Application Essay


The Aquinas Scholars Honors Program is firmly committed to active student participation in class discussions that involves both extemporaneous speaking and serious intellectual reflection. As part of your application to the Honors Program, we would like you to write a 500 word double-spaced essay in which you propose an interdisciplinary seminar course for the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program. Honors seminars are 2-credit, team-taught courses by faculty from different disciplines. Recent pairs have featured a psychologist and philosopher, a political scientist and an economist, or a business lawyer and a French language faculty member. In these seminars there are only 15 students working with two faculty members. Typically each student prepares a written response to readings for each session. In addition, pairs of students often present material to the seminar participants each week.

As you write, imagine that you are a UST faculty member. Suppose that you and another faculty member are designing a new seminar proposal for consideration by the Aquinas Scholars Faculty Board. For example, you could imagine yourself as a psychology professor interested in the concepts of social networking and your colleague might be a professor in the Opus College of Business. The two of you could then hold a seminar discussing the effects of Facebook on employees, work atmosphere, productivity, marketing, or anything else.

Be sure to identify the way(s) your two disciplines illuminate aspects of the topic, question, or issue your seminar will address. Create a seminar that you think will be interesting and engaging for Honors students and one that clearly identifies the contributions the different disciplines make to the study of the topic or question. Also be sure to explain both why the seminar ought to be offered and what kinds of topics, issues, subjects, and questions will be studied and discussed in the seminar. Support the importance of the topic or its interdisciplinary aspect by using one or more references to a book or article—with appropriate style of citation (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style).

For a description of previous seminars offered, go to


The application essay for the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program will be judged on the following criteria:

FORM (Grade Scale: 0-Low/Poor; 1-Acceptable; 2-Good)
1. The organization of the essay.
2. The clarity of the essay.
3. The correct use of English grammar and spelling.

CONTENT (Grade Scale: 0-Low/Poor; 1-Acceptable; 2-Good)
4. The quality of the ideas presented in the essay.
5. The creativity/feasibility of the proposed seminar.
6. Source/support for the ideas and seminar (i.e., an article, book, website, etc.).
7. Interdisciplinary contributions of each faculty partner.
8. The overall quality of the essay—sum of previous seven categories (minimum for acceptance—at least a “1” in each of the seven categories!).