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Emerging Scholars Program

The Emerging Scholars Program at Drexel is custom-built for the needs of today’s world. Designed specifically for undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences, this one-year, competitive program allows students to explore the liberal arts before declaring a major. Taking a holistic approach to the first year of college, the Emerging Scholars Program provides close mentorship, a specialized curriculum, a residential learning community, travel courses, and co-curricular events that offer the life-enhancing experiences essential for intellectual and personal growth, as well as post-graduate success.


  • One-year program for students interested in the humanities and social sciences
  • Admission is limited to 25 students per year
  • Living-learning Community: Students take courses together and live in the same dormitory
  • Custom curriculum introduces students to range of majors in humanities and social sciences
  • Travel and Community-Based courses are integrated into the curriculum
  • Co-op with a Non-Profit: Co-op experiences are arranged for the student during the second year

The Curriculum

The program's unique curriculum allows students to satisfy their degree requirements in a timely manner, while exploring the range of fields within the humanities and social sciences - anthropology, communication, criminology and justice studies, English, history, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology - and the career opportunities available in each discipline.

ESP Seminars

Emerging Scholars will meet select humanities and social science faculty in a series of ESP seminars. These seminars are designed to introduce students to the intellectual content and career opportunities of a major discipline and will be structured around two themes: Explore the World and Discover Philadelphia.

The curriculum for the Explore the World seminars takes a global perspective and include themes such as World Civilization (history) and Writing In/Across Disciplines (English). Students are also encouraged to participate in an international travel course that takes place during the spring break.

The curriculum for the Discover Philadelphia seminars focuses on The City and include courses such as Resistance Movements in Philadelphia (political science), Communication and the City (communication), Justice in Our Community (criminology and justice studies) and Social Problems (sociology). Students also participate in a community-based course in which they learn side-by-side with community members - from prison inmates to hospice patients - gaining a richer understanding of course material and the experiences of their fellow citizens.

By the end of the year, students will be well prepared to declare a major that truly fits their career goals.


Emerging Scholars participate in Drexel University's renowned cooperative education program. The ESP representative from Drexel's Steinbright Career Development Center works closely with students to prepare them for co-op positions within a Philadelphia-based, nonprofit organization. These experiences expose students to career options, strengthen their résumés and professional networks, and support the worthy endeavors of community organizations.


Students accepted into the Emerging Scholars Program become part of a living-learning community, taking their ESP seminars together and living together in the Millennium Hall "College Learning Community."


The program is competitive - only 25 students will be accepted in the 2018 class. Applicants should be passionate students who want to become leaders in their field and community and who are interested in impacting the world through their work. To apply, please submit an essay a short statement (described below) on the following topic to the program director, Lloyd Ackert, PhD, at

Statement Topic

In a 150 word statement, discuss why the Emerging Scholars Program is right for you. What are your career goals and how would the specific aspects of the program described above help you to achieve them? What prior experiences - whether in school, community service, international travel or other parts of your life - make you a good candidate for the program?