The mission of The Citadel Distinguished Scholars Program is to develop the brightest and most ambitious Citadel students for success in top-tier graduate schools and for leadership roles in their future careers. Prestigious scholarships include the Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Hertz and National Science Foundation and top universities include Harvard, MIT, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Stanford and Berkeley, to name only a few.
CDSP is a six-year initiative (operating in academic years 2018-2024) funded by a Citadel alumnus and donor, and its goals, which have been endorsed by the Citadel President, Provost, Commandant, and Deans of the College, include:
- Fostering among top tier Citadel students the ambition to reach for the highest academic achievements
- Increasing the number of Citadel students applying for prestigious scholarships and admission to prestigious graduate programs
- Serving as a catalyst to help students win more of the top prizes in academia, including the college’s first Rhodes Scholar
CDSP was created to fill in the gaps where Citadel students may be falling short in winning these life-changing opportunities, since the standards are very high and they are competing against the best from around the world. CDSP aggressively prepares students by requiring supplemental courses designed to develop awareness and knowledge of the a “great books” curriculum, promoting experiential learning through engagement in leadership, internship and research activities, and exploring who they are, their purpose and goals, and how they want to make a difference in the world.
The focus of CDSP is to recruit a cohort from among The Citadel’s top tier students who demonstrate the greatest ambition to take on the necessary advanced training, career mentoring and fellowship advising which we have identified as crucial to improving their chances of winning. Distinguished Scholars will complete the Program having applied for at least two prestigious scholarships and one prestigious graduate school, and even if they have not been selected will have gained immeasurably from the process.
The program seeks promising candidates in all disciplines, to include the sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences and mathematics, who we will make competitive to pursue scholarships and graduate study in the best programs in their fields against the best students in the world.
CDSP is supervised by the Provost. The program is run by a Director whose team includes four Assistant Directors and an Administrative Officer. The Program Committee is assisted by The Citadel Distinguished Scholars Program Advisory Board.
Up to ten Citadel freshmen are selected in January, each of whom appear to be competitive for top-tier graduate schools and prestigious scholarships as mentioned above. In total, four cohorts will be selected in this pilot program which is funded through 2024.
Upon selection, scholars are intensively mentored and tutored over the next three years by either the Director or one of the Assistant Directors to prepare for graduate admission to elite institutions and for scholarship applications in the spring of their junior and fall of their senior years.
In addition to having a dedicated mentor from the Program Committee, scholars meet with the Program Committee and the Program Advisory Board at least once each term, and are afforded one-on-one coaching from members of the Board. In addition, stipends will be provided for travel in the summers after sophomore and junior years to include study abroad, additional language classes, research opportunities, internships, extracurricular activities and service opportunities that develop initiative, experience and leadership.
The heart of the Program is the tutorials. Scholars take one three-credit tutorial a semester in their sophomore and junior years in each of four core areas of study: History, English, Political Science and Economics. The learning style mirrors the experience of students at Oxford, taught in one-on-one or small group sessions with lots of oral arguments and defense.
Sample Integrated Courses and Required Reading
- Tutorial in English and Leadership: Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger.
- Tutorial in History and Leadership: notional books: The Last Days of Socrates, The Life of St. Antony, The Life of St. Perpetua, The Song of Roland, Mill, On Liberty, and Shelley, Frankenstein
- Tutorial in Political Science and Leadership: Plato: The Republic, Aristotle: The Politics, and Locke: Second Treatise on Government
- Tutorial in Economics and Leadership: Friedman: Free to Choose; Sowell: Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide; Hayek: Road to Serfdom; Adam Smith: Wealth of Nations; and Marx: Das Kapital and other selected writings
Scholar Selection Process
Scholar candidates are identified by the Program Director with input from the four Assistant Directors and invited to submit a brief one-page application. The criteria for selection is based on SAT or ACT scores and GPAs in the first semester of their Freshman year as identified by the Registrar, or nominated by a Dean, department head or faculty member based on standout performance. The successful candidate will also demonstrate their interest in the Program, an innate curiosity, a high-energy level, verve, and potential during the important interview phase of the selection process with the program committee.