Honors and Scholars Programs

Honors and Scholars Programs

A well-rounded education with lifelong impact

Why be confined to traditional classroom boundaries, when your Mines experience can be so much more?  

Being an engineer and scientist is about so much more than honing your technical skills—it also requires an immense amount of critical thinking, leadership, creativity and innovation. But don’t worry—Mines has that covered. With many interdisciplinary honors and scholars programs available to all students, Orediggers can broaden and deepen their knowledge and experiences beyond the textbooks and immerse themselves in tight-knit communities dedicated to helping everyone succeed and be the best engineers and scientists capable of changing the world for the better.  

What to expect


Interdisciplinary collaboration


Experiential learning


Creativity and innovation


  • Freshman Innovation and Research Scholar Training (FIRST) Fellowship
  • Florence Caldwell Achievement Scholarship 
  • Grand Challenges Scholars Program 
  • Grewcock Presidential Scholars Program 
  • Harvey Scholarship Program 
  • Leadership by Design First-Year Honors 
  • McBride Honors Program 
  • Teach@Mines 
  • Thorson First-Year Honors 
  • Undergraduate Research Scholars 
  • University Ethics Scholars 
  • Vanguard Community of Scholars 

Open to

All Orediggers


Throughout the academic year


Golden, Colo.

Students in the honors programs going on a field trip.

Orediggers are leaders making the world a better place every day through science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. Mines simply provides the opportunities for you to make the most meaningful impact and be your best self.

starOredigger reviews


Wan Jun Aida, Petroleum Engineering, Malaysia

“I was in the McBride Honors Program, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made while studying at Mines. I learned to look at the world differently from how I was taught and was able to express myself creatively in classes.” 


Caleb, Computer Science, Denver, Colo.

 “I have been part of First-Year Honors and the McBride Honors Program. Both were pretty great (but I know it wasn’t everyone’s thing). Both gave me some of my closest friends, community and a liberal arts aspect that has elevated my education.” 


Sydney, Chemical Engineering, Thornton, Colo.

“I have joined FIRST, and it has defined much of my freshman year. Being able to participate in that group and be able to work in a lab has really solidified what my future will hold. I am also a part of the Vanguard Scholars Program and am a Caldwell Scholar. The group of ladies and support I have received from them has been integral to my success this year.” 


Jaron, Computer Science, Centennial, Colo.

“I have been a part of Thorson First-Year Honors Program. I made a bunch of friends, learned to appreciate the design process and learned niche skills to help me in everyday life (like fact-checking). Future students should know that it is definitely worth it no matter what it looks like, because it will get you so many connections, friends and experiences that you wouldn’t get otherwise.” 


Paul, Engineering Physics, Loveland, Colo.

“Undergraduate research is a great experience and opportunity, definitely do it!” 


Aiden, Electrical Engineering, Piedmont, Okla.

“Being a part of the Thorson Honors Program was a great experience. It gave me the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends that I otherwise would not have met.” 


Annabelle, Engineering Physics, Parker, Colo.

“I have been a part of the McBride Honors Program for three years, one of which was spent as a senior student director. The time I spent in my McBride classes have been some of the best days of the week, most encouraging lessons learned and a way for me to take a break from physics. Through the McBride Program, I found a more holistic, adaptable way of learning. I embrace every challenge that comes my way and find unique solutions to even more unique problems. McBride helped me in my journey to study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland, an experience that changed the way that I look at the world. Future students wanting to have a liberal arts experience on a STEM campus should approach the McBride program with an open mind that is willing and wanting to learn!” 


Madeline, Mechanical Engineering, Lincoln, Neb.

“I was a part of Thorson First-Year Honors, and I am currently in the Grand Challenges Scholars Program. Both of these experiences have been excellent—I just wish that more people knew about them, because I feel like I am learning vital things to being an engineer that I do not get from any other classes.” 


Jocelyn, Civil Engineering, Bellingham, Wash.

“Being a part of the McBride Honors Program at Mines has been the single most impactful part of my Mines experience and my life. I joined McBride at exactly the right time because I had just quit a sport and had to completely rethink my identity. Joining the McBride community helped me discover new passions I did not know I had, and I was able to meet some truly inspiring, kind and interesting people that are now lifelong friends. McBride has helped me develop effective communication, problem-solving, leadership and critical-thinking skills and encouraged me to explore my world by interacting with diverse cultures and communities. McBride has given me the tools to see the world and also myself more complexly. Through McBride, I was able to study abroad in New Zealand and this completely changed my view of the world and was an amazing adventure that I would have never thought was possible, particularly at an engineering school. McBride is all about getting outside your comfort zone, but weirdly, McBride spaces are where I feel most comfortable on campus. Everyone in McBride is so passionate, driven and creative in everything they do and it makes classes something I look forward to every week. Being a part of the McBride program has improved my understanding of an engineer’s place in the world and inspired me to explore how engineers can impact society through traditionally non-technical avenues. I am incredibly grateful to my McProfessors and McPeers for their seemingly endless optimism and willingness to share their talent and time with others. Their enthusiasm inspires me every day, and I feel so lucky to have stumbled into this very unique and supportive community.” 


Kaleigh, Computational and Applied Mathematics, Columbus, Ohio

“I have been a part of Mines Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Thorson First-Year Honors Program and the McBride Honors Program. Each of these experiences have been incredibly different, yet all very rewarding. Through MURF, I have had the opportunity to conduct research under the mentorship of a faculty member and learn more about what it means to be a researcher while getting to learn about new topics I am interested in and passionate about. Additionally, through MURF, I had the opportunity to write for our undergraduate research magazine and present my research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Through Thorson, I was able to meet a ton of other first-year students who also had an interest in taking a more creative look into engineering and design. In the program, we frequently had seminar-style and small group discussions and worked on project proposals that combined the arts and STEM to bring change to the community. In McBride, I have had the opportunity to explore new topics that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to do, including a class on how digital extremism shapes our world and how humor plays a role in humanity. There is also a large sense of community within the McBride Program and is a great way to shift from technical classes to get to explore other areas of interest.”