The College Scholars Honors Program

The College Scholars Honors Program was established in 1986 to offer particularly promising undergraduates in the College of Arts & Science opportunities for intellectual community and close contact with faculty through seminars and research. The program is designed to encourage and reward two important academic goals: breadth by taking honors seminars in several different categories to satisfy AXLE requirements, and depth by doing independent research. Students who are accepted as College Scholars, and who complete the program by earning 15 honors points, graduate with the distinction of “Honors in the College of Arts & Science” on their diploma. This is separate from Latin and departmental honors programs, which can be earned regardless of status in the College Scholars Honors Program.

The College Scholars Honors Program consists of:

Honors Seminars
Each semester, a curriculum of Honors Seminars is offered that is open only to College Scholars and are taught by faculty selected for their particular mastery of a field and for their commitment to undergraduate teaching. All honors seminars fulfill requirements in the Achieving eXcellence in Liberal Education curriculum (AXLE) and satisfy a writing requirement (W). Usually, six or seven seminars are offered each semester, and they are limited to 16 students to facilitate discussion and interaction. Honors Seminars focus on particular topics but are designed to cover their general subject areas so that they are open to students from any discipline. Examples of upcoming and past Honors Seminars can be found on the tabs above.

Honors Points
Students earn honors points by taking Honors Seminars, other approved courses, and enriching courses on the regular A&S schedule of courses. By earning 15 honors points, students will have the designation “Honors in the College of Arts and Science” on their diploma at graduation. Details on the point system can be found on the Honors Points tab above.

“Meet the Professors” Receptions
Each semester, receptions are held for Scholars to meet the instructors of the following semester’s honors seminars. Other social gatherings provide occasions for informal interaction to encourage learning from each other as they learn about each other.


Eligibility, Application, & Selection

All first-year Vanderbilt students in the College of Arts & Science are invited to apply at the end of fall semester. Only first-year students in the College of Arts & Science are eligible, and transfer students are not allowed to apply.

The application consists of a brief form of personal information, a short essay, and grades from the fall semester at Vanderbilt. You will also have the opportunity to rate your top three preferred Honors Seminars for spring 2016, but this does not constitute registration for the courses or admission into the program. Applications are due before grades are posted, so you will not submit them. Rather, they will be pulled by the University Registrar from your academic record once they are available.

Applications are due by 11:59 pm on December 10, 2015. Applications are reviewed over winter break and 30 students are selected for admission to the program based on their academic records from the fall semester, their creative and reflective essays, and their promise for continued academic success at Vanderbilt. Please see the Application 2015 tab above for the online application and more details (login required).

Fall Scholars
Thirty incoming first-year students of exceptional promise are admitted to the College Scholars Honors Program at the beginning of the fall semester by the Dean of the College. These students are nominated by the Admissions Committee during the the honors scholarship selection process when they apply to Vanderbilt. These students do not need to reapply to the program in December.



Questions about the College Scholars Honors Program can be directed to Dean Morgan in the Arts & Science Dean’s office. He can be reached at or 615-343-3141.