While the educational needs of most undergraduates can be readily satisfied through the selection of an appropriate major or combination of major(s) and/or minor(s), the University recognizes that for a select subset of unusually talented and motivated students, this will not be the case. Such exceptional students, driven by an overarching passion or curiosity that transcends typical disciplinary bounds and curricula, often have intellectual aspirations that would be difficult to accommodate within four years by conventional means. These interests may lead to broad interdisciplinary explorations of an issue, or to more intense, in-depth studies in a single field at a level akin to graduate work. In either case, such studies are likely to require an unusually large amount of individualized work, extensive interaction with faculty mentors, and often the academic resources of more than one college.
Because students in this program require administrative arrangements that can be made only at the college level, the students are designated as the responsibility of the college dean, hence the designation “Dean’s Scholar” in recognition of the special efforts made on their behalf by the college.