Frequently Asked Questions

What is the College Scholars Curriculum?

As a College Scholar, during your freshmen and sophomore years you will take a total of four of your general education courses in small class settings, with direct access to your faculty mentors.  In addition, in your first year, one-credit Freshman Colloquia will introduce you to faculty members in the Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.  In the junior and senior years, you will launch your career via research assistantships, internships and/or completion of departmental honors programs.  There are regularly scheduled advising and mentoring events that are designed to meet the needs of College Scholars students and help you complete the program.

 What are the requirements for admission to the College Scholars?

Program admission requires the following:

  • High school GPA of 3.75 or greater (on a 4.00 scale). Beginning Fall 2015 entry the GPA will be 3.80 or greater.
  • SAT combined reading and math score of 1200 or greater or ACT combined score of 26 or greater

 What are the goals of the College Scholars and how are they achieved?

  • Goal — Learn about the wide range of scholarly work being conducted in the College of Arts and Sciences. Freshman Colloquia:  These are small-enrollment 1-credit courses that meet for one hour a week.  Each week, a different faculty member will discuss his/her career path, current research, and opportunities in his/her department for undergraduate students.  (Students must take two of these courses during their Freshman Year.)
  • Goal — Develop academic skills. General Education/4-credit Courses:  Each quarter, three or four small seminar-like courses are available for College Scholars.  These courses have enrollments of less than 30 students and are taught by outstanding faculty.  They provide a higher level of discussion and more extensive feedback on writing than is typical of introductory courses.  (Students must take four of these courses during their first two years.)
  • Goal — Encourage students to take an active role in their own learning. Reacting to the Past courses:  These are special courses in which students learn about pivotal events in history and then take on roles to act out some part of what took place. (Students are required to take an RTTP course during their freshman year, as one of the two required General Education courses in the first year.)
  • Goal: Transition into departmental honors programs, explore internship possibilities, and/or research assistantships. Above and Beyond:  By the end of their senior year, students are required to complete an activity that goes beyond regular coursework and that will play a significant role in launching their career (e.g., research assistantships, internships, departmental honors).
  • Goal: Advising and mentoring students in the program. There is continuing mentoring and advising to help students with the Above and Beyond requirement, as well as other issues that might arise. This is accomplished via the College Scholars Peer Advising office and College Scholar Events. Each quarter College Scholars holds evening events in which students can learn more about opportunities by listening to and talking with faculty and student speakers.

What is the difference between the Clark Honors College and the College Scholars?

The Robert D. Clark Honors College (CHC) is a small liberal arts college embedded within the University of Oregon, designed to serve highly motivated, high-achieving students. It has its own faculty and building, as well as its own admissions process. The Clark Honors College provides a structured, integrated four-year curriculum culminating in a senior honors thesis, as well as faculty mentorship from freshman to senior year, student activities, and a variety of academic and social resources.  All CHC classes are taught as small seminars emphasizing critical reading and writing, intensive discussion, and interdisciplinary inquiry. Like all other UO students, CHC students complete their majors and all requirements specific to their majors in the academic departments of the University of Oregon; however, the CHC curriculum fulfills all UO general education requirements.

The College Scholars provides enriched experiences and opportunities for high-achieving students, but also has the flexibility to be integrated with any course of study. There is no additional tuition fee for joining College Scholars. The College Scholars curriculum consists of a number of designated courses taught by participating faculty from throughout the College of Arts and Sciences and a series of mentoring events. Students in the College Scholars complete four of their general-education courses within the program, participate in colloquia, and many will complete an honors project within their major department.  Like the Clark Honors College, the College Scholars offers courses that are small, interdisciplinary, and emphasize critical reading, writing, and discussion; unlike the Clark Honors College, the College Scholars curriculum focuses on the first two years at the UO.  During the junior and senior years, there is continuing mentoring and advising to help students launch their careers via research assistantships, internships, and departmental honors, but no formal coursework.  Overall, the College Scholars has fewer requirements and less structure than the Clark Honors College.

 Can I enroll in the Clark Honors College and join College Scholars?

Yes, Clark Honors College students benefit from the opportunities that are provided by the College Scholars Freshman Colloquia and mentoring events to interact with a wide range of UO faculty. However, because Clark Honors College students satisfy GEN ED requirements through the CHC, the College Scholars requirement to take four College Scholars GEN ED courses is waived.

Can I enroll in a Freshman Interest Group (FIG) as well as participate in College Scholars?

Yes. FIGs provide an additional way to include a small enrollment course in the first quarter at the UO. But note that College Scholars students are encouraged to begin their College Scholars curriculum in the Fall of the Freshman year.  They typically do this by enrolling in a 4-credit course and a 1-credit Freshman Colloquium course.  For the students who are also taking a FIG, care must be taken to not overload the Fall quarter schedule.  If you are in a FIG, it is acceptable to enroll in a Freshman Colloquium course Fall Quarter and to delay enrollment in the4-credit General Education courses until Winter Quarter.

 What do I do once I have been accepted into the program?

  • Consider living in the Global Scholars Hall. Living in GSH is not required of College Scholars, but sections of the GSH are reserved exclusively for students in College Scholars and students in the Clark Honors College. Living in the GSH offers a chance to be surrounded by peers who recognize your need for dedicated academic time during your off hours. Complete the appropriate information on your housing contract or contact the Housing Office directly at 541-346-4277.
  • Register for classes during IntroDUCKtion in July or Week of Welcome in September. We encourage you to register as soon as you are eligible to do so. The College Scholars offers one-credit colloquia — courses that meet one hour per week. You’ll want to enroll in the colloquium section most closely related to your primary area of interest: Humanities, Social Sciences, or Natural Sciences. In addition, a number of regular, 4-credit courses are reserved for College Scholars each term. Most of these satisfy some of the UO’s general-education requirements. To maintain active standing in the program, you need to take four College Scholar 4-credit courses during your first two years (including one Reacting-to-the-Past course).

What is a Reacting to the Past course?

Reacting to the Past is an innovative history curriculum developed at Columbia University in the mid-1990s.  Our faculty travel to New York City to receive special training in how to use the reacting-to-the-past format.  These courses all have a role-playing game component, but the topics of the courses vary from quarter to quarter (e.g., the French Revolution, America’s Constitution, etc.).  For more information, including sample games and interviews with students and faculty who have participated in these courses, see

What about scholarships?

You will be eligible to apply for a College Scholars scholarship in Winter Quarter, with awards being dispersed in September and March of the following year. First year students are given priority for receiving scholarships but students of any year are encouraged to apply. Requirements for scholarships include maintaining good standing in the program, declaring a CAS major, and making a commitment to continuing in the College Scholars in your second year.  Scholarships are based on both merit and need.  To be considered for a scholarship, you must have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form on file. The FAFSA is available online at

 What do I have to pay for the College Scholars?

You pay nothing extra to participate in the College Scholars.

What are departmental honors?

Students typically do the work necessary for achieving honors at graduation during their junior and senior years by working on a research project with a faculty member, usually a professor with whom they have taken at least one course or worked with in a research practicum. Requirements vary by department, but typically result in an original research paper. Graduation with departmental honors is a significant achievement.  One goal of the College Scholars is to serve as an “on ramp” to departmental honors by improving your academic skills and providing the appropriate advising.