Each fall, the top 100 students entering the Colleges of Science and Arts & Letters at the University of Notre Dame are welcomed into the Glynn Family Honors Program – a stimulating intellectual and social community that is unique among top-tier universities. The Glynn Family Honors Program embodies a commitment to elite education that no other premier research university has made.

One of the hallmarks of a Notre Dame education is the faculty’s dedication to ensuring that students leave the university not only with expertise in their majors, but also with a rigorous grounding in mathematics and science and a readiness to engage the deep and perennial questions broached by the humanities and the social sciences. Students chosen for the Glynn Family Honors Program acquire this broad education in classes that have been designed especially for them and that are taken only by members of the Glynn community. 

The humanities courses in the Program are small seminars that place heavy emphasis on reading, discussion, and writing. Seminar discussions range cover questions from free will and responsibility, the demands of justice, and the nature of time to the role of fate in Greek literature and the place of narrative in modern fiction. “Quarks to Quasars," one of the science courses developed for Arts & Letters students in the Glynn Program, covers the physics of the very small, the very large, and everything in between. Students in the Program also choose from innovative but demanding courses in calculus that bring the subject to life and reveal its underlying beauty. Most of these courses are taken in the first year, so that students are ready to immerse themselves in their majors by the start of their sophomore year. All instructors in the Glynn Program are full-time faculty who are among the University’s best researchers and classroom teachers.   

Another benefit of belonging to the Glynn Family Honors Program is the availability of generous summer research funds. In recent years, Glynn students have used the opportunities opened by such funding to study Palestinian and Israeli hip-hop on site; participate in archival research in Lima, Peru; examine doctor-patient relationships in Cuzco; study nuclear physics at a laboratory in France; interview leading scholars working on international justice; and observe patients’ coping strategies at one of the nation’s leading cancer centers. Quite often, funded summer work feeds into the Glynn scholar’s two-semester senior thesis project. Senior projects generally present the results of research students have done under faculty guidance, often results of considerable intellectual sophistication.  Recent projects have also included concert performances, a novel, and a full-length musical that candidly examined millennial angst. 

Membership in the Glynn community also offers extra-curricular activities such as the annual trip to Stratford, Ontario, for a weekend of dramatic performances and a weekend trip of fun and high culture in Chicago. The community has its own centrally located space, the Arcadia Lounge, overlooking the University’s longest quadrangle, where students gather over daily coffee and snacks for work, study, and free-style conversation.


Glynn Family Honors Program Directors,


Christopher Kolda

Margaret Merserve Headshot


Margaret Merserve