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Newcomb Scholars Program

The Newcomb Scholars Program selects twenty intellectually curious and motivated women each year to participate in an academically rigorous interdisciplinary learning and leadership experience. Together, the Scholars create a community of diverse thinkers, leaders, and activists, which challenges and empowers them to be innovative and compassionate leaders in the 21st century.

The only small cohort honors program for Tulane University undergraduate women, Newcomb Scholars offers a unique opportunity to build scholarship and leadership skills.



To apply, fill out this application

Program Information

Through this program, Newcomb Scholars will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop the research and writing skills necessary for good scholarship.
  • Think critically about gender-based inequities and strategies for addressing them.
  • Consider how gender intersects with scholarship, leadership, and social change.
  • Foster and experience a diverse intellectual community.
  • Learn about women’s leadership and cultivate leadership skills.
  • Benefit from the financial support of research and applied learning grants.
  • Complete a two-semester independent research project.

Read the Program Requirements section for more information about eligibility.

Program Requirements


First-year women who are full-time students in Newcomb-Tulane Undergraduate College are eligible to apply to the Newcomb Scholars program during their first fall semester at Tulane University.

Grade Point Average

Newcomb Scholars are expected to earn a 3.25 cumulative grade point average by the end of their first year at Tulane and to maintain a 3.4 for each semester thereafter.


All Newcomb Scholars are required to enroll in the four Newcomb Scholars seminars and earn at least a B in each one. Each seminar is designed to provide Scholars with information and experience to prepare them for the independent research project. The seminars are also meant to create a strong community of interdisciplinary women leaders who learn from one another, support one another, and build confidence in the academic setting. All seminars meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 9:15 am.

Seminar 1: History and Philosophy of Higher Education: The Role of College Women (spring, with a service learning option) 

This course examines the social and political history of higher education with special emphasis on the transformation of women and the college landscape from the early 20th century to present day. Using historical and literary frameworks to generate, address, and answer questions about college women today, this course will provide Newcomb Scholars with an opportunity to examine the social and political culture of various decades and its influence on college culture, women's colleges and women in college, and narratives about college life. This course includes a public service option of working with high school students interested in attending college.

Seminar 2: Women Leading Change (spring, with a service learning option) 

The Harvard Business School originated and developed the phenomenon of the teaching case to simulate business experience in novices, to create a concrete vehicle for applying abstract theories to real world situations, and to engender engaged classroom discussion while fostering critical thinking skills as students were forced to wrestle with actual business dilemmas that had no easy answer.  It is no accident that professional schools were drawn to case teaching—Law, for obvious reasons—but also schools of public affairs and public health whose missions are to utilize the best thinking of the disciplines to prepare students for careers as practitioners.  Cases marry learning about real world policy and organizational problems with critical thinking, abstract reasoning, and theorizing valued in all academic disciplines. 

The objective of this course is to engage students in drawing leadership lessons from the real-world dilemmas of women leading organizations to bring about social change.  The course will also teach how to write and evaluate the usefulness of cases; each student will write a case linked to her field of study which engages the concepts of gender and leadership.  The course teaches critical thinking and problem solving through immersion in the stories of women leaders.  The course outcomes are an enhanced appreciation of the dilemmas that are encountered by women leading change; the ability to evaluate and compose case studies at the intersection of leadership and gender; and the demonstration of strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.  

Seminar 3: Seeking Knowledge: How Various Disciplines Recognize Truth (spring) 

This course will examine knowledge production through a critical exploration of the research process. It will also ask how gender intersects with the processes of knowledge production and becoming a scholar. Readings, class discussions, assignments, and guest lecturers will provide Scholars with the opportunity to engage with interdisciplinary perspectives and develop the literature review for their senior project.

Seminar 4: Research Seminar (spring) 

This course functions as a writing workshop for the two-semester independent research project and provides Scholars with support from the professors and from one another to complete their independent research projects and be prepared to present it at a campus conference in the spring semester.

Two-Semester Independent Research Project 

As part of the program, each Newcomb Scholar is expected to successfully complete a two-semester independent research project. Scholars may complete this project as an Honors thesis or as an independent study. Though each path has different requirements, all Scholars will participate in the fourth year seminar in addition to the required thesis or independent study course. The seminars help prepare Scholars for the independent research project, but each Scholar is responsible for developing and driving her own research agenda. 

Questions and Answers

For more information, please see this Questions and Answers document.   


Meet the Scholars

For more information, contact:
Aidan Smith
Director of the Newcomb Scholars Program