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How It Works

This scholarship program helps you tailor your college studies to become a leader in the conservation field.

  • Incoming freshmen at George Mason University who qualify will receive an invitation.
  • Begin your degree program at Mason on the Fairfax campus, with courses that will prepare you for studying conservation biology.
  • Get automatic admission and a merit scholarship to one of our undergraduate semesters in residence.
Program Details
Who's Eligible?

Rising college freshmen in any major, by invitation only

Additional Benefits
  • Private tour of our endangered species research facility
  • Priority registration for our popular, weeklong summer field course
  • Access to seminars with world-renowned researchers and scientists

An Exclusive Opportunity

Candidates for our SMSC Scholars program are selected from incoming applicants to Mason and are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Academic achievement in high school
  • Rigor of high school program
  • College application essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Participation in extracurricular activities
  • Standardized test scores

What You’ll Learn

SMSC offers three full-time residential programs in conservation biology that integrate directly into your degree plan at Mason, no matter your major. You choose when to attend, either fall or spring of your junior or senior year.

Through this one-of-a-kind opportunity, you’ll get hands-on field experience working with rare and endangered species. You’ll become a member of Smithsonian’s world-renowned community of conservationists where scientists, educators, and animal keepers will serve as your mentors.

Semester Programs

Choose one of three semester programs to suit your interests and academic schedule:

Conservation, Biodiversity and Society

  • Offered in fall or spring to students with at least 45 undergraduate credits
  • Includes weekly practicum working directly with a conservation expert

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

  • Offered in fall only to students with at least 60 undergraduate credits and an upper-level ecology course
  • Includes a five-week independent research experience under guidance of conservation mentor

Endangered Species Conservation

  • Offered in spring only to students with at least 60 undergraduate credits and an upper-level ecology course
  • Includes a five-week independent research experience under guidance of conservation mentor
Take a look at our programs for undergraduate students
Living and Studying at SMSC

Housing

Student Experience

Why SMSC?