Scholars Program

Through small classes, faculty mentoring, research and internship opportunities, and a vibrant, close community of students and alumni, the Scholars Program instills in students the values, skills, and knowledge to realize their academic, professional, and personal goals.

Scholars is committed to the idea of a liberal arts education through which students think and learn across disciplines, freeing the mind to its fullest potential. The essence of such an education is not what you study but the result: gaining the ability to think critically and independently and to write, reason, and communicate clearly—the foundation for all professions.

Scholars receive a Presidential Scholarship*, access to study abroad, research, and internship awards and scholarships, and are part of the Honors Academy, a community of students who share ideas, interests, and resources.

*Scholarship applied only to students who enter Scholars directly from high school as first-semester college students.

“At Brooklyn College you have all of the resources of a great educational institution, and the Scholars Program is your direct access to them.” —Lisa Schwebel

Contact Information

Director: Lisa J. Schwebel

2231 Boylan Hall
P: 718.951.4114


Can you describe the Scholars Program?

The Scholars Program is the oldest honors program in CUNY—it actually predates CUNY, which was founded in 1962—and one of the first honors programs in the United States. In 1958, the Ford Foundation funded eight colleges and universities around the country to develop an honors curriculum, and Brooklyn College was one of the eight, admitting its first class in 1961. With its emphasis on honors sections of Core courses, interdisciplinary seminars, and guided research on a senior thesis, Brooklyn College Scholars immediately became the model for honors programs around the country: By 1964, 51 colleges were following the Scholars model. New York University not only adopted our structure, but also our name!

What are some of the unique features of the Scholars Program?

Innovation and tradition, independence and collaboration, humanities and science, and community and diversity are the hallmarks of the Scholars Program. As a Scholar, you will take advantage of:

  • honors sections of Pathways and Core classes;
  • a choice of interdisciplinary seminars created exclusively for Scholars;
  • faculty mentorship for independent research;
  • academic and career advisers;
  • dedicated technology assistance (Scholars is the only honors program whose students can download any software program owned by Brooklyn College free of charge);
  • coaching for more than 10 named study abroad, internship, research, and conference awards;
  • small class sizes;
  • priority registration; and
  • access to the Honors Lounge.

Do you have any stats about Scholars?

  • 98% of Scholars who apply to graduate and professional school are accepted within two years of graduation.
  • 100% of Scholars engage in internships, research, and/or study abroad.
  • 99% of incoming students meet or exceed Scholars’ first-year academic goals.
  • 96% of Scholars graduate within four years; the remaining 4% graduate in five years.
  • 100% of Scholars who apply for a study abroad scholarship are funded at least once; 80% are funded more than once.
  • All Scholars with accepted proposals receive funding for conference attendance.
  • In 2022, 27 out of 29 Scholars seniors had original research papers accepted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the most competitive and prestigious undergraduate research conference in the United States.
  • 70% of Scholars are admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society for breadth of course work; 88% are admitted to honors societies in their majors.

Can I apply to more than one honors program?

Yes. As an incoming first-semester college student, you should apply to as many honors programs as you are interested in. Each honors program admits independently, and theoretically, you could receive multiple offers.

Can I be part of another honors program in addition to Scholars?

Yes, you can be in both Scholars and B.A.-M.D. B.A.-M.D. students enjoy being part of Scholars mentoring community and participating in Scholars activities. All Scholars have access to scholarship opportunities for study abroad, internships, independent research, and conference attendance.

Does the program accept transfer students? What if I am already a student at Brooklyn College?

Yes, Scholars accepts qualified transfer and continuing students. To talk to a Scholars adviser and receive an application, transfer students should call 718.951.4114 or e-mail the director, Lisa Schwebel. Continuing students should go to 2231 Boylan Hall to speak with an adviser and pick up an application. The deadline for transfer and continuing student applications is December 15.

Do Scholars study abroad?

Scholars attend study abroad programs, and do research and community service, all over the globe. Named scholarships (Tow, Furman, Zicklin, Rosen, Gilman, Christoph M. Kimmich, etc.) are available for all forms of global study. Every Scholar who wants to study abroad receives funding. It is not unusual for Scholars to be funded more than once.

Are there research and internship opportunities?

Every Scholar does at least one internship during four years, and there are on- and off-campus research opportunities in all disciplines as well. Each week the Honors Academy newsletter includes a list of internship and research opportunities, and the Scholars Alumni Network connects individual students to internships with alumni working in different specialties. Funding for unpaid internships is available through the Magner Career Center and the CMK award.

What kinds of activities do Scholars take part in?

Scholars’ community activities include:

  • Theater and Arts Night, on the third Thursday of each month.
  • Pop-up Tuesdays during Common Hours (Tuesdays, 12:15–2:15 p.m.)
  • Scholars Game Day at the beginning of every semester is a great way for Scholars from all years to get together informally and have fun.
  • Second- and third-year Scholars attend the Northeast Regional Honors Conference.  Scholars have traveled together to Niagara Falls, New York; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Philadelphia; Annapolis, Maryland; Baltimore; Portland, Maine; and Pittsburgh.
  • Senior Scholars attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Recent conference venues include Lexington, Kentucky; Asheville, North Carolina; and Seattle. All conferences are fully funded.

Scholars’ community extends beyond graduation with Scholars reaching out to mentor new generations by attending career panels and luncheons, providing internships and summer jobs for Scholars, participating in one-on-one mentoring sessions, donating to the Scholars Program Fund, and so on. Scholars is for life!

What is the difference between the Scholars Program and the Macaulay Honors College?

Academically, Scholars and Macaulay students both complete 24 credits in honors course work.  The programs differ in how these credits are distributed, but both include 12 honors credits in lower-division classes and 12 honors credits in upper-division classes.

Financially, in-state students in Macaulay receive full tuition (minus Student Activity Fees) and an Opportunities Fund, which may be used for study abroad, internship and research support, and graduate school test preparation.

All Scholars who enter as first-semester college students receive a Presidential Scholarship and access to named scholarships for study abroad, internship and research support, and graduate school test preparation.

Brooklyn. All in.