Scholars Program

Scholars Program Requirements

Two Accelerated Courses

Scholars take Honors First Year Inquiry in the winter of their first year and Scholars Research Seminar in the spring of their first year. Honors First Year Inquiry takes the place of the standard First Year Inquiry course, but adds increased breadth and depth to the material and discussions. Sophomore Research Seminar provides students with an introduction to college-level research and preparation for their Sophomore Independent Study Projects.

Sophomore Project

In the second year, all Scholars must complete a Sophomore Independent Project. The project consists of a one- or two-term independent project with a faculty supervisor. The scholar initiates the idea for the project and works with a faculty member to develop and research the project. The scholar receives one course credit for this project.

Additional Course Work

To graduate with a designation as a Union Scholar requires a minimum of 38 courses. Since most majors at Union only require 36 courses to graduate, most Scholars take two extra courses to meet this requirement. See “Extra Courses” below for further details on the policy. The Scholar’s Sophomore Project, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate courses may be used to fulfill this requirement.

Minimum Scholars GPA

Scholars must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 or above.

Opportunities and Expectations

The Union College Scholars Program is designed to be flexible; thus, each scholar may tailor the program to their specific academic interests and goals. While none of the options listed below are requirements of the program, they do serve as opportunities for Scholars to challenge themselves and expand upon the traditional curriculum.

  • Extra courses: Union Scholars may take one extra course each term at no extra cost, starting in the winter term of the first year, provided that they maintain the minimum GPA for Scholars. These courses can be used to accelerate graduation. Courses cannot be held over to another term or taken during summer terms. The Scholars Program does not cover fees associated with any courses (e.g. lesson fees, studio fees, etc.)
  • Senior Scholars Colloquium
  • Speakers and trips: the Union College Scholars Program sponsors a variety of guest speakers and trips during the academic year. Scholars are invited to propose and organize events through the Scholars Steering Committee.
  • Other: Scholars do NOT receive special consideration for the following programs. However, extra courses and projects often make scholars very well prepared candidates for these programs.

Details of the Scholars Program


Top students admitted to the first-year class are invited to the Scholars Program. Each year, approximately 50 students are admitted to the program. Applicants will notified by the last week of March.

Financial Aid

There is no additional financial aid associated with the Scholars Program, but all Scholars in good standing take 4th courses at no extra charge. Currently, more than half of Union students receive need-based financial aid.

Residence Life

Union Scholars do not share a residence hall; instead, Union’s Residence Life Office matches students based on study habits, lifestyles, and residence hall preferences. There are a variety of living options available at Union, and Scholars are welcome to take advantage of all of them.

For More Information

Should you have any questions about the program, please email