MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

The Burchard Scholars Program 
Expand your horizons at dinner seminars with distinguished MIT faculty

Students, you can apply here.
Program open to MIT sophomores and juniors.

Expand Your Horizons at Dinner Seminars with Distinguished Faculty

The Burchard Scholars Program brings together distinguished members of the faculty and promising MIT sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated excellence in some aspect of the humanities, arts, or social sciences. About 35 MIT undergraduates are selected each year for the competitive program. Each cohort of "Burchards" participates for one calendar year, from February through December.

The format is a series of dinner seminars that reflect the vast range of inquiry and research in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science. The Burchard Program consists of nine events throughout a calendar year — a large reception at the beginning of spring term, seven dinner-seminars, and one cultural event in the fall. Seminars are held monthly, on Wednesday evenings from 5-7pm, during the school year.

Application Information

The Burchard Scholars application must include the following materials:

  • Curriculum Vitae or résumé
  • List of HASS classes you have taken at MIT
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member who has taught you in a HASS course
  • An essay on one of three essay topics in less than 500 words:
    • Is there a book, play, poem, movie, musical composition, painting, or photograph that has been especially meaningful for you? Why does it inspire you? 
    • "Great ideas change the world.” In your essay, personalize the SHASS motto by addressing the following question: How have one or two “great ideas” changed you and your views of “the world”?
    • Write about an experience in which you encountered a tension between personal freedom and community standards. Discuss the experience and the underlying issues, how you dealt with the tension, and whether or not there was a satisfactory resolution.

Students submit applications online here. As part of the process, students will be required to enter contact information for a HASS faculty member (or lecturer). The WizeHive system will then email the recommender directly to upload the letter of recommendation via a personalized link.

Applications and recommendations are due on October 31, 2016 for the 2017 Burchard Program.

Please note:

A Burchard Scholar can be a major in any department of the Institute; no preference is given to HASS majors. All sophomores and juniors in good standing are eligible to apply. If you have a question about the Program or how to apply, please email

Information on the Burchard Program

Burchard Events
Past Burchard Scholars



Congratulations to the 2016 Burchard Scholars!  

Wajeeha Ahmad '17
minor, Applied International Studies

Alaisha Alexander '18
Mechanical Engineering

Emmanuel Azuh '18
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Mary Clare Beytagh '18
Biology; Literature

Archis Bhandarkar '18
Biological Engineering

Kevin Castro '17
Aeronautics and Astronautics

Lilly Chin '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
minor, Mechanical Engineering

Thomas Cowan '17
Mechanical Engineering; Science, Technology, and Society

Teresa de Figueiredo '17
Materials Science and Engineering

David Dellal '17
Mechanical Engineering
minor, French

Keeley Erhardt '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
minor, Applied International Studies

Daniela Ganelin '18

Aaron Hammond '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Literature

Lisa Ho '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Lisa Kong '18
Materials Science and Engineering

Jing Li '17
Economics; Mathematics

Sophia Liu '17
Chemical Engineering; Biology

Everett Malone '17
Comparative Media Studies; Literature

Nicholas Matthews '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Literature

Katherine Nazemi '17
Political Science; Mathematics

Paige Omura '17
Chemical Engineering
minor, Anthropology

Valerie Peng '17
Mechanical Engineering

Claire Robinson '18
Mechanical Engineering

James Rowan '17

Alyssa Smith '17
Humanities and Engineering

Stephen Tang '17
Chemistry; Political Science

Sophia Tigges '18
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Dana Vigue '17

Hallie Voulgaris '17
minor, Music

Katherine Weishaar '18

Sarah Wharton '17
Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Emily Widder '17
Aeronautics and Astronautics

Tiffany Yeh '17
Materials Science and Engineering

Austen Yueh '17
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Olivia Zhao '18