About the Program
Academic Aspects of the Honors Program
The academic program of Aquinas Scholars is distinguished from that of non-scholars by two main factors.
First, while all students have seventeen general education requirements, Aquinas Scholars must take at least four of these courses as honors sections. Honors sections generally teach the same material as non-honors sections, but they are distinctive in that there is a substantially smaller class size, they are taught by faculty recognized for excellence in teaching, and there is an increased focus on student participation and in-depth examination of topics. To learn more about these courses, go to the page devoted to upcoming honors sections.
Second, Aquinas Scholars are required to take three honors seminars. These seminars are two-credit, team-taught, interdisciplinary courses that allow Aquinas Scholars to study more creative and experimental topics. Some recent or upcoming examples include "Symmetry and Music" (co-taught by faculty from the Music and Mathematics departments), "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (co-taught by faculty from the Physics and Justice and Peace Studies departments), and "Why People Believe Weird Things" (co-taught by faculty from the Psychology and Computer Science departments). Aquinas Scholars are allowed to take these courses free of charge, and they do count toward the 132-credit graduation requirement. At current tuition rates, this means that Aquinas Scholars save over $5,400 in tuition expenses through the course of their academic careers. To learn more about these courses, go to the page devoted to upcoming honors seminars.
Scholarship / Fellowship Opportunities
The following are links for Scholarship and Fellowship information for St. Thomas students who have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic achievement.
Some of these opportunities, such as the Rhodes Scholarship, are well known and should be carefully considered by outstanding students. Others are not as famous, such as the Alliance for Catholic Education program through Notre Dame, which is for students interested in becoming part of a group of young educators preparing to teach in under-served elementary and secondary schools. While many of these programs offer opportunities following graduation (for which you should start preparing as soon as your second or third year at UST), others provide opportunities to support the continuation of your undergraduate studies.
Social Aspects of the Honors Program
Aquinas Scholars not only take classes together, they have the opportunity to participate with other honors students in a wide variety of activities outside the classroom.
These activities include the popular monthly academic event "Pizza with a Prof", where students invite a professor to share and discuss his/her current research over a free lunch of pizza and pop. Some recent topics have included "Using Exercise to Boost Your Grade Point Average" (by a Health and Human Performance professor), "The Communication Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships (and thus a healthy, happy life)" (by a Communications and Journalism professor), "Using Economics to Inform Public Policy" (by an Economics professor), and "Bugs and Drugs: What's in Your Water" (by a Chemistry professor).
The co-chairs of the Social Events committee puts together a slate of fun activities each semester for Aquinas Scholars such as Twins baseball games, theme dinners such as the Melting Pot, bowling, and the highly popular Freshman Retreat. These activities are all subsidized by the program, so they are either free or (at most) half-price.
Many scholars like to hang out with each other in the Aquinas Scholars student lounge, where they have access to free coffee, tea, apple cider and hot chocolate.
Aquinas Scholars report on all these activities and share their opinions in the Aquinas Scholars' newsletter, the Scholars Monthly. There are numerous opportunities to do community service through the Aquinas Scholars. And finally, there are students who work hard to welcome new Scholars into the fold (the Recruitment and Orientation committee) and to make sure that the next generation of Scholars upholds the fine tradition of the program (the Admissions committee).
Aquinas Scholars Brochure