About Whittier Scholars Program


The Whittier Scholars Program (WSP) offers students an alternative curricular path for a liberal arts education at Whittier College. Students in the WSP are highly motivated, interested in learning, and independent.

They appreciate the opportunity to take responsibility for their own education and embrace the challenge that comes from thinking about their own goals and how their education can help them achieve those goals.

They delight in the life of the mind and the intellectual stimulation that comes from being a member of a community of scholars.

And they understand that education does not only take place in the classroom, but is very much part of life.

As an individualized liberal arts program, WSP students create their own major or minor or design their own course of study around a traditional major in collaboration with faculty advisors and peers. The WSP is not an honors program. Rather it is open to students who are highly motivated, self-directed, independent, fascinated by ideas, and willing to meet program expectations.

WSP students take a series of interdisciplinary seminars designed to pique intellectual curiosity by considering a range of fundamental questions, most of which have no easy answers. With the exception of the four required seminars, students complete the remainder of the credit requirements necessary for graduation by taking courses across the curriculum. In this way, they enjoy a shared experience with other students in the Program, but are also part of the broader campus community. The culmination of the WSP is a Senior Project, which is designed, presented, and defended by all students in close collaboration with faculty sponsors.

Created in 1977, the WSP traditionally attracts high achieving and independent students. Currently, about 12 percent of Whittier students are members of the Program.

Through the processes of reading, writing, and discussion, students in the WSP gain a better understanding of themselves and of the world around them. WSP graduates are self-aware, intellectually confident students who can see an academic and intellectual endeavor through to its completion.

WSP Educational Outcomes

  • Whittier Scholars students learn to explore difficult questions and accept that answers are not always easy, nor what they expect
  • Whittier Scholars students are members of a community of learners in which they share their ideas with fellows students, faculty members, and visiting scholars
  • Whittier Scholars students have considered what it means to be an “educated person” and design their own educational program so they can achieve this goal.