Faculty Scholars Program

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof.Duncan Ivison with students

What is the Faculty Scholars Program?

The Faculty Scholars Program is a new initiative designed to recognize the most outstanding students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and provide them with the opportunity to undertake three advanced units available exclusively to those enrolled in the program.

The seminars will take place over three consecutive semesters, beginning in Semester 1 of second year. The first two units will centre on the reading of important and influential texts across a range of concerns explored in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Faculty Scholars will study these texts – drawn from a wide range of cultures and time periods – and meet once a week for intensive discussions with their cohort and leading academics.

The readings and discussions from the first two units will help Faculty Scholars to shape individual research projects which will be the basis of the Program’s final unit in Semester 1 of third year in which Scholars will work one-on-one with an academic.


  • To provide an opportunity to study and discuss major books from different time periods and cultures that address enduring human questions
  • To provide intensive small-group teaching with an expert on a topic that they are passionate about
  • To broaden students’ exposure to the wide variety of types of inquiry in the humanities and social sciences
  • To enable students to grow as scholars and pursue their own research interests working one-on-one with mentors from academic staff across the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Upon the successful completion of their degree, those who have completed the Faculty Scholars Program will be listed as Faculty Scholars on their official transcript and testamur.


The program is based on prestigious programs at Chicago and Yale, but with a Sydney twist. Twenty-five students per year will be invited to become Faculty Scholars in their second year, based on their results in first year. There is no application process for the Faculty Scholars Program as the Faculty will choose the cohort from students who meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolment in any degree administered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • An average of 80% across all units of study in their first year, with a High Distinction (85% or above) in at least two Table A units of study
  • Required number of electives available in their degree
  • All students who meet these criteria will be put forward for consideration. Twenty-five students will be invited to enrol in the program, selected on the basis of average annual mark and allowing for a balanced representation of disciplines in the Faculty Scholars cohort.

In order to remain in the program, Faculty Scholars will be obliged to maintain an 80% average. Students who do not maintain the minimum standard will be permitted to exit the program with credit for the units of study completed but will not be listed as Faculty Scholars on their final transcript and testamur.

The curriculum for the Faculty Scholars program will consist of two second year units, Ideas and Movements and Great Books, and the third year unit Research Project. Ideas and Movements will look at topics such as war, feminism, radicalism, nationalism, indigenous politics, alienation, and power. Great Books will examine great books from the classical to the contemporary age.

The best way for students to give themselves a chance of being selected for this exciting new program will be to receive High Distinctions for as many of their first year units as possible.

For more information about the program, contact the Director of the Program, .

Faculty Scholars Units of Study

Unit of Study Code Unit of Study Name Description
FASS2001 Transformative texts 1 Students in the Faculty Scholars Program extend themselves through intensive reading and searching discussion of challenging texts. Weekly lectures introduce the texts and set them in context. Students then explore the texts in depth in weekly seminars. The texts covered in this unit, the first that Faculty Scholars enrol in, are classics of literature and thought from a range of cultures and time periods. Critical engagement with these texts provides a foundation for subsequent units' exploration of more specialised topics.
FASS2002 Transformative texts 2 The texts covered in this unit, which builds on Transformative Texts 1, are foundational works from a variety of fields studied in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This work helps prepare students for the challenge of formulating and conducting an original research project in their final year program.
FASS3001 Directed Study This unit complements and extends the broad and challenging reading in Transformative texts 1 & 2 by enabling students in the Faculty Scholars Program to pursue independent reading and research. Students work under the guidance of an academic supervisor and participate in regular seminars led by the program's director. The form of the written or other work produced in the course of the semester will vary according to the disciplines concerned and the students' own ideas.