Academic Life

The Phi Beta Kappa Association of Montana Essay Contest

The Phi Beta Kappa Association of Montana offers a $1,000 scholarship for the academic year 2016-17 for the winner of its essay contest.


Essay contest entrants should: 1) be a full-time student at the University of Montana; 2) have a declared major or minor in a department in the College of Humanities and Sciences; 3) have a minimum GPA of 3.75; 4) have attained junior standing (minimum 60 credits); and 5) have fulfilled all of their general education requirements before applying. Students will complete a short essay that responds to the following prompt:

As the PBK Society website declares, “For over two and a quarter centuries, the Society has embraced the principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression. Laptops have replaced quill pens, but these ideas, symbolized on Phi Beta Kappa’s distinctive gold key, still lay the foundations of personal freedom, scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience, and creative endeavor.” 

Write an essay of 500-750 words in which you contemplate the relevance of the Society’s principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression in the context of your own intellectual development at the University of Montana. In composing your essay, pay specific attention, using concrete examples, to the way your course of study has developed your ideas about, and experiences of: personal freedom; scientific inquiry; liberty of conscience; and creative endeavor. Be sure to include a descriptive title for your essay. Essays will be judged on eloquence, depth of intellectual engagement, and breadth of thought.

Applications will be due to the DHC by noon on Monday, May 2nd, and winners will be decided two weeks later.  


The completed scholarship application must include the following elements:

  • Application cover sheet 
  • Essay responding to prompt (500-750 words; 2-3 typed pages).
  • Résumé (one page maximum) showing progress toward academic and career objectives
  • Unofficial UM transcript showing grades through autumn 2015
  • Name, department, and email contact information for two UM faculty members who can provide references upon request

If you have any questions about the PBK Essay Contest, please contact Prof. Ashby Kinch at

Autumn 2016 Honors Courses

Don't forget to register for Autumn 2016! To view list of DHC courses offered Autumn semester, follow the link below:

Autumn 2016 Honors Courses  

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Welcome Students!

students in the DHC lounge

Students enjoy refreshments at New Student Convocation 2015

We are continuing to accept students for our 2016 incoming freshman class. 67 students were Presidential Leadership Scholarship finalists and will be interviewing the week of February 1st - 5th with a majority of the interviews taking place on Scholar Interview Day February 5th. Welcome students and good luck finalists!

DHC Undergraduate Research Awards

Thirteen students received $1000 scholarships for undergraduate research to be conducted this Spring. The projects ranged from Correlation of Hip Flexor Instabilities and Turn Out in Dancers to Lives of Quiet Desperation: A Study of Experimental Narratives in Fiction to The Role of Gycerol Untilization in the Lyme Disease Spirochete. The DHC is honored to support students' independent research and discoveries.

Hannah Fay at UMCUR

DHC student Hannah Fay presents research at UM's Undergraduate Research Conference

Alternative Winter Break: Hunger and Homelessness in Hollywood, CA

Students for the Office of Civic Engagement's Alternative Break trip head to Hollywood on Jan. 9th! While in California, these students will be working with various nonprofit organizations fighting hunger and homelessness.

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Class Selects Local Non Profits to Receive $10K Grant