Scholars Program

Seward Fellows Requirements

Union College offers an honors program for students already enrolled at the college. The Seward Interdisciplinary Fellows program lets students develop their own program of study exploring connections among disciplines.

Normally, students apply during fall of their sophomore year. They may be from any discipline but must have demonstrated excellence in their first year at Union College. Current Union Scholars may apply as well. Seward Fellows build an interdisciplinary “Seward Organizing Theme” minor that includes a faculty-supervised independent project. The program includes the privilege of taking extra courses.

The Seward Organizing Theme Minor has at least seven courses chosen from at least two departments, including an independent study project. Proposals will be evaluated according to the coherence and academic rigor of the proposed plan of study, and according to the ability of the student to complete the proposed course of study. Students are encouraged to seek out the advice of a faculty member in putting together their proposals.

NOTE: THE SEWARD ORGANIZING THEME MINOR SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH THE ORGANIZING THEME MAJOR OR THE ORGANIZING THEME MINOR. Please send all queries about the Seward Organizing Theme minor to the director of the Scholars Program and not the Organizing Theme committee.

Who is eligible: Students with sophomore status.
Required GPA: 3.5 at the time of application.

  • Membership in the Union College Scholars Program, including all the rights, privileges and restrictions for Scholars. For example, Seward Fellows may take one extra course each term at no extra cost, starting in the winter term of the sophomore year, provided that they maintain a GPA of 3.4 or better. These courses can be used to accelerate graduation.
  • Seward Organizing Theme minor.


  • The Seward Independent Project in the junior year related to the minor. (This takes the place of the Scholars Project and follows the same rules.)
  • Maintain GPA of at least 3.4
  • Presentation of completed research at a public meeting or symposium. All Seward Fellows are strongly encouraged to make a presentation at the Steinmetz Symposium.
  • Additional course work. Seward Fellows need 38 courses to graduate, rather than the Union standard 36 courses. The Seward Independent Project and Advanced Placement courses may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  • Seward Fellows are not required to take Honors Inquiry FYI100H or Scholars Research Seminar SCH150.

The minor must contain:

  • 6-7 courses that clearly relate to the theme. The courses must come from at least two departments. For the Seward Fellows application, we recommend developing a list of 10-12 courses with notes on when they are offered. Students in majors that require 40 courses to graduate (e.g. Engineering majors) may count their Seward project course(s) toward the Seward OT minor.
  • The Seward Project: an independent study through which the students explore the theme and are guided in their research project by a faculty member. Seward Projects can be completed in either one term (ORT297H) or two terms (ORT295H and ORT296H). The Seward project counts as one course credit regardless of the number of terms the student is enrolled.
  • No more than four courses from a single department (unless the minor consists of more than seven courses).
  • At least four courses at the 200 level (or higher) not including any of the Seward project courses (ORT295H, ORT296H, or ORT297H).
  • At least one course at the 300 level (or higher).

Other requirements for the Seward Organizing Theme Minor:

  • Seward OT minors may not substantially replicate any existing minor at Union College.
  • Students must identify a faculty member who will advise them on the Seward OT minor and oversee the Seward Project.
  • Students may count two courses from their major or another minor toward the Seward OT minor; however, the number of courses constituting the major and a minor must total 18 or more.
  • Students may not count more than two courses that have already been taken (at the time of application) towards their Seward OT minor.

* Unless otherwise noted, Seward Fellows are required to fulfill all requirements of the Scholars Program.

Application due: November 1 (annually)

How to apply: Complete the required application form. You will need the following materials to complete the form:

  • A 1-2 page double-spaced essay describing the theme of your Seward OT minor topic and the proposed independent research associated with it.
  • A list of classes you plan to take as part of your minor (including course numbers, titles, and terms offered)
  • A letter or email from a Union faculty member which confirms he/she has read your proposal and agrees to serve as your advisor for the Seward OT minor and independent research project.

Please DO NOT send this information via email. You must use the application form provided.