Scranton Launches Magis Honors Program in STEM

The University has added a new honors program to provide undergraduates a more rigorous interdisciplinary research experience in STEM.
The University will offer a new Magis Honors Program for STEM. This is the fifth honors program offered at Scranton.
The University will offer a new Magis Honors Program for STEM. This is the fifth honors program offered at Scranton.

The University of Scranton has added a new honors program to its programs of excellence, this one focused on offering talented students a more intense, interdisciplinary experience of research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“The goal of the program is to give the opportunity for students who are really excited about STEM to be able to get involved right away,” said Janice Voltzow, Ph.D., professor of biology, one of the founders of the program at Scranton.

The Magis Honors Program, which began as a pilot program in the fall of 2017 and was officially approved as Scranton’s fifth honors program this year, combines the development of STEM knowledge and research techniques with programing to further the students’ understanding of the impact science has on society.

The Magis Honors Program’s courses, which students will take over their four years at Scranton, combine a series of seminars on STEM and society with humanities courses that include a philosophy class in ethics, a history course on America’s environment, and a theology course on science and the common good, as well as a first-year Writing Science in Literature course. With guidance by faculty mentors, the students will develop, present and defend a thesis based on their individual research projects. In addition, the program requires participation in annual community service projects as well as professional development programs.

According to Dr. Voltzow, all four cohorts of students (first-year, sophomore, junior and senior cohorts) meet weekly to discuss projects and other topics of interest during the semester. Students entering the program participate in a multi-day STEM field experience at a local research site in conjunction with a service project at the site the week before the start of fall semester classes. During the academic year, students participate in teaching STEM related activities with fourth grade students at McNichols Plaza Elementary School in Scranton, as well as with STEM afterschool programs for middle school and high school students offered through the United Neighborhood Centers.

Qualified applicants to the University are invited to apply to the program. A cohort of approximately 10 students are accepted to begin their freshman year. Students who excel in their STEM courses at Scranton may also apply for admission to the program in the spring semester of their first year. To remain in the program, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 and develop an independent project.

The Magis Honors Program is the fifth honors program offered at the University and the third open to freshman. The other four honors programs are the four-year Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program and Business Honors Program; the three-year undergraduate Honors Program and two-year Business Leadership Honors Program.

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