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Arts students pose in front of a mural


Examining the role of The Arts as a catalyst for healing, transformation and action

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The practice of Art—in its infinite forms, functions and implications—is the most accessible and universal way of constructing meaning out of the world we inhabit.

Our Philosophy: The Arts are not just for experts. They are not solely for the enjoyment of the elite. They are not a superfluous extravagance. The Arts are for us all, expert and novice alike. They are not just an end in and of themselves, but a means. They shape, and are shaped by the world we inhabit.  

Students in the Arts Scholars program gain a deeper understanding of the impact of art as a means to explore society and culture against the backdrop of our individual differences and shared experiences.  

What you can expect: No matter your major, area of artistic interest, or skill level, as a member of our community, you will be challenged to strengthen your personal artistic skill set, experiment with new and different art forms, and gain a deeper understanding of the value of the arts in our personal and collective lives. We will investigate the power of the arts to:

  • Communicate difficult concepts
  • Advocate for social change
  • Investigate the human experience
  • Explore our own identities
  • Develop our capacities as creative problem solvers and critical thinkers
  • Reinforce, but also upend existing systems of inequality and oppression

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

Through a mix of lectures, discussions, demonstrations, collaborative art-making and interactions with guest artists, students consider:

  • What is art? What is “good” art? Understanding social definitions of art and their influence on our beliefs of what should or should not be considered art.
  • What does research look like in The Arts? Exploring common methods of research aligned with professional artistic practice. 
  • How have The Arts legitimated and perpetuated systems of inequality across race, socio-economic status, gender, etc.?  Conversely, how can we leverage The Arts to generate equity and belonging? How can The Arts reshape or recontextualize understanding of our (individual and societal) learned history, biases and beliefs? 
  • West African djembe: Exploring the role of music in community building, storytelling and cultural understanding.

I have been challenged to think differently, work cooperatively, embrace creativity and, most importantly, go beyond the limits I have set for myself. Because of this program, I can confidently say I feel infinitely more prepared for the “real world,” and for that confidence and growth, I could never be more grateful.

Alexandra Curry
Alexandra Curry, '22

Other Learning Opportunities

A variety of learning opportunities supplements the Arts curriculum. As an Arts Scholar, you will be introduced to artists, professional ensembles and world-class institutions each semester, through workshops led by guest artists; attendance at live performances in Washington, DC, New York City and on campus; and visits to the Smithsonian's renowned art and history museums.

In addition, you will get a chance to:

  • Conceptualize, execute and present a capstone project of your choosing during your second year;
  • Participate in service-learning with local schools and arts nonprofit organizations; and
  • Cultivate valuable leadership and communication skills through peer mentoring and peer teaching opportunities.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete up to 6 credits of supporting courses that will count toward your Arts Scholars citation. In most cases, these will also fulfill General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquiums, capstone practicum and supporting courses—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the Arts Citation Checklist. 

Semester 1 CPSA 100: Colloquium I 1 credit
Semester 2 CPSA 101: Colloquium II 1 credit
Semester 3 CPSA 200: Colloquium III 1 credit
Semester 4 CPSA 201: Colloquium IV 1 credits
CPSA 240: Service Learning; or
CPSA 250: Research (DSSP); or
CPSA 260: Peer Teaching (DSSP)
2 credits
2 credits
2 credits
Semester 1, 2, 3, or 4 Supporting Course (var. Gen Ed)
Supporting Course (var. Gen Ed)
Supporting Course (DVUP or DVCC)
3 credits
3 credits
3 credits

Sponsoring College 

College of Arts and Humanities

Office Address

1110 Bel Air Hall

Office Phone



Portrait of Harold Burgess

Harold Burgess

Program Director, Arts
Portrait of Heather Bremenstuhl

Heather Bremenstuhl

Associate Director, Arts
Portrait of Alex Lynch

Alex Lynch

Graduate Assistant, Arts

Arts News

Showing 7 - 12 of 16
  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2022, Founders Circle Award winners

    Students in College Park Scholars’s Citation Class of 2022 began their University of Maryland (UMD) careers in the fall of 2020, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. They spent their first year almost entirely online: Some Zoomed into their program colloquium from their double-turned-single dorm rooms; others attended virtually from their families’ homes, away from campus.

  • 4 Scholars Alums Among Senior Marshals at Winter Commencement

    The University of Maryland recently announcement its roster of senior marshals for Winter Commencement, taking place Dec. 20. Among the 32 graduating seniors are four College Park Scholars alumni:

  • Scholars recognizes Citation Class of 2021, Founders Circle Award winners

    When the Scholars Citation Class of 2021—all 930 of them—stepped onto the University of Maryland campus in August of 2019, spirits were undoubtedly high. College Park Scholars was celebrating its 25th anniversary, with branded #ScholarsAt25 shirts, buttons and laptop stickers, and even a Maryland Dairy ice cream flavor created specifically for the occasion. But spirits sank in March of 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the cohort into a virtual experience for the rest of their time in the program.

  • In-Person Service Day Relaunches With Enthusiasm

    Kids bent over boxes of school supplies. Tubs of tomatoes, picked fresh off the vine. College students clad in waders, waist-deep in pond water. These were just a few of the scenes witnessed during College Park Scholars’ annual Service Day, which took place on Friday, Aug. 27, this year.

  • 3 Scholars Alums Among University’s Undergraduate Researchers of the Year

    Three Scholars alums were among the seven students named University of Maryland’s 2021 Undergraduate Researchers of the Year. Andrew Forschler, Arts Rebecca Gordon, Public Leadership Neehar Peri, Business, Society and the Economy Selected by a panel of faculty and staff, this honor recognizes select undergraduate students who displayed exceptional commitment to and accomplishments in undergraduate research at the university

  • 10 Scholars Alums to Serve as Spring Commencement Senior Marshals

    A significant number of Scholars alumni will be serving as Senior Marshals at the University of Maryland commencement this Friday, May 21, 2021. Senior Marshals are graduating seniors who display the highest levels of scholarship, service, extracurricular activity and personal growth.

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