Starting earlier gives you more flexibility as to when you complete the required courses and jumpstarts your leadership development.

What extracurricular activities or projects do students in your program normally participate in?

RCEL offers many opportunities to build your technical and engineering leadership skills outside of the classroom, as well as build a professional network through our career-path mentorship program. RCEL Student Leadership is a group of Rice engineering students who actively work with faculty and staff to facilitate RCEL programming, create and maintain student engagement, and shape the program for future generations of Rice engineers.

What do classes in RCEL normally look like?

RCEL courses are a mix of lecture and action learning activities, with students assigned to small teams to work through exercises and challenges. Peer coaches assist teams and evaluate their performance throughout class, and give real-time feedback to help the individuals and team as a whole improve and perform better on future assignments.

Is the curriculum flexible enough for students to pursue other interests? i.e. Can I complete a minor, take classes outside the major or specialize further within the major?

The RCEL Certificate in Engineering Leadership is flexible to meet the needs of our students. Most required courses must be taken in order. It is up to the student if they want to complete the programs in as little as two years or if they want to spread their courses over their four years at Rice. RCEL faculty and staff work to support our students in many ways to help them complete all requirements for the Certificate.

Are there any other things I should know about RCEL?

RCEL was established in 2009 with a gift from John and Ann Doerr (Class of ’74 and ’75, Electrical and Computer Engineering). RCEL enhances a traditional engineering education by supplementing skills not typically covered in the Rice engineering curriculum. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and develop, ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship.