Scholars Program

Scholars Program Requirements

Two Accelerated Courses

Scholars take Honors First Year Preceptorial in the winter of their first year and Scholars Research Seminar in the spring of their first year. These courses take the place of the standard First Year Preceptorial and Sophomore Research Seminar that other students take. These courses cover similar material to their non-Scholar counterparts, but add increased breadth and depth to the material and discussions. As a result, Scholars are well prepared to take on their Sophomore Independent Study Project.

Sophomore Project

In the second year, all Scholars must complete a Sophomore Independent Project. The project consists of a 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 use the base requirement as a “jumping off point” to greater opportunities. So while none of the options listed below are required, we expect that scholars will challenge themselves by taking advantage of many of these opportunities, as well as creating their own.

  • 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
  • Summer research funding: a limited number of scholars receive funding (usually room, board and a small stipend) to pursue research with faculty members during the summer break.
  • 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