Future Paterno Fellows FAQs

Future Paterno Fellows FAQs
Future Paterno Fellows FAQs

Now is the time to indicate your interest in the Paterno Fellows Program. To help you in your decision-making, please read a little more about the program below and indicate your interest to your academic adviser.

The goal of aspiring to be a Paterno Fellow is two-fold. First, it is your gateway into the Schreyer Honors College, permitting you to engage in Honors coursework that will prepare you for undergraduate research. Then, during senior year, you will author your own original thesis (research paper) as a final, culminating project. Second, you will engage in additional scholarly experiences including internships, study abroad, campus leadership, and global awareness throughout your four years. Completion of the program permits one to graduate as a “Schreyer Honors Scholar” and a “Paterno Fellow.”

Graduating with honors means you are a graduate of the Schreyer Honors College and that you completed an undergraduate thesis. If you are not interested in the final thesis project, this program may not be the best fit for you. Please note: any student can graduate “with distinction” (manga cum laude, summa cum laude, or cum laude) with or without honors coursework.

  • Honors coursework:
    • Did you enjoy honors or AP coursework in high school?
    • Do you like small, discussion-based learning?
    • Are you willing to take honors courses outside of your major?
  • Community Building
    • Smaller, more discussion-based classes
    • Community of scholars
    • Close relationships with faculty
  • Structure
    • As a Paterno Fellow, you have requirements to enriching out-of-classroom experiences like internships, education abroad, and research. You can still do all these things even if you’re not a Paterno Fellow, but the Paterno Fellows Program packages other existing Penn State opportunities together.
  • Will classes be harder?
    • The short answer is yes: the bar is high. But remember you’ll also be in a supportive community.


Criminology, Economics, International Politics, Political Science, Psychology, and Social Data Analytics.

In your first two semesters, there is a required sequence of courses you’ll need to take as an aspiring Paterno Fellow. It is not an option to complete this course work at a later date.

If it turns out that you no longer wish to pursue the program, you can opt out at any time during your four years.

Two Paterno Fellows at the Paterno Fellows Recognition Ceremony in the spring of 2022
Two Paterno Fellows at the Paterno Fellows Recognition Ceremony in the spring of 2022
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