Macaulay Honors College CUNY: Devour the Big Apple

Editor’s Note: There is a full, updated profile and detailed rating of Macaulay Honors College in our book, INSIDE HONORS. You can see a list of the highest rated honors programs here.

Students who are residents of New York State have the unique opportunity of qualifying for free tuition and other benefits at the Macaulay Honors College, which is affiliated with eight senior colleges of the City University of New York. Admission to Macaulay for state residents not only makes them Macaulay Scholars with free tuition but also presents to them the Big Apple in all its fascinating dimensions.

Out-of-state students who meet CUNY New York State residency requirements can also receive the full tuition scholarship. And for those who do not qualify for the free tuition support, CUNY provides one of the best values in higher education. In addition, the student will receive all of the enhanced benefits of a Macaulay education.

Macaulay students study at the following CUNY campuses: Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, John Jay College, Lehman College, Queens College, and the College of Staten Island (CSI). There are special honors housing packages at City College and Hunter College. All the other colleges have residence options. Macaulay Honors College is housed in an elegant, renovated brownstone located in the Upper West Side, near Central Park and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to free tuition, Macaulay students receive a $7,500 Opportunities Fund “to pursue global learning, internships, and other service and learning opportunities”; a MacBook Pro laptop; a “Cultural Passport” that permits free or discounted admission to arts, cultural, and educational institutions across the city; and specialized advising through the Macaulay Advising Program (MAP).

The laptops are an integral part of Macaulay’s plan to enable students to participate in social and academic programs at campuses other than their home campuses and to prepare and present e-portfolios of their college work, with the help of Instruction Technology Fellows (ITF’s) assigned to each of the honors seminars. “ITFs are CUNY doctoral students in a wide range of academic disciplines, carefully selected for their familiarity and experience using technology both in the classroom and in research,” according to the Macaulay site.

Admission to Macaulay is selective, with an average SAT score of 1410 and grade average of 93.9. In addition, co-curricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation are required. The acceptance rate was 29% for the Class of 2016; approximately 540 freshmen will be entering Fall 2013.

The honors curriculum for the first two years is focused on the city of New York itself:
“Seminar 1 introduces Macaulay Scholars to the arts in New York City and the Cultural Passport. During the semester, students attend theatrical, operatic, and musical performances, exhibitions of visual art, and other highlights of the current cultural season, and help to create the annual “Snapshot of New York City” exhibition.”

“During Seminar 2, Macaulay Scholars investigate the role of immigration and migration in shaping New York City’s identity–past, present, and future. Visits to archives, interviews, mapping and walking tours allow students to create the collaborative Neighborhood Websites, presenting their research through audio, video, photography, and other media.”

“In Seminar 3, Macaulay Scholars analyze issues in science and technology that have an impact on contemporary New York. Students work together to create scientific posters and presentations for a Macaulay-wide conference of their peers and others in the Macaulay community.”

“The purpose of Seminar 4 is to analyze the ongoing interplay of social, economic, and political forces that shape the physical form and social dynamics of New York City. Throughout the semester, students engage in a team research project, sometimes including Public Service Announcement Videos, to be presented at a model academic conference.”

Macaulay’s upper-level seminars encourage students to integrate course work and their own primary research, in a richly collaborative and supportive interdisciplinary setting. Recent topics include Sexuality and American Culture, Imagining the End of the World, The Future of Education, Religion and Public Policy, and Women and Global Public Policy Since the 1960s.

As for off-campus opportunities in New York City, Macaulay students benefit from special access to network with New York’s most dynamic firms.

“Macaulay students often use some of their $7,500 Opportunities Fund to develop customized programs that enable them to explore different professional paths, or to gain additional hands-on experience in fields they wish to pursue in graduate school or professionally after college.”

Examples of recent internships are New York Life, HBO, The New York Historical Society, The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES), NYU Langone Medical Center, BBC Worldwide Americas, The New York State Office of the Attorney General, US Trust, Free Arts NYC, The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), and Northwestern Mutual.

Over 90% of Macaulay students intend to study abroad. Again, they can use their Opportunities Fund, outside fellowships, and additional resources CUNY makes available to them to pursue a wide range of semester and year-long study abroad programs, at universities around the globe.

Students might analyze marine life in the Galapagos, study drama at Trinity College of Dublin, learn Arabic at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, or study mathematics at the City University of Hong Kong.

Other examples of recent study-abroad locations are the following: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Brazil, China, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey. Macaulay students have studied on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

Macaulay graduate, David L.B. Bauer of City College, became something of an undergraduate “brainiac” celebrity, who chose Macaulay over the Ivies after he won the Intel Science Talent Search as a high school student in 2005. A winner of Goldwater, Rhodes and Truman Scholarships while at Macaulay, Bauer focused on research in clinical medicine at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG) at the University of Oxford, where he worked during his junior year at CCNY. Bauer is currently a DPhil candidate in clinical medicine at Oxford.

A second Rhodes scholarship was awarded to a Macaulay student in October, 2011 to Zujaja Tauqeer (Macaulay and Brooklyn College ’11). Zujaja, who graduated with a BA/MD, is studying the history of medicine in a two-year program at Oxford.

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