The 2016 application period for the Tisch Scholars program is now closed. Please email Sara Allred, Scholars Program Administrator, with any questions, and join the Tisch College contact list to receive updates about future opportunities.


The Tisch Scholars is a unique leadership development program that combines academic coursework, fieldwork in local communities, skill-building, and critical reflection. Scholars acquire the values, knowledge, and skills they need to address pressing social issues and effect meaningful change while building a supportive community to strengthen civic engagement at Tufts University and beyond.

Current first-years, sophomores, and juniors are welcome to apply. Students apply for the program in early 2016, and accepted Scholars participate in a May retreat. Beginning in the Fall term, first-year Scholars take a yearlong Fieldwork Seminar while engaging in a community service or research project with a local partner organization. (Read about current Tisch Scholar projects.) As they advance through the program in subsequent years, continuing Scholars strengthen their leadership skills and build capacity in local communities and on campus by taking on projects of greater complexity and responsibility. Third-year Scholars will develop a culminating capstone project.

Changes to the Tisch Scholars Program

The program structure outlined above represents a change from previous years. It is the product of a multiyear program evaluation process that involved input from various stakeholders, including current and former scholars, Tisch College staff, Tufts faculty, and community partners. We are excited to open up the Tisch Scholars program to more students across the University; to offer a new, year-long foundational course as well as academic credit for community work; and to increase the diversity of our community placements. We are confident these and other changes will strengthen the Tisch Scholars program, improve the learning and development of our students, and amplify their impact on local communities.

Please see below for a more detailed description of program components, and email Sara Allred, Scholars Program Administrator, with any questions.

Becoming a Tisch Scholar

The 2016 application period for the Tisch Scholars program is now closed. Please email Sara Allred, Scholars Program Administrator, with any questions, and join the Tisch College contact list to receive updates about future opportunities.

Interested students may apply to join the Tisch Scholars program by filling out a short application. Current first-years, sophomores, and juniors who will be on campus all of next year are eligible to apply. Students must be available to attend an orientation retreat during Senior Week in May 2016.

Tisch College staff will review applications and schedule interviews with selected candidates. Final decisions will be made in March, and accepted Scholars are expected to attend a retreat during Senior Week in May.

Program Elements

Fieldwork Seminar

In their first year of participation in the program—regardless of at what point in their academic career they joined—Tisch Scholars engage in a full-year experience that combines a practicum in a community site and rigorous academic coursework.

In the Fall, Scholars will perform 8 hours per week of fieldwork and take a full-length, for-credit course. The course will provide students with a framework to critically analyze the root causes of social issues, and will allow Scholars to develop skills to take action for positive social change in community settings.

In the Spring, Scholars will receive perform 8 hours per week of fieldwork and take a for-credit an academic seminar. The seminar will allow students to critically reflect on the service-learning work they are engaged in at their partner sites, and share ideas on how to address social issues in the community.

Community Placements

In their second and/or third year of participation in the program, Scholars may continue at the same community partner site, taking on a greater degree of responsibility, or elect to work with a new partner. Scholars who choose to study abroad will have the option to work with Tisch College staff to develop a community project that allows them to remain engaged with the Scholars program during their time away from campus.

Reflection Exchanges and Retreats

Before their first year in the program, newly selected scholars will participate in a Spring retreat (during Senior Week) to give them a clear vision of what the program entails and how they can support each other as they engage in service-learning work. After the first year, returning Scholars will meet four times each semester to engage in dialogue about their work in community sites. Students will meet in small groups comprised of second- and third-year Scholars to reflect on their work. Additionally, each Fall, all Scholars will be required to attend a retreat to build community and welcome the new cohort of Scholars.

Skill-Building Workshops and Social Events

All Scholars will be required to attend two skill-building workshops and two social events each semester. Focused on areas such as community organizing, public speaking, resume-building, networking, and political engagement, the workshops will give Scholars tools to succeed at Tufts, in their community work, and in their future careers. Social events will help build a strong, cohesive, and supportive Scholar community. Returning scholars will play an integral role in designing and implementing these workshops and events.

Capstone Project

Students in their third and final year* of the Tisch Scholars program will develop a Capstone project that will be showcased at a public event in the Spring. The Capstone can be developed in collaboration with a community partner or developed as thesis research with a faculty advisor, and students will receive course credit for their work on this project.

*While students can apply to be a Tisch Scholar n their first year, sophomore year, or junior year, the Scholars program is designed to have the strongest impact on students who participate for the full three years.

For more information

If you have any questions, contact Sara Allred, Scholars Program Administrator, at

You may also want to explore the links below to read about past Scholar Projects:

2014-2015 Scholars’ projects2013-2014 Scholars’ projects — 2012-2013 Scholars’ projects — 2011-2012 Scholars’ projects — 2010-2011 Scholars’ projects — 2009-2010 Scholars’ projects — 2008-2009 Scholars’ projects — 2007-2008 Scholars’ projects