Newcomb Scholars Program

Each year, the Newcomb Scholars Program selects twenty intellectually curious and motivated first-year students to participate in an academically rigorous, interdisciplinary learning and leadership experience.

The Newcomb Scholars Program is the only selective, small cohort program for Tulane University undergraduates focused on feminist leadership. Together, the Scholars make up a community of diverse thinkers, leaders, and activists. With the help of their peers, the Newcomb faculty and staff, and the vast array of resources available to them through Newcomb Institute, Scholars are empowered to develop the skills necessary to become innovative and compassionate leaders in the 21st century. 

2023 Application

The 2023 application opens on July 5, 2023 and closes in September 2023. Click the button to access the application and watch the recorded Q&A session to learn more.

2023 application

The due date of the application is Sept. 26th

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

Info Sessions will be held in the Commons’ Third Floor. No RSVP is required.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Room  337

Tuesday, September 5, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Room 337

Wednesday, September 6, 2023, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, Room 333

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 up to $5000
  • 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 a 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 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 a Textual and Historical Perspectives distribution credit.

This course includes an optional 20 hours of public service, which, when completed, will fulfill the first-tier public service requirement.

Seminar 2: Women Leading Change: Case Studies on Women in Organizations, Cross-listed with Political Science 3003

The Harvard Business School originated and developed the phenomenon of the teaching case to simulate the 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.  

This course offers Political Science credit and fulfills Writing Intensive SLA Tier-2.

Seminar 3: Feminist Epistemologies and Research Design (spring) 

In this course, students will read and discuss key texts that outline philosophies and methods of feminist knowledge production. Students will engage with foundational feminist epistemologies, such as standpoint theory, situated knowledges, and intersectionality, to understand the complex relationships between gender, race, class, and other categories that shape the distribution of power both within and outside the academy. They will explore research methods across fields while examining important debates about a researcher’s role and responsibilities to her/his/their subjects and the public. Research ethics regarding data collection, interpretation, and dissemination will be discussed through the lens of feminist and antiracist commitments.

This class fulfills the Race and Inclusion distribution credit requirement.

Seminar 4: Research Seminar (fall/Tuesdays) 

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. 

The course is one credit, S/U.
Seminar 5: Digital Scholarship (fall/Thursdays)
This course examines practices for designing research communications across a variety of digital mediums. It also examines how gender, often intersecting with race, class, and sexuality, affects the interpretation of research in digital forums and the treatment of researchers online. This interdisciplinary course will engage in a variety of fields, including data visualization, digital media practices, technology studies, gender studies, and digital scholarship. Seminar discussions will include examining creative methods for developing digital research projects, ethical considerations when promoting research through digital mediums, and critically analyzing computational methods in research that supports social justice and gender/racial equity. As praxis, students will design, storyboard, create, peer review, revise and present digital research products that include visual, audio, and narrative components. All technical skill levels are welcome. 

Seminar 5 counts towards graduation as an elective credit. It is an optional offering for all Newcomb Scholars and is required for those students who missed one of the seminars listed above.


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. 

During their final year, students are required to enroll in 3 credits each semester of Honors Thesis or Independent Study in the department of their choice. 

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 fall semester of their junior year or during the summer so they may take the third-year course with their cohort. If Scholars decide to study abroad during the spring semester of their junior year or for an entire year, they must take INTU 2500 during their sophomore or senior year as noted above. 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 

Meet the Scholars