College Park Scholars

About College Park Scholars

College Park Scholars is an academic residential community for select freshmen and sophomores. Invited freshmen matriculate into one of 12 interdisciplinary programs, each housed in the Cambridge Community on North Campus. The curriculum and activities for each program -- and for Scholars overall -- provide the interpersonal benefits of a small college paired with the intellectual advantages of a major research university. Each Scholars program is directed by a faculty member appointed by the sponsoring college’s dean and supported by a small staff. Programs each admit about 75 first-year students annually.

 Our Mission:

College Park Scholars provides intellectual challenges and collegial support for engaged and academically talented freshmen and sophomores. Each program fosters a scholastic community where students first encounter University life. Once adjusted to campus, individual Scholars actively thrive in, and beyond, the University. Learning in Scholars is challenging in its interdisciplinary inquiry and rigorous in its focus on critical and integrative thinking. Practical experiences such as internships, research, community service and study abroad, emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of knowledge and promote the early development of professional competencies. The community among students, and between students and faculty, multiplies students’ learning and provides ongoing support to meet the challenges of their academic experiences at Maryland.

Each Program:


Has its own academic focus, through which it explores a variety of related topics.
Offers at least one unique course exclusive to its students each semester.
Is housed in the Scholars residential community.
Is led by faculty from a related academic department.
Limits its first-year enrollment to a class of 70-90 students.
Challenges students both inside and outside the classroom.

Our Scholars Programs:

Business, Society and the Economy
Environment, Technology and Economy
Global Public Health
International Studies
Justice and Legal Thought
Life Sciences
Media, Self and Society
Public Leadership
Science and Global Change
Science, Discovery and the Universe
Science, Technology and Society

The Scholars Curriculum:

The Scholars curriculum consists of specific Scholars courses and supporting classes, which may also count for university general education requirements or major requirements. The Scholars curriculum allows students to develop an interdisciplinary concentration that can complement their major, help them explore potential majors or serve as an academic focus outside of their major. Upon successful completion of the program, students will earn a citation that appears on their transcript.


Students are housed together in the Cambridge residential community. Generally, they take a College Park Scholars course together each semester, and often will be in other program - or major-related courses with their Scholars classmates, as well. Students also work together on projects inside or outside the classroom. As a result of this living-learning arrangement, College Park Scholars creates a community that makes for a small-school feel while still providing access to big school resources and opportunities.

The Scholars Practicum, The Sophomore Capstone Experience:

Students are required to finish their two years in the program with the Scholars Practicum, a semester long experiential learning project. Some students learn while making a difference by engaging in service-learning experiences, such as volunteering at local schools or nonprofit organizations. Students interested in any discipline can develop their research skills through Discovery Projects, which allow them to design and perform their own research projects. Some students use internships to apply what they are learning in the classroom to real-world situations. Scholars have interned in organizations throughout the Washington, D.C., area, including the National Institute of Health, Merrill Lynch, the National Aquarium, the Capitol Children's Museum, NASA and the U.S Congress.


Admission is by invitation and is competitive. College Park Scholars bases its admission decisions on information in the student's university application file. Interested students should apply to the university by their priority deadline for special programs. Invited students will be notified of their invitation in the university's acceptance letter. Invited students trying to decide which individual program may be right for them should explore the Scholars Website for more details about activities, course requirements and other interesting facts.

Make Connections:

With other talented students who have similar interests and goals.
With expert faculty members whose offices are located in the residence halls.
With a variety of experiential learning opportunities in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Annapolis, and rural Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
With experience that will develop your leadership skills through student groups such as Scholars Ambassadors and the Student Advisory Board.

Experience What You Are Learning:

Many students learn best through active learning. Scholars programs provide a variety of experiences for students to learn outside of the classrooms. In past years, Scholars programs have sponsored fields trips to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Chesapeake Bay, and Capitol Hill, all of which are short distances from campus. Some programs have visited sites in nearby cities, such as the Philadelphia Art Museum, Wall Street, the Bronx Zoo, and the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Some programs have also arranged study abroad opportunities, such as the Life Sciences trip to Australia and Belize, or Earth, Life & Time's trip to the Galapagos Islands. Students learn leadership and team building skills through team-oriented projects, such as leadership workshops, business strategy competitions, cultural events, or through staging public performances, such as the Arts program's annual Spring Fair. Some students publish original works in Scholars publications, such as Media, Self & Society's "Unwind" arts and entertainment guide, or Science, Discovery & the Universe's webzine, "Blank Space". For more information about what specific programs offer, please visit the program pages.

Even though College Park Scholars is a living-learning community, commuters are welcomed and encouraged to participate. Students who commute to campus comprise approximately 10 percent of the incoming class, and have access to all community spaces.

College Park Scholars

1125 Cumberland Hall, 4145 Valley Dr., University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742.
Ph 301.314.CPSP (2777), Fax 301.314.9843, Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  || College Park Scholars is a program of Undergraduate Studies

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