By vote of the Board of Trustees, each year there is selected from the junior class a group of students (usually no more than ten, but in exceptional circumstances a maximum of twelve) to be Senior Fellows during the following year. The Senior Fellows are chosen from among students of such intellectual caliber, independence of character, and imaginative curiosity that they have become interested in some personal project of study that will contribute to their own intellectual growth. Every Senior Fellowship must involve a project in which the intellectual scope and breadth of imagination goes beyond that which can be accomplished by taking courses offered in the existing curriculum. These students are permitted all the freedom they are capable of using profitably within the framework of the undergraduate college. The Senior Fellowships constitute recognition of the existence within the College of the kind of responsible individualism that must ever be a part of education in a free, democratic society, and provide exceptional opportunity for self-education for those who are best able to use it.
Selection of the Fellows is made by the President on the recommendation of the Faculty Committee on Senior Fellowships consisting of a representative of the Dean of the College, the Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Undergraduate Research, and two members from each of the three Divisions of the Faculty. The regulations governing the selection of these Fellows are as follows:
- Regulations Concerning the Application to a Senior Fellowship: Members of the junior class may become candidates for Senior Fellowships by individual application. Students applying for Senior Fellowships must have a minimum College grade point average of 3.0 at the time of application. The Committee on Instruction is empowered to make small downward adjustments of this requirement when the Committee on Senior Fellowships strongly supports the application of a candidate who does not quite qualify.
In the planning and execution of this program a Fellow shall be responsible to some member of the Faculty who shall act as adviser. No member of the Faculty will be expected to act as principal adviser for more than one Senior Fellow during an academic year. In the exceptional case where two or more students collaborate on a senior fellowship, each student must have a separate principal adviser. If the principal adviser is not a tenure-track member of the Dartmouth faculty, one of the secondary advisers must meet that criterion. The Committee on Senior Fellowships shall exercise general supervision over all programs.
Each candidate must file an application with the Office of Undergraduate Advising & Research not later than the end of the third week of the term, two terms before the Senior Fellowship is to begin. Included in the application shall be an application form, itemized budget, official transcript, and a detailed description of the project: what the candidate proposes to do, the reasons for doing it, and plans for achieving the goals. The applicant’s potential adviser shall submit to the Committee on Senior Fellowships, in support of the candidate’s application, a comprehensive written statement in which the merit and feasibility of the project, the qualifications of the applicant, and the commitment of the adviser are fully discussed. In addition, two other faculty members must submit recommendation letters for the candidate.
The Committee on Senior Fellowships will review all applications and select candidates to advance to the interview phase. Selected candidates and their potential advisers will be required to attend an interview with the Senior Fellowship Committee. If the candidate will be off-campus in the term during which the application is filed, he or she must notify the Office of Undergraduate Advising & Research at the time of the application so that plans can be made for alternative interview formats. Applicants must plan ahead and discuss their projects with their prospective adviser and the Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Undergraduate Research before the term during which their application will be submitted.
- Requirements for Senior Fellows: The Fellowship year comprises three terms of registered enrollment, at least one of which must be spent primarily in residence. Fellows are enrolled for two Senior Fellow courses in each term of the Fellowship. The courses are graded on a Credit/No Credit basis. Supervised independent research away from campus will count as an R-term. All Fellows must have their schedules approved by the Senior Fellowship Committee.
Senior Fellows are required to complete a total of thirty-five course credits before the end of their Fellowship year. Fellows must complete all distributive and related requirements by the end of the second term of the Fellowship. During the Fellowship year, Fellows shall take such courses as the Committee on Senior Fellowships may prescribe.
Fellows shall not be required to complete a major, but may do so if they so desire; they do not receive any reduction in the requirements for a major. No part of the Senior Fellowship work may be submitted for departmental major honors. Students who plan to finish a major in addition to the Senior Fellowship should be aware that they must complete all of their major department’s requirements, including a culminating experience if required. The Senior Fellowship does not fulfill the culminating experience requirement for a major.
The Fellowship appointment is provisional for one term. Continuation for the remaining two terms requires the Committee on Senior Fellowship’s approval of a Fellow’s accomplishments and rate of progress during the first term. In making its determination, the Committee on Senior Fellowships shall evaluate a written report from the student, a detailed analysis and recommendation of the principal adviser, and such additional information as may be required. Senior Fellows should have a plan to complete a major in time for graduation in the event that the Fellowship is discontinued at the end of the first term.
- Completion of a Senior Fellowship
Senior Fellowship projects are evaluated by three or more examiners. Except in special circumstances, at least one of the members is expected to be from outside the College. At the end of the first term of the Senior Fellowship, the candidate’s primary adviser will recommend two or more examiners, in addition to the primary adviser, to serve on the candidate’s Examining Committee. The Committee on Senior Fellowships must approve the list of examiners. The membership of the Examining Committee may change during the course of the Fellow’s tenure but any change must be approved by the Committee on Senior Fellowships.
The Examining Committee for each Senior Fellow will make a recommendation to the Committee on Senior Fellowships as to whether the Senior Fellow has completed the Fellowship and whether a completed Fellowship should be awarded Honors or High Honors. The Committee on Senior Fellowships will determine the final standing for each Senior Fellow based on the recommendations of all members of the Examining Committees and will notify the Registrar of these final standings. This standing shall become part of the Fellow’s permanent record.
The Fellow must submit a draft of the project to the primary adviser by the end of the third week of the final term of the fellowship. The student’s final Senior Fellowship project must be completed and submitted to the Examining Committee three weeks before the beginning of the final examination period in the third term of the fellowship. Each Fellow must make an oral presentation to the Examining Committee within two weeks of submitting the final project. In addition, each Fellow must present the final project to the Dartmouth community in a public forum prior to the beginning of the final examination period in the third term of the fellowship.
Senior Fellows who do not meet these deadlines are not eligible for Honors or High Honors. In addition, the Committee on Senior Fellowships may declare failing a Senior Fellow whose work has not been of satisfactory quality. If this occurs, the Senior Fellow will not receive credit for the two Senior Fellowship classes in the third term of the Fellowship. The Committee shall in such cases specify the requirements to be fulfilled before the degree is granted.
- Tuition Reduction for Senior Fellows: All Senior Fellows are entitled to attend their final term at Dartmouth College tuition-free. Since this provision may have differing effects on individual students, a Senior Fellow has two options:
- Tuition remission for the final term (for students receiving financial aid, this will mean a reduction in the self-help package for the entire year); or
- A graduate fellowship equal to one term’s tuition. (The amount of the fellowship is based on the tuition in the year in which the student completed the fellowship.)
Senior Fellows who are receiving financial aid should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss these two options before making a decision. Senior Fellows who are not receiving financial aid should contact Student Financial Services.