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College Scholars Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is College Scholars?

The College Scholars Program is an interdisciplinary honors program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program exists solely for highly motivated and academically talented students who have clear goals for their undergraduate education, and who cannot reach those goals within the traditional requirements structure of the college.

Once admitted to the program, a scholar is exempt from all the course distribution requirements for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences. Instead, each scholar works with a faculty member who serves as a mentor, with the Director of College Scholars, and with others to design a unique curriculum to meet the scholar’s individual educational goals. The relationship with a faculty mentor is a hallmark of College Scholars. The mentor both provides guidance and guarantees the quality of the Scholar’s program.

As the culmination of the individual program, each scholar is required to complete a substantial project involving research, scholarship, or creative imagination. This project is carried out under the supervision of the mentor or a research advisor. Although the work is not necessarily the equivalent of a master’s thesis, it is much more comprehensive than a term paper. It is not unusual for College Scholars’ senior projects to be published.

Scholars are required to complete the university’s general education requirements and to attend a one-hour seminar each week. The seminar is an opportunity to talk with other scholars, and to meet with some of the best faculty in the college. It is a place where creative connections are made.

Career Opportunities in College Scholars

A scholar’s career path depends completely upon his or her individual interests. Alumni of the program have become political leaders, physicians, lawyers, university professors, high school teachers, professional writers, artists, and film makers. And that list is not exhaustive.

Salary Trends in College Scholars

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary.

High School Preparation

No special preparation is needed.

How to Major in College Scholars

Admission is through a competitive process that includes a consultation with the director, the submission of an application that includes a description of your projected program, and two letters of recommendation.  Finally each applicant has an interview with a peer committee of current College Scholars. You may apply for admission as early as the second semester of your freshman year. To see an application, please go to the College Scholars website, Students interested in College Scholars should schedule an appointment with the director at their earliest convenience.

Requirements for College Scholars

After admission to the program, a scholar must meet these requirements:
For retention:
1) Maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.25 at the end of each semester.
2) Enroll each semester in Honors 317 (fall) and Honors 318 (spring), College Scholars Seminar, unless excused by the director.
3) Submit an annual report, signed by scholar and mentor, that demonstrates progress towards clear educational goals that cannot be met within the distribution requirements structure of the College of Arts and Sciences.

For graduation:
1) Complete the university’s General Education Requirement.
2) Complete 120 hours
3) Within those hours, complete at least 42 hours of courses numbered 300 or above.
4) Complete the Senior Project.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

These will depend upon each scholar’s individual program, and will be worked out in consultation with the faculty mentor.

Highlights of College Scholars

The biggest assets of the program are the relationship with a faculty mentor, the freedom to design your own education, the chance to do a truly meaningful senior project, and the opportunity to interact with the other College Scholars.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities.

College Scholars have studied all over the world.  In fact, Dr. Jeffrey Kovac, Director of College Scholars, suggests that “they are especially looking for a student hoping to study in Antarctica.  All the other continents are covered!”  Visit the Programs Abroad Office web site ( for information on study abroad opportunities. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Dr. Jeffrey Kovac
Director of College Scholars
Buehler Hall 315
Knoxville, TN 37996-1600
Phone: (865) 974-3444


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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