Take Five Scholars Program

The Take Five Scholars Program provides students with opportunities to explore additional disciplines and courses that might not otherwise be available to them. Accepted students are granted one or two tuition-free semesters to take courses in addition to those needed to complete their degrees.


Students can apply from the time they have been accepted into a major through the first semester of their senior year. Transfer students must have completed one full semester at the University before applying. (Second-semester seniors are ineligible to apply unless they are re-applicants who have been invited to re-apply.)

Each applicant needs to arrange for two full-time faculty members to send letters of recommendation to the Take Five Review Board on his or her behalf.

Applications will be judged on:

  • The coherence of the applicant’s program of study:
    • How do the courses the applicant proposes fit together? 
    • How will those courses allow the applicant to achieve his or her educational goals?
  • The intellectual breadth of the proposal and how it enhances the applicant’s current academic program
  • The quality of the writing

See the Take Five Scholars Program page for deadlines.


Students in the College are encouraged to discuss their Take Five proposals with their faculty advisors and the Take Five advisor in the Center for Advising Services (CCAS) as they prepare their applications. Students should also consult the appropriate departmental administrators to be sure that the courses they want to take will be offered, and that they are appropriately prepared for these courses.

A special review process exists for all proposed courses taught outside Arts, Sciences, and Engineering and the Eastman School of Music; such courses are normally not approved. Undergraduate courses taught at the Simon School are acceptable, however.

The proposed program must:

  • Further the student’s general education
  • Spread the Take Five courses throughout the student’s third, fourth, and fifth years at the University, and not be taken in a single semester during or after completion of degree requirements (this will typically delay completion of degree requirements)
  • Consist of Take Five courses that relate to one another and are beyond the introductory level whenever possible

In addition to the requirements above, proposed program cannot be used to obtain an additional major, or degree, or fulfill any of the Rochester Curriculum requirements.

Study abroad programs must be completed by the end of the fourth year. Take Five Scholars are expected to spend the fifth year enrolled in courses at the University.

Credit earned during the tuition-free semester(s) cannot be applied toward the 128-credit hour degree requirement.


Fifth-year students are unlikely to be eligible for undergraduate housing, although they can serve as residential advisors. The off-campus living program will guide students through the process of obtaining off-campus housing, if necessary.

Additional Information

Students should also be aware of the following:

  • Degrees are awarded and diplomas are issued after the completion of the Take Five semester or year, and only after all Take Five courses are successfully completed
  • Grades for courses taken in the fifth year will be included in the GPA, and the final GPA (at the end of the fifth year) will be used to calculate Latin Honors
  • Take Five courses cannot be audited or used to repeat previous coursework, but one course per semester may be taken on the S/F option

Additional details about commencement, yearbooks, etc., are available in the Take Five Scholars Program Acceptance Manual given to each student after being accepted into the Take Five Scholars Program. See the Take Five page for more information.