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Welcome to the Dean’s Scholars Honors Program. We hope that your experience in the program is as rewarding as it has been for the hundreds of Dean’s Scholars who have been participating since 1983.

This handbook has been prepared as an introduction to the program. You will learn about important people, activities, policies, dates…in fact, much more than you can remember so keep it close.

If you are similar to your predecessor Dean’s Scholars, you may find that this program is the most important facet of your university experience. The Scholars you meet may very likely be your friends for life – you may even meet a future spouse in the program. Through our network of contacts, you will also meet faculty and research supervisors who will be important mentors for you during your careers here at this university and beyond.

Lastly, please notice the wide range of activities the program has to offer: mentoring, sports, social events, lectures, etc... Without question performing well in your classes is of paramount importance. However, there is so much more to the university education than what happens in classes. You may look back later and say this was the most enriching period of your life—make up your mind now to get as much as you can from it.

David M. Hillis

Dean’s Scholars Program Director and Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor in Natural Sciences

Faculty Steering Committee

Dean's Scholars Faculty Steering Committee Members:

David Hillis, Dean's Scholars Faculty Director, Integrative Biology

Jeffrey Barrick, Molecular Biosciences

Mirela Ciperiani, Mathematics

Alan Cline, Computer Science

Arturo De Lozanne, Molecular Bioschiences

Norma Fowler, Environmental Science

Nancy Hazen-Swann, Human Development and Family Sciences

Graeme Henkelman, Chemistry

Arlen Johnson, Molecular Biosciences

Adam Kraus, Astronomy

Calvin Lin, Computer Science

Nancy Moran, Integrative Biology

Tim Perutz, Mathematics

James Scott, Statistics and Data Science

Greg Sitz, Physics

George Pollak, Neuroscience 

David Vanden Bout, Chemistry


Student Leadership

Griffin Glenn, Council Chair

Jimmy Ding

Mandy Justiz

Maike Morrison

Swetak Pradhan

Rachel Rapagnani

Ted Shi

Sofia Smith

Emily Strickland

Tiger You

Learn more about the council members here.

Admission Selection

The Dean’s Scholars program is highly selective, admitting forty-five to fifty freshmen each year, as well as a small number of upper-class students. Dean’s Scholars seek the intellectual challenge and stimulation of an interdisciplinary program emphasizing scientific research. Although Dean’s Scholars typically achieve high SAT scores and class ranking, admission is not based solely on these criteria. Factors in the admission decision are the student’s high school and/or college grades, class rank, the rigor of the courses the student has taken, the quality of the required application essays, a strong recommendation from a math or science instructor, and the student’s interest in math and/or scientific research as demonstrated by extracurricular activities. As Dean’s Scholars, students are oriented toward research and encouraged through their work to perceive the world as presenting questions that can be answered through experimentation.

Program Requirements

Dean’s Scholars is a four-year honors degree program for highly motivated and talented students with a demonstrated interest in math and/or scientific research. Students earn a Bachelor of Science Honors degree, available in most of the majors offered by the College of Natural Sciences.

To remain in good standing in Dean’s Scholars, students are expected to maintain at least a 3.50 grade point average. Students who do not may be dismissed from the program by the faculty director.



General information about thesis expectations can be found here. Forms and department-specific information can be found in the document here

Honor Code

The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.

The code above was created by University of Texas at Austin students, staff, and faculty and was adopted by the university in 2004.