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Scholars Program


The Scholars Program is an outgrowth of both Clarke’s robust liberal arts/general education philosophy and the institution’s commitment to prepare career-ready and life-ready learners. The program serves as a unique, innovative, and flexible platform from which exceptional students can prepare for their futures as they explore their potential in the present.


Students prepare for their futures as they explore their potential by challenging themselves and each other intellectually, developing formative academic and professional relationships, and actively engaging with the larger academic community.


As a result of participation in the Scholars Program, students will be able to:

  • Think critically and creatively
  • Communicate effectively in oral and written form
  • Demonstrate effective collaboration skills
  • Demonstrate active engagement with the larger academic community

When you hear the term “Scholars Program,” what do you think of?

If you think boring and stuffy – THINK AGAIN!

At Clarke, our philosophy is to provide you with enriched academic opportunities that not only challenge, but invigorate you. In fact, participating in the Scholars Program is FUN. (Yes, that’s right, we just said it. Scholars coursework is fun!) That’s because when you are a Scholars student, you become part of a larger Scholars community that explores, learns and bonds together.

Here’s just a taste of what you can expect:

Of ‘course’ you will love it:

  • The Scholars Program takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning, which means that Scholars courses fall within Clarke’s general education curriculum and include a variety of topics. This means you will find a range of courses to keep your mind sharp and your experience varied.
  • Scholars courses don’t just put you in a classroom lecture. Courses are designed to be participatory and often include opportunities to meet outside of the classroom for activities like concerts, film festivals, public lectures, and service-learning projects.

A ‘world’ of opportunity

The Scholars Program experience doesn’t have to happen all at Clarke or even in the United States. Clarke scholars students are eligible to study abroad in a unique program at the University of Glasgow, which is rated one of the top 100 universities in the world. The Glasgow program provides students with an exceptional study abroad experience that allows students to enroll in sophisticated courses related to their majors.

Socially Speaking

  • As we said earlier, a big perk of the Clarke Scholars Program is the community you form by participating in it. To further strengthen that community, we created the “Advantage Program.” This orientation program gives students interested in the Scholars Program an opportunity to participate in academic programming and social activities during CONNECT, our welcome program for first-year students.
  • During the academic year, Scholars students benefit from access to the Scholars House, a dedicated space that provides a place where students can study, meet, and hang-out.

Rockin’ Research

  • It’s true – research can be exciting. And, each year when the Scholars Program sponsors the Clarke Student Research Conference on campus, the topics are anything but boring.
  • This year, students showcased their best work in a variety of topics including:
    • A Camera Is Worth a Thousand Pieces
    • Challenges facing native Spanish-speakers who learn English as a second language
    • Color changing liquid crystals: Application to LCD displays
    • Diabetes Type 1: An Athlete’s Perspective
    • Observing the Chemotaxis of Physarum towards Different Flavored Wheat Thins
    • The “Health” of Water
    • The Physics of Sound: Study of a Mandolin
  • Another research plus is that at Clarke, first-year Scholars Cornerstone students are eligible to attend the Upper Midwest Honors Council Conference each spring and have the chance to present research they conducted throughout the semester.