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Thomas Jefferson Scholars

A dual-degree program for highly-motivated students.

The Thomas Jefferson Scholars program is the highly-competitive, dual-degree program of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Thomas Jefferson Scholars enter either CALS or Humanities and Social Sciences, and before their second year of study, they declare a second major. Successful Thomas Jefferson Scholars Program graduates receive a bachelor’s degree from each college.

Making Friends and Memories

Peyton and Alisa
Juniors Peyton G. (horticulture and communications) and Alisa A. (agricultural sciences and science, technology and society) hit the rock wall and went kayaking at Jefferson’s fall retreat.

“The fall retreat is one of my favorite parts of the Jefferson program because it’s an opportunity to go from being students with a dual degree in common to actual friends,” said junior Peyton G., who is double majoring in horticulture (CALS) and communications (CHASS).

“This year’s retreat was even more special because it felt like we were getting to make up for lost time after a year of all virtual activities. …having friends who are driven and ambitious in the same way as you is priceless, and this year’s fall retreat gave us time to build those relationships!”

Senior Selma O. (dual degree in Biochemistry and Spanish) checks her crabbing line at the Jefferson Scholars annual fall retreat, held this year at the 4-H Center in Columbia, NC.
Senior Selma O. (biochemistry and Spanish) checks her crabbing line at the Jefferson Scholars annual fall retreat, held this year at the 4-H Center in Columbia, NC.

Alisa Andrews Makes an Impact in the Local Community

Thomas Jefferson Scholar Alisa Andrews explores how she can serve the community through her passion for sustainability and creative problem solving to address climate change and food insecurity.

Alisa Andrews visits Bodie lighthouse on the Thomas Jefferson Scholars retreat.

Who We Are

Approximately 10-15 outstanding high school seniors are selected to become Thomas Jefferson Scholars each year. The program is highly competitive, and qualified NC State applicants will be invited to apply once admitted.


  • Biweekly meetings with activities and occassional guest speakers
  • Travel as a group, with a fall trip over a long weekend
  • Service projects in the Raleigh community
  • An international trip for rising seniors

If you have questions about the Thomas Jefferson Scholars program please contact one of the program administrators.

Two students pose with a cow skull.

Academic Programming

Jefferson Scholars enroll in a dual-degree program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, earning a bachelor’s degree from each college. All CALS and Humanities and Social Sciences majors are available, and each student’s choice of majors is tailored to their interests and career goals.

The program offers a special curriculum that coordinates with NC State’s general education in language, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Faculty mentors help with planning the curriculum for timely graduation.

Being a Jefferson Scholar doesn’t mean you need to restrict your options. Many Scholars participate in other enrichment programs at NC State including the living and learning villages, University Scholars, University Honors Program, the Caldwell Fellows, and the Park Scholars.

Program Details

ALS 295 (LEAD: Leadership Excellence and Development in an Interdisciplinary World) is a new first-year course. We will explore what it means to be a Thomas Jefferson Scholar and the characteristics, skills, and practices of effective leaders. Dr. Chad Jordan and Dr. William Kimler will guide discussions of current problems at the intersection of agriculture, life science and society.

We offer small, special courses that satisfy general education degree requirements. These are available only for Jefferson Scholars.

  • ANT 252 (Cultural Anthropology) – Alison Greene’s course for sophomores is offered in spring semester. The course satisfies a general education requirement in the social sciences.
  • HI 481-Honors (History of the Life Sciences) – William Kilmer’s course for juniors is offered in the spring semester. The course satisfies the interdisciplinary perspectives requirement in general education, and as an honors section also fulfills requirements for University Scholars or University Honors programs.

A senior capstone experience is available through a supervised independent study course and coordinated with the faculty advisors. Each student’s research paper explores the scientific and humanistic perspectives on a question of interest to the student. Jefferson Scholars complete the course by presenting their papers at a symposium.

In addition to special classes and the double-major, the program encourages students to build close connections with faculty and a supportive group of their student peers.

Program Administration

Kim Allen

Professor and Extension Specialist