n. A person of broad and varied learning.
[Greek polumathēs : polu-, poly- + manthanein, math-, to learn]
Polymathic Scholars are undergraduates committed to the sciences who have passionate interests beyond any single science. That describes many students in the College of Natural Sciences. What distinguishes capital-P Polymaths is the ability to augment their science degrees by designing fields of study that tap one or more of those additional interests.
Our students are as varied as their passions: about half will pursue careers in the health professions, roughly a quarter will pursue postgraduate research in the sciences, and most of the rest will go into law, business, or education. The program's mission is to foster these students' curiosity by helping them integrate their diverse interests into an academic degree plan that's rigorous and personally rewarding.
Those interests might be public policy questions that concern scientists, or they might have nothing to do with science. What they have in common are interesting questions—questions that require expertise from different branches of knowledge, interdisciplinary questions. And a major research university like UT-Austin is the ideal setting for answering them.
In their second year, Polymaths determine their questions, identify the courses and faculty relevant to answering them, propose a field of study, and, in their final year, submit a research thesis for publication. Their work is formally recognized by the Evidence and Inquiry certificate.