CNS Honors Center

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College Honors Programs

CNS's college honors programs allow students to take full advantage of the richness and resources of one of the largest and most productive science colleges in the world. Each program is designed to foster faculty-student collaboration and to promote exploration of academic, cultural, and social interests. Students can apply to one of three cohorts:

In addition to their regular coursework, freshmen take a two-semester seminar taught by their program's faculty director. Most semesters thereafter, students join with those in the other two programs in small, learning-for-learning's-sake weekly seminars on a wide range of topics. Recent subjects include science in literature, medical quackery, humans as ecosystem engineers, and the history of the banjo (which included the loan of 15 banjos, one for each student).

In CNS, honors opportunities are also available through departmental programs and academic distinctions. If you are a student, visit our "Frequently Asked Questions" page to learn more about those opportunities. If you are a prospective donor who would like to support CNS Honors students, please visit our giving page.

The CNS Honors Center

The CNS Honors Center was created in 2013 to support the educational aspirations of some of the country’s most promising science students at one of the world’s leading research universities. The Center’s mission is to expand the College’s capacity to recruit extraordinary students—and foster extraordinary student achievements—through a diverse portfolio of world-class honors programs. Dean’s Scholars (DS), Health Science Scholars (HSS), and Polymathic Scholars (PS) have been designed to appeal to students with different aptitudes and goals. Each, however, gives talented and motivated students unprecedented access to rigorous courses, authentic research opportunities, outstanding faculty, innovative degree plans, dedicated advising, and community-building event programming. The programs are designed to increase individual student attention and promote exploration of academic, cultural, and social interests through small intellectual communities of scholars. Collectively DS, HSS, and PS serve about 600 students.


Sara Corson | Director Sara oversees the CNS Honors Center in its day-to-day operations including honors student programming and curriculum, honors program admissions and recruitment, faculty involvement and mentorship, and alumni support. She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia.

Mark Hemenway | Academic Advisor - Dean's Scholars and Health Sciences Scholars Mark enjoys having the opportunity to work with honors students from Orientation through graduation and is a good place to start with any questions related to UT. Mark is a recent recipient of the James W. Vick Award for academic advising.

Maria "Leni" Salazar | Administrative Associate Leni is an administrative professional with eight years of experience at UT Austin. She assists the director of CNS Honors Center with student special event coordination, budget management and day-to-day operations.

Rebecca Wilcox | Thesis Instruction Rebecca teaches the Capstone thesis seminars and preparatory thesis workshops for Polymathic Scholars and Health Science Scholars. She also assists with recruitment and administration for DS, HSS, and PS. Previously, she coordinated UT-Austin’s Office of Undergraduate Research and taught English and writing at West Texas A&M University. She holds a Ph.D. in English from UT-Austin.

Cortni Williams | Polymathic Scholars Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor Cortni advises Polymathic Scholars, teaches Field Invention, a small writing-intensive seminar which in with Polymaths develop their interdisciplinary field of study, and co-teaches Polymath First Year Seminar with the program director.