Scholars Program

For students who seek deeper academic challenge and the pursuit of learning at the highest academic level, Villa Maria’s Scholars Program offers opportunities beyond Honors and Advanced Placement courses. Successful completion of the program leads to the Scholars Distinction at graduation.

Goals of the Scholars Program

  • Foster a love of learning for its own sake.
  • Develop strong critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Stimulate an area of high interest with research and scholarship.
  • Develop at a higher level a focus on STEM or the Humanities, rounded with knowledge of the Fine Arts.

Qualifications for the Scholars Program

The Scholars Program is by invitation based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated cognitive aptitude, intellectual curiosity, and a thirst for learning.
  • Receipt of an academic scholarship to Villa Maria Academy (Scholarship recipients are not required to be in the Scholars Program).

Scholars Program Features

  • Opportunity for Freshmen Scholars to sit for the PSAT/NMSQT in 9th Grade if they wish to do so.
  • The Freshman and Sophomore Scholars Seminars are for Pass/Fail credit.
  • Scholars Program participants earn AP weighting for Honors English 1 and Honors English 2 for successful completion of the Freshman and Sophomore Scholars curricula.
  • Scholars students will receive personal academic planning support and attention. Each will meet one-on-one with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction to plan out her course of study through her four years at Villa Maria.
  • Scholars students will earn a special Scholars diploma, which the transcript will note. Scholars will receive special recognition at both Honors Convocation and graduation.

Scholars Program Requirements

  • Maintenance of a 3.8 cumulative GPA (aligned with requirement of National Honor Society, Lumen Chapter).
  • Selection of your Scholar focus – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) or Humanities.
  • Participation in Freshman Scholars Seminar and Sophomore Scholars Seminar. These seminars meet once a cycle, for 40 minutes.
  • Completion of the Freshman Scholars team project.
  • Completion of the Sophomore Scholars independent project. This project should align with Scholar focus. Scholars with a STEM focus will complete a research project in the sciences or technology. Scholars with a Humanities focus will complete a research project centered on human, societal, or world issues, concerns, or problems.
  • Fulfillment of Villa Maria’s graduation requirements, with the additions and modifications noted below.

Course of Study


STEM Focus Humanities Focus
The 1 credit minimum graduation requirement in Fine Arts must be an AP credit OR two years (4 semesters) participation in Dance Company. (Scholars are waived from the usual Freshman Fine Arts requirements of Studio Art 1 or Art 9, and Music Appreciation.) The 1 credit minimum graduation requirement in Fine Arts must be an AP credit OR two years (4 semesters) participation in Dance Company. (Scholars are waived from the usual Freshman Fine Arts requirements of Studio Art 1 or Art 9, and Music Appreciation.)
Opportunity for AP Biology in Freshman year. 4 credits minimum required in English with at least one of these credits at the AP level.
4 credits minimum required in Mathematics and 5 credits minimum in Science. At least three of these credits must be from AP courses, with at least one in each (Math & Science). 6 credits minimum required in World Languages with one language studied for four years. This will require study of a second language for at least at two levels.
1 credit minimum required in Technology. This must include a programming element. Students may take Programming (½ credit) and then another technology class OR take AP Computer Science (1 credit). 4 credits minimum required in Social Studies with at least two of these credits at the AP level.
One Senior year semester in Theology must be at the Honors level. Students may take Honors Apologetics, or Honors or Dual Enrollment World Religions. One Senior year semester in Theology must be Honors or Dual Enrollment World Religions.