UC Santa Cruz College Scholars Program

Professor Sandy Chung teaching Endangered Languages honors course. Photo by Jim MacKenzie.

Updated March 9, 2017

The UC Santa Cruz College Scholars Program offers a congenial and stimulating academic home for a select group of well-prepared students at UC Santa Cruz. Through this honors program, students can expect to challenge themselves academically, find other students who are similarly motivated, and explore undergraduate research. This enriched program of study includes special courses, seminars, colloquia, and other events during each quarter of the academic year.

The College Scholars Program provides an opportunity for outstanding students to engage deeply with the best of UCSC. Early in their career, students are able to explore the full potential of the university setting, beyond the coursework that might be required in their respective disciplines. They participate in demanding, small-scale, and research-oriented courses that catalyze creative thinking and offer a springboard to other undergraduate research opportunities. 

The College Scholars Program has close ties to the college system. In 2017-2018, Fall Start Scholars (see below for information on Fall Start Scholars) will live at Cowell or Crown College. Each college will have a cohort of about 20-25 College Scholars Program students, and students in each cohort will be housed together. Students receive priority enrollment during their time in the program. 

Curriculum

The academic program is designed to both challenge participants and give them a firm footing in our research university.

Year 1

Fall Quarter—College Core Course: Students enroll in a College Scholars Program offering of the college “core course,” a writing seminar focused on the college theme that UCSC frosh take within their college community. 

The College Scholars Program core courses foster analytic capacity through writing and classroom discussions. Experienced faculty introduce students to the use of primary sources, the development of effective questions, analytical writing, and discussion skills.

Winter Quarter—Service Learning Course: All students will take a two-credit service learning course offered through Cowell College. This course entails three main components: classroom meetings, journal reflections and papers, and placement in a local organization. Guest speakers are a part of the class and in the past have included local alumni and elected public officials, all working to promote positive social change locally, nationally, or internationally. Over the course of the term, students donate 40 hours of work to an organization in the community. Organizations that have welcomed students in the past include: the Homeless Service Center, Rising International, Santa Cruz Boys and Girls Club, and the Museum of Art and History. 

Spring Quarter—Faculty Research Colloquium: Students participate in a two-credit course where weekly faculty lectures are followed by dinner at one of the Provosts' houses. Each student is invited to attend one dinner during the term.

Faculty guests will be drawn from a variety of fields within the university, and students will be encouraged to listen to and appreciate scholars and scholarship beyond their own comfortable niche in engineering, biology, linguistics, music, or whatever their area of interest may be. The invited scholars will be speaking not only about the substance of their work, but also about the types of questions that are particular to their fields of study. By the end of the course, students should have a good sense of the modes of inquiry that animate intellectual life in a research university. 

Year 2

Fall Quarter—Seminar: Students choose from one of several five-unit seminars. Each of the seminars focuses on developing significant hands-on skills: whether it is a chance to “do real science” through guided research in the field and in a lab, or address important primary sources directly and debate them together in a text-centered seminar room, students will get training in the real intellectual work that scholars do. All of the seminars bear general education credit and are taught by an exceptional UC Santa Cruz faculty member or researcher.

Winter Quarter—Research Development: Students will have the option of developing a research proposal in conjunction with a faculty member. At the end of the quarter, students can submit their proposals for review and possible funding.

Selection  

Fall Start—Invitation Only: Admission to the Fall Start cohort of College Scholars Program is by invitation. A select group of UCSC applicants offered admission to the university will be invited to join the program, based on their record of academic achievement. Fall start students will live at Cowell or Crown College. 

Spring Start—Fall UCSC Courses: Students can also apply for the College Scholars Program after the fall of their first year. In this case, students will join the program during the spring research colloquium. Spring Start students will be selected based on applications reviewed through their college. 

Inquiries regarding the College Scholars Program can be directed to Associate Professor Matt O'Hara, Director of Undergraduate Honors Programs, ugrdhnrs@ucsc.edu