Carnegie Mellon University

Honors and Pre-professional Programs: Exploring and Excelling

Dietrich College provides a springboard to launch your career through honors and pre-professional programs.

Honors Programs by Discipline

Quantitative Social Science Scholars Program

The Quantitative Social Science Scholars Program (QSSS) extends undergraduates an opportunity to apply measurable, objective means to study human behavior and use their findings to impact society as entrepreneurs, policymakers or social scientists. You may apply for this three-year interdisciplinary program during your first year at Dietrich College.

Kay NamKay Nam, class of 2024
Departments: Statistics & Data Science

I am passionate about utilizing data in making the society a place where anyone can reach their full potential in any discipline. The QSSS program was a perfect match for me. As a person who naturally gravitates towards quantitative methods to solve problems, the integration of quantitative methods and social science was the skill set that I was hoping to develop in my undergraduate career. In the program, I was able to learn so much from talented peers from diverse social science disciplines. I also learned how to be an independent researcher. Not only that, since we had a really small cohort, the advice that we received from our program director, Professor Mark Patterson, was very personalized and specific to individual progress.

My QSSS project is in the field of Social Psychology, where I am investigating how the motivation and authorship of diversity statements in course syllabi impacts students’ perceived respect from faculty members. I feel so much joy to have had the opportunity to conduct my own research project from start to finish. It is also very rewarding to know that I have contributed to the literature with results that can better student experiences in higher education.

Learn more about the Quantitative Social Sciences Scholars Program

Humanities Scholars Program

The Humanities Scholars Program (HSP) is a three-year, interdisciplinary program which exemplifies the unique approach CMU takes towards the humanities: interdisciplinary research in a technology-rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance towards the arts and sciences and a desire to ask the fundamental questions about humankind. 

Tandri EinarssonTandri Einarsson, class of 2024
Departments: Philosophy and History

Through the Humanities Scholars Program I was able to dive into various research areas in the humanities that I had a personal interest in such as the historiography of government regulation regarding trade, the social history of disability in Iceland, and the property rights which undergird our system of mineral rights. The program gave me the foundational skills of research in the humanities, and the practice to know how to use them.

During the first two years, during which we met weekly as a cohort, I learned to hone my writing skills, analyze disparate sources to argue a particular viewpoint, and discuss complex issues with my fantastic peers. The program was also incredibly generous in providing me with funding to go to Iceland to complete a project on the social history of disability and put me in contact with a local professor who guided me through my summer research.

I was also encouraged to reach out to professors in different CMU departments due to the HSP's focus on being truly interdisciplinary. This culminated in my capstone history project, which would use scholars from law, economics, political science and social history to create an introductory reader to the history of scholarship surrounding the interstate commerce commission and the Hepburn act in its attempt to regulate railroads and Wall Street. Engaging with such a wide array of highly accomplished scholars during my undergraduate career was such an enriching experience that would not have been possible without the support of the HSP.

Learn more about the Humanities Scholars Program

Honors Programs for Seniors

Senior Honors Fellowship Program

The Senior Honors Program provides students with an opportunity to design and complete a year-long scholarly or creative project with the guidance of a faculty member. You may apply for this program in the spring of your junior year.

Cheryl ZhangCheryl Zhang, class of 2024
Departments: Humanities and Arts, Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics

I studied abroad in Paris in fall 2022, and from the very beginning I fell in love with the city. Our professor, Christelle Taraud, took us to different neighborhoods, and each visit was eye-opening in a different way. In my few months living in Paris, I tried to explore as much as I could, both physically and intellectually. I loved walking around the city, getting a little lost and seeing what I found, or simply sitting and people-watching. By the end of my semester, I had learned so much vocabulary, so many new expressions, and I had also gained a deeper understanding of French culture and the city of Paris.

My project, 'Paris Mosaique,' examines disparate diasporic communities together and portrays the way they collectively make up the mosaic of the city with an interactive map interface that is itself a 'mosaic' of mediums, including videos, written material, music and interactive elements. With this project, I want to depict Paris without the romanticism that is so prevalent in popular culture, so that people can start to understand how race is, or isn’t, discussed in France and how the histories of these different communities have shaped Paris as we know it today.

Learn more about the Senior Honors Fellowship Program

Senior Honors Program

The Senior Honors Fellowship Program awards funding to rising seniors so you can start your year-long scholarly or creative project during the summer. You may apply for this program in the spring of your junior year.

Marissa PekularMarissa Pekular, class of 2024
Department: CMIST

I brought my passion for women's health and birth justice to my senior thesis, 'An Analysis of Maternal Health Outcomes Post-Dobbs (2022): Exploring the Social and Political History Behind the Crisis.' Through this research project, I investigate the nation's worsening maternal mortality rate while exploring its connections to the past, analyzing how medical sexism, institutional racism and judicial politics have collectively shaped the maternal health crisis that we experience today.

I am incredibly impassioned by birth justice and health equity, and I hope to dedicate my career to advancing these causes. Working on this thesis has not only allowed me to gain a wealth of knowledge about this subject but it has also allowed me to gain awareness about the politics that control my everyday life. My thesis advisor, Professor Geoffrey McGovern, and Professor Lisa Tetrault have continually taught, encouraged, and guided me throughout the project.

Learn more about the senior honors program

Pre-professional Programs

Health Professions Program

The Health Professions Program (HPP) offers a resource for the exploration of and preparation for careers in health professions ranging from human medicine to veterinary science to biomedical research.

Sydney BarlowSydney Barlow, class of 2023
Degrees: B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology

As a new freshman navigating my career path, I was drawn towards the HPP program for its comprehensive exposure to diverse healthcare careers. Through participating in the HPP program, I engaged in different summer health programs, completed an MCAT prep course, explored various health professions and learned about the medical school application cycle, all of which prepared me for a future career in medicine.

Learn more about the Health Professions Program and related mentoring opportunities

Pre-Law Program

The Pre-Law Program provides students and alumni who are considering applying to law school with advising and access to resources such as the Thomas M. Kerr, Jr. Student Pre-Law Society; networking and mentorship opportunities; and lectures and courses on legal topics.

Lee WangLee Wang, class of 2024
Majors: History and Business Administration

I was first drawn to the Pre-Law Program at CMU because I understood that it would help me explore my interests in corporate and medical law, gain access to valuable opportunities and resources, including knowledgeable faculty and alumni with legal backgrounds, and define a path that would yield me the most success in the law school application process. I have not only accomplished these goals, but I have also been able to successfully build the CMU Pre-Law Society from the ground up, allowing students to now reap the benefits of pre-law partnerships between CMU, the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, formal mentor-mentee programs, student programs formed with legal aid organizations within Pittsburgh, and a strong network of alumni who are seeking to help out. And most importantly, I have gained an amazing mentor, Jay Devine, our Pre-Law Program advisor, who has supported and continues to support me during my time at CMU as an undergraduate student.

Learn more about the Pre-Law Program