Mines Cornerstone Design

Design I and Design II (formerly EPICS I & II) are each one semester, three-credit design courses for undergraduates at Mines. The centerpiece of both courses is an open-ended design problem that students must solve as part of a team effort. This provides the practice that students need to become more skilled in the process of technical design as it is practiced in the workplace. Both courses aim to build students’ confidence in applying a variety of problem-solving concepts in order to solve complex, open-ended problems.


Design I (EDNS151)
Introduces students to the Mines’ design process through a wide open Call for Proposals (examples can be found here).  Students learn and apply creative problem-solving skills, equitable teaming techniques, and technical hands-on skills. The team project requires application of both outgoing communications (graphical, oral, and technical writing), as well as incoming communications (interviewing, observations, and research).  

Design II (EDNS251)
Builds on the design process from Design I, challenging students to complete a more challenging technical problem with less supervision.  Client management is typically introduced, as are data analysis and modeling tools.  


In the Cornerstone classes (Design I and Design II), student teams design a solution to an open-ended problem over the course of an entire semester. Students practice the process of technical design as it is used in the workplace.  Teams must create a “works-like” prototype for under $100 that demonstrates a key aspect of their solution.

Every team must present their solution and working prototype during and in-class pitch competition. Design I final teams are evaluated by a panel of judges as they compete against each other for prizes. Design II teams present their final designs to their client and classmates. See our recent Design I Winners here. 



Over and over again, we hear from recruiters that the skills learned in Cornerstone are critical to them when looking to make new hires. But don’t take our word for it. Hear for yourself why Chevron loves Design (formerly EPICS).