Santa Clara University

Notable Features

Priority Registration: Students in the University Honors Program enjoy priority registration for all courses. That is, they are assigned early times on the eCampus registration system. Priority registration facilitates enrollment in most Santa Clara courses, and it lets UHP students tailor their schedules to attain maximum academic impact.

Residence halls: The Honors Program respects the overwhelming desire of its students that they not live together in a single housing unit. In recent years, the housing office has assigned UHP students to various locations and "learning communities" within the campus system. Please see Frequent Asked Questions, "Student Housing" to learn more about residential life for UHP students.

classClasses: University Honors Program courses, with their characteristic small size and active student involvement, replace many required "core" courses. A seminar-style class typically consists of 15 to 17 members; it emphasizes critical reading, writing, and interaction among students and professors. Courses available exclusively to UHP students include distinctive, interdisciplinary Cultures & Ideas seminars, and special classes in critical thinking and writing, psychology, religious studies, and philosophy. The UHP also provides limited-enrollment courses, laboratories, and seminars in such fields as mathematics, chemistry, biology, English, and history.

Freshman UHP students take about half of their first-year classes within the Program. Most are asked to enroll for UHP seminars that complete their core Cultures & Ideas, critical thinking and writing, and religious studies requirements. UHP freshmen fill out their curriculum with other Honors classes as well as other university courses.

A full list of UHP courses for the Spring 2015 quarter can be found here.

Contract Classes: The student and the faculty member agree on a course of independent, mentored research conducted over the entire quarter that results in the student’s acquisition of a deeper and richer command of some aspect of the course material.  In some sense, the “contract” is the equivalent of an Oxford tutorial, with set meetings, a reading list, and expectations for an outcome.  The student should be afforded an opportunity to present the results of the research to the class.  Honors Contract courses are especially valuable in the student’s junior year as a precursor to the senior thesis and as an opportunity for students pursuing nationally competitive fellowships to develop a working relationship with a faculty member.

Download: UHP Contract Course Guidelines

HNRS 20 - Difficult Dialogues:  Freshman Seminar devoted to the analysis from different perspectives of some issue, text, or problem in the area of a professor's expertise. This course will hone critical thinking skills and provide students an opportunity to discuss and debate the toughest questions faced by society today.

HNRS 20 courses to be offered in 2014-2015:

Fall 2014

  • Democracy and Democratization (Jane Curry)
Winter 2015
  • Genetics and Medicine (Leilani Miller)
Spring 2015
  • Gender and Sexuality (Laura Ellingson)
  • The Quest for Meaning (Diane Dreher)
  • The Veil in the Modern World (Naomi Andrews)

Download: HNRS 20: Difficult Dialogues Course Descriptions

UHP Presents: The University Honors Program holds one lecture per quarter in which a SCU professor will discuss an issue related to current events or their field. 

Ebola: Perspectives on a Threat by Dr. Tracy Ruscetti was the Fall 2014 installment of UHP Presents.

Senior Thesis: All Honors students will complete a Senior Thesis or Project before graduation. This thesis or project is designed to engage the student in research, reflection, and writing. It should also provide the students with the opportunity to work closely with faculty members who will guide in beginning, pursuing, and completing their thesis or project.

Special Scholarships: During their time at SCU, Honors students are eligible to apply for several scholarships that are exclusive to the Honors Program. Each of these scholarships is designed to give UHP students an enriching experience that reaches far beyond the typical classroom:

Oxford Scholarship: An endowed UHP scholarship annually sponsors one junior student for a year of study at Mansfield College, part of Britain's University of Oxford.Application deadlines are typically the last week of January.

For more information on the Oxford Scholarship at Mansfield College, please see:
Application for 2015 Mansfield Selection
Relevant Points
Faculty Recommendation Form

Osberg Fellowship: This fellowship was established through the generosity of Sally Osberg in memory of Richard H. Osberg, who served as a distinguished SCU Professor of English, the Chair of his Department, and as Director of the Honors Program and Office of Fellowships.Each Osberg Scholar receives a $3,000 award for summer research wages and/or travel expenses. This fellowship is intended to prepare exceptional students to compete for nationally competitive graduate fellowships such as Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Mitchell, Goldwater, Udall, Jack Kent Cooke, and Gates Cambridge.Candidates must be participants in good standing with the University Honors Program who exemplify the ideals and best tradition of Santa Clara University, and have a minimum GPA of 3.3.The research mentor will be responsible for managing award funds.Application deadlines are typically around March 1.

For the 2015 Osberg Fellowship application, click here.

Hayes Fellowship:This fellowship was established in memory of Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., SCU's first Rhodes Scholar (1955) and a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.Each Hayes Scholar receives an award of up to $7,000.00 for summer research wages, expenses for domestic and foreign study and travel, and/or research supply expenses.Candidates must be participants in good standing with the University Honors Program who exemplify the ideals and best tradition of Santa Clara University, and have a minimum GPA of 3.3.The research mentor will be responsible for managing award funds. Application deadlines are typically around March 1. For information about Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr, click here. 

For the 2015 Hayes Fellowship application, click here.

Past & Present Scholarship Winners

Graduate Education: UHP students receive exceptional preparation for graduate education and professional careers through the Program's emphasis on integrated learning, critical thought and superior skills in oral and written expression. Please see SCU's Fellowships Page for more information on graduate fellowships such as the Rhodes, Marshall and Fulbright.