Interdisciplinary Science Scholars Program
Haverford’s Interdisciplinary Science Scholars Program is an academic program of research and coursework initiated in 1988 with a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Scholars commit themselves to a program, which, while grounded in the experimental sciences and mathematics, explores interdisciplinary science and math outside of the major. HHMI Interdisciplinary Scholars participate in research at Haverford over the summer, and present their results at the intercollegiate Undergraduate Science Research Symposium in the fall.
The HHMI Interdisciplinary Scholars Program aims to introduce students to research early in their careers by providing summer research fellowships at Haverford, which provide close interaction between the student and a faculty mentor.
An HHMI Interdisciplinary Scholar might:
- devise mathematical models of DNA structure,
- study the three-dimensional structure and folding of proteins,
- explore the synthesis of organic compounds which exhibit immunosuppressive activity,
- employ laser tweezers to analyze model membrane systems,
- probe electron transfer in biomaterials using atomic force microscopy,
- study the psychophysiology of emotion and cognition, or
- investigate the cellular and molecular basis of immunological memory.
Students chosen as HHMI Interdisciplinary Scholars must make a significant commitment to broaden their course of study beyond the boundaries of their chosen Haverford major. In addition to the requirements of each major, every Interdisciplinary Scholar must complete the following courses:
- one credit of math. This could be any Mathematics course numbered 114 or higher, or other quantitative courses, such as Economics 203, Psychology 200, Chemistry 304 or Chemistry 305;
- a total of at least four semesters of computer science and/or laboratory-based experimental science courses in two departments;
- an advanced one-semester course that explores aspects of interdisciplinary science or math outside of the major; and
- two semesters of research with the faculty mentor.
For details, see the listings of Academic Requirements.
All HHMI Scholars will participate in the fall Undergraduate Science Research Symposium.
Most graduates of the HHMI Interdisciplinary Scholars program continue to work in the sciences. Over 40 percent of graduating HHMI Scholars enter medical school, 32 percent continue their scientific studies in graduate school, 13 percent enter MD-PhD programs, and others attend veterinary school, become laboratory research associates or pursue other careers.
Applying to the Program
Students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Computer Science, or Psychology at Haverford are eligible to apply. Criteria for selection as an HHMI Interdisciplinary Scholar include a genuine interest in interdisciplinary work, evidence of strong motivation, academic excellence and a commitment to research. Students apply during their freshman, sophomore or junior year, and 12-15 students will be accepted to the program each year. Applications are due in the beginning of the spring semester.