College Scholar Program
The College Scholar Program exists because the faculty in Arts and Sciences want to provide a very unusual intellectual niche in addition to the regular departmental majors and the Independent Major Program for students who are passionately focused on a particular type of problem, issue or singular aspect of a larger field. Sometimes that "crux" is very multidisciplinary in its nature, or sometimes it is particularly narrow within its discipline. The program can be useful to different students with different purposes: to explore subjects with a broader integration of related disciplines than most students would attempt, to develop a narrow aspect of an interdisciplinary field, or to pursue a subject in which they are unusually advanced.
To encourage depth and rigor in the execution of the plan of study, College Scholars are not required to complete absolutely all of the standard degree requirements except 120 credits (100 in Arts and Sciences), 34 courses, and two semesters of P.E. and the swim test. This is meant to provide a little more flexibility for students in the program who otherwise would have to sacrifice taking very advanced or once-in-a-lifetime seminars in order to meet a particular distribution requirement, for example. However, even though they are not held to the distribution, breadth and a few other requirements for the degree, College Scholars are strongly encouraged to fulfill all of those standard degree requirements when feasible because of the long term benefit of knowing a foreign language and having exposure to a wide range of disciplines, cultures and historical periods. The program is considered to be a major, so College Scholars do not necessarily complete other departmental majors, although they are free to do so if they choose. All Scholars must write a thesis in their last year to complete the program.
The College Scholar Program is not necessarily for those who know, or think they know, exactly what courses they will take while they are here. It is for students who have an idea of their academic direction, who have formulated questions they can translate into a program, and who possess the necessary skills to carry out the program successfully.
Applications are accepted only in the spring of the student's first year of college, even if that fall semester was spent at a different institution or the spring term is the student's first semester of college enrollment. The program is limited by the College to no more than forty students out of each year's freshman class.
Each new scholar is assigned a faculty advisor from the College Scholar Advisory Board. That person will normally be the scholar's contact with the program and a member of the senior project committee.
Each year two or three College Scholar seminars investigate basic problems or texts. The purposes of the seminars are to prepare scholars for interdisciplinary senior projects and to sneak some distribution into their curricula. They are designed to help students become aware of what a "discipline" is and to help them learn how to approach a text or problem from various angles, such as form, the author's approach to the subject matter, or historical and philosophical context.
A voluntary honors track within the program has been established. Scholars who plan to graduate with honors take two college scholar seminars (or approved substitutes); non-scientists take at least one in some aspect of science, and scientists at least one in the humanities or social sciences. During the senior year, candidates for honors who have good records (3.5 GPA) complete honors projects. These can be research papers, essays on some important off-campus experience or artistic work. A faculty committee of three, including at least one member of the College Scholar Advisory Board, evaluates the projects.
If you are interested in applying to the College Scholar program, please attend one of the four mandatory information meetings in the Spring semester. We will discuss the goals of the program, the application process, and answer any questions you might have. As the dates are subject to change, make sure to check back in January 2014 for any updates, and check your e-mail for official communications from the College.
Later in the Spring, you can schedule individual appointments with Dean Birien by stopping by 172 Goldwin Smith Hall or calling the office at 607-255-4833.
The dates below are tentative; make sure to check back in January 2014 for any updates.
Monday, February 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM, Room 3331 Tatkon Center, Balch Hall
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM, Room 177 Goldwin Smith Hall
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM, Room 3331 Tatkon Center, Balch Hall
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 12:20 PM, Room 177 Goldwin Smith Hall
Applications will be due by Wednesday, April 23, 2014.
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