The Shelby Scholars Program

The Shelby Institute for Policy and Leadership is a nonpartisan, interdisciplinary and student-focused establishment dedicated to educating and training future leaders of the state and nation.

The Shelby Scholars Program

Non-Partisan | Credit Bearing | Interdisciplinary

The Shelby Scholars program is a credit-bearing leadership program for undergraduate students from any academic field who are passionate about public service. Shelby Scholars will receive exclusive programming, including an Institute-developed curriculum, experiential learning and personal interactions with prominent state and national guest lecturers. Members of the class will receive a monetary award for the 2024–2025 academic year and be recognized as founding scholars of the Shelby Institute for Policy and Leadership.


Shelby Scholars will…

  • Complete classes with motivated students from diverse academic fields who wish to expand their knowledge of public policy, politics, law, communications and economics.
  • Participate in year-round enrichment and experiential learning programs to enhance the undergraduate experience at the Capstone.
  • Receive personalized, career-oriented academic support.
  • Engage with state and national leaders from government, private-sector, non-profit and other fields across the political spectrum.

Undergraduate students who meet the following requirements are eligible to apply for the inaugural Shelby Scholars class:

Students must have completed at least 60 credit hours prior to June 1, 2024.

Students must be working toward a minor in Public Policy OR intend to minor in Public Policy OR be pursuing a course of study relevant to the mission of the Institute*.

Shelby Scholars will be required to register for 3 hours of PSC 321-008 during Fall 2024.

*Applicants pursuing a course of study relevant to the mission of the Institute will be asked to justify ways in which their course of study relates to the mission.

Application Timeline

July 29

Selected applicants will be notified and asked to participate in a virtual interview.

July 29–August 2

Invited applicants will have the opportunity to sign up for a virtual interview.

August 5–20

Virtual interviews will be held.

August 23

Admitted Scholars will be notified of acceptance via email.


Can I apply for the program if I am not a Political Science or Public Policy Studies student?

Yes! The Shelby Scholars program is interdisciplinary. Students from all majors and minors on campus are welcome to apply. 

I have or plan to have a minor in Public Policy Studies, do I need to complete the part of the application that asks me to justify ways in which my course of study relates to the mission of the Institute? 

This question is not required for those who have or are planning to have a minor in Public Policy Studies. However, you are welcome to answer the question if you believe it will strengthen your application. 

I am studying abroad during the 2024–2025 academic year, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes! We are looking at study abroad experiences on a student-by-student basis. Studying abroad does not disqualify you from being a Shelby Scholar. If you are studying abroad, please share how this experience supports your goals in policy and public service. 

I am very involved on campus and want to be sure I have time to be a Shelby Scholar. What are the requirements of a Shelby Scholar?

  • Complete and pass the Shelby Scholars designated course for the corresponding semester. The Fall 2024 course is PSC 321-008. The class will begin Monday, September 23 for Fall II and is expected to meet on Mondays and Thursdays at 4 pm. 
  • Meet each semester with at least one of the Institute Directors to ensure that the student is up to date with Shelby Scholar requirements. 
  • Attend the annual Shelby Institute Distinguished Speaker event during the spring semester. 
  • Attend visiting lecturer events each semester. 
  • Complete an approved professional internship related to policy, leadership, or government (an approved internship course can take the place of this).
  • Shelby Scholars who meet the outlined expectations will receive a stipend/award and, upon graduating, the Shelby Scholar designation.