Innovation Minor

The Innovation Minor invites students from across the entire campus to develop the mindset of creativity and empathy in collaboratively transforming ideas into meaning and value.

Operated by the Shiley School of Engineering and presented by the Franz Center for Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, the brand new Innovation Minor was launched in Fall of 2019 and serves up to 24 students a cohort from across all majors and disciplines at UP.

Visit the Innovation Minor blog for examples of student work

Courses & Cohorts

The 15-credit Innovation Minor consists of four unique 3-credit courses that can only be found in the innovation program, topped off with a 3-credit elective that can be inside or outside of a student's major (see the course & cohort table below). Click here for the 2020-2021 Bulletin.

  1. INV200: Introduction to Design and Innovation
  2. INV300: Empathy, Research, and Human-Centered Design
  3. INV350: Making, Sketching, and Prototyping
  4. INV400: Collaborative Innovation Practicum

Students move through the scaffold course framework within a fixed cohort building rapport through team-based projects and forging interdisciplinary relationships through a collaborative cadence that culminates in an industry-sponsored Collaborative Innovation Practicum (INV400).

Note: All INV cohorts start in the Spring semester. Students must submit their application by the Fall semester prior and register for INV200 in the following Spring. 

Innovation Minor Courses & Cohort ChartBased on how the courses of the Innovation Minor support a cohort structure, first and second year students are encouraged to apply. Students who are interested in pursuing the Innovation Minor must work with their academic advisor and plan to complete the four required courses. 

I have questions about the Innovation courses

How do I apply to the Innovation Minor?

Before registering for INV200, students must complete and submit the Innovation Minor Application. Applications are reviewed by the Innovation Minor Advisory Board.

The Innovation Minor Application consists of:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Student’s one-page resume
  • Letter (or email) of academic recommendation

Step 1: Write a Statement of Purpose (cover letter) Write approximately 1200 words covering the following topics: a) Tell us about that time where you developed a creative solution to solve a problem. b) Explain your role in a collaborative setting and how you worked with others to achieve a goal or solve a problem. c) Define what “human-centered” means to you and your area of professional interest. Visit the Writing Center if you need assistance.

Step 2: Create a one-page resume
Here are some resources to help you build your resume. Visit the Career Center if you need more assistance.

Step 3: Letter (of email) of Academic Recommendation
Provide one letter of recommendation from a UP faculty or staff attesting to your academic and personal aptitude for the program. Have your recommender email their letter directly to the Director of Innovation Minor noting your name and ID number. First year students may have a high school representative submit this letter. 

Step 4: Submit your materials to the Innovation Application Form (do not email them).

Innovation Application Form 

Experiential Learning 

The experiential learning program challenges students to collaboratively engage with local communities and industry partners for individual needs, community transformation, or organizational challenges. Innovation students may find themselves building unique inventions for assistive technology, helping a community express their voice, embed new systems within a community, or they can help an organization shift to an empathy-driven business model. 

Industry partners can sponsor and support our experiential learning program in few ways:

  • Course or school-wide lecture or presentation
  • 1-day Maker Challenges 
  • Human-Centered Design Project Prompt
  • Making Sketching and Prototyping Materials Sponsorship
  • Collaborative Innovation Practicum Sponsorship 

I am interested in sponsoring


I have questions about the Innovation Minor