The Schreyer Honors College (or simply Schreyers or SHC) is a highly regarded honors program in the Pennsylvania State University. Founded in 1980 as the University Scholars Program, it was expanded and renamed in 1997 in response to a $30 million gift by William and Joan Schreyer. Reader's Digest named Schreyers one of America's "top 100 innovations" in 2005, and in 2008, granted the college the designation of "Best Honors College" in America. The current Dean is Christian M. M. Brady. On November 17, 2006, the Schreyers pledged an additional gift of $25 million to the Schreyer Honors College. Having contributed more than $58 million to Penn State, they are the largest family donors in the school's history.
Enrollment in the Schreyer Honors College is limited to a total of 1800 students, and requirements for freshman entrance include strong SAT scores, excellent high school grades, several essays, strong extracurricular activities, and teacher references. Admission is also granted to students with second- or third-year standing and a strong cumulative GPA
An SAT score of 1400 (on just the math and verbal sections) is highly recommended to apply to the program, although incoming freshman statistics are even higher. The average SAT
score of the incoming class of 2007 was 1475 (verbal + math) and an average high school GPA of 4.00 and between 3.95–4.33. The middle 50% of SAT scores ranged from 1380–1480. Their ACT mid 50% is 31-33 composite score.
As of 2008, newly admitted freshmen scholars must attain a semester GPA of 3.33, or face probation. Failing to reach this requirement for two consecutive semesters results in dismissal from the program. Honors students are also required to take nine credits of honors classes in each of their first two years (beginning with the class of 2009), and then must take 14 credits of honors courses during their remaining time in the university. In addition, a thesis
is required of all seniors as a culmination activity before graduation.
Membership in the SHC has unique benefits. As of 2006, all freshman admitted into the program receive scholarships of $3500 each of their first four years in college, an increase from the $2500 scholarships given to students admitted in previous years.
Most underclassmen Scholars live in a "Living and Learning Community" honors dormitories
, including both Atherton Hall
and Simmons Hall. The College's Travel Ambassador program provides funding for honors student travel around the world, with gifts often matching the cost of airfare for longer trips with a service or academic focus. Academically, honors students have the benefit of early registration for classes, allowing for competitive placement. Students are offered over 220 honors classes, which are typically smaller and taught by more senior faculty than comparable courses. Additionally, the college offers an opportunity called the Integrated Undergraduate Graduate (IUG) program, which allows exceptional students to pursue their undergraduate and master's degrees concurrently. The IUG program permits students to combine the required honors thesis and graduate thesis into a single thesis for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as allowing students to use some courses towards both degrees in order to graduate in a shorter period of time.
Schreyer honors students come from a variety of backgrounds and are involved in numerous activities on and off campus. Eleven countries and 40 states are represented by scholars, and many of them also participate in other distinguished pep and honor societies. The program is rare in that it allows for participants to major
in any field of study offered by the university.