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Newcomb Scholars Program

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

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

View the Class of 2021 Newcomb Scholars Symposium.

2021 Application

The 2021 application opens on July 1st and closes on October 1, 2021. 

Students are encouraged to attend our fall Q&A sessions to learn more.

To learn more about the program, see Newcomb Institute's Events Calendar for the Newcomb Scholars Q&A sessions that occur in the Fall.

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.

Watch a recorded Q&A session to learn more.

Program Requirements


First-year undergraduates 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.


The following are required to graduate with the Newcomb Scholar designation: 

  • Successful completion of each Scholars seminar with a minimum grade of B. 
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.25 by the end of the first year and cumulative grade point average of 3.40 after the second year until graduation. 
  • Completion of a two-semester independent research project. 
  • Commitment to the program as one of the Scholar's main priorities (i.e. participation in a Scholars committee, volunteering for recruitment, attendance at cohort-building events). 


Each year, Newcomb Scholars take small discussion-based courses with their cohort. Designed specifically for the Scholars program, these seminars include lectures, discussions, guest speakers, projects, papers, readings, and presentations. Each seminar focuses on different subject matter - from women in higher education to writing a research proposal, to women leading change - to offer Scholars the opportunity to develop the analytical, research and writing tools to build their own identities as scholars. Seminars build on one another to prepare Scholars for their final research project, completed over the course of two semesters during their senior year.

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 feminist leaders who learn from one another, support one another, and build confidence in the academic setting. Scholars take one seminar each academic year; all seminars meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 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 gender and the college landscape from the early 20th century to present day. Using historical and literary frameworks to generate, address, and answer questions about gender 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 1 counts toward graduation as an elective credit. A public-service option for graduation credit is offered. 

Seminar 2: Women Leading Change (spring) 

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 2 satisfies one of the social science requirements for graduation.  Seminar 2 may also apply to a Political Science major or minor. A public-service option for graduation credit is offered. 

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 a research proposal for their senior project. Seminar 2 counts toward graduation as an elective credit.

Seminar 4: Research Seminar (fall) 

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.  Seminar 4 will appear on the transcript but does not count toward credit hours needed for graduation, because Scholars will simultaneously be registered for Seminar 4 and their Honors Thesis or Independent study course. 

Two-Semester Independent Research Project 

As part of the program, each Newcomb Scholar is expected to successfully complete a year-long 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 their own research agenda. 

Other Curriculum Opportunities 

Honors Program: Students can be both Newcomb Scholars and Honors students by meeting the GPA requirement and course requirement for the Honors program.  

Honors Thesis: The two-semester Honors Thesis fulfills the Newcomb Scholars Independent Research Project requirement, and we encourage Newcomb scholars to consider completing the Honors Thesis in their department.  Only students who complete an Honors Thesis graduate with "scholarly honors," a notation on the diploma, in the department in which they are writing. 

Study Abroad: The Newcomb Scholars program values knowledge gained from multiple perspectives and modes of learning and supports study abroad by our students. However, we strongly encourage students to study abroad in the spring semester of their junior year or during summer so they may take the third year course with their cohort. If Scholars decide to study abroad during the fall semester of their junior year or for an entire year, they may take either take INTU 3000 during the summer (when offered) or opt not to enroll in the course.  Scholars must complete all other seminars and will be expected to participate in the scheduled events for their cohort before and after their term abroad.  

Altman Scholar: Students cannot participate in Newcomb Scholars and the Altman Scholars program because the requirements for each program are so numerous.  Please review the mission and goals of each program prior to the application process to decide which one might be the best fit for your academic goals and interests.

Meet the Scholars

View Newcomb Scholars Alumnae by class year or career field.


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