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Benedictine offers new honors program for advanced students in the sciences

October 23, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University is looking for curious, high-achieving and highly-motivated students to join the new Jurica Scholars Program, a rigorous honors program for students majoring in the Biological Sciences.

Students who are accepted into the program will explore scientific areas of interest in deeper and more meaningful ways through a course schedule and curriculum that is designed to engage gifted students through intense learning, research and service opportunities.

The program is named after storied Benedictine professors Frs. Edmund and Hilary Jurica, O.S.B., who developed the University’s Biology department in its early days, instilled a philosophy of “learning through doing” in their pupils and collected thousands of specimens for the nature museum on campus that bears their name.

Incoming freshmen can apply to be accepted to the Jurica Scholars Program, which begins next fall.

To be eligible, students must have a 3.75 cumulative GPA, a minimum composite ACT score of 27 or minimum SAT combined critical reading and mathematics score of 1210, and submit their high school course of study, a personal essay and a recommendation letter from a high school teacher or college faculty member.

Students must also be enrolled at Benedictine and have declared a major offered through the University’s Department of Biological Sciences in Biology, Environmental Science or Health Science.

Students who are accepted into the program will:

• Enroll as a group in the first three courses of the degree program, with academic enrichment built into each course.

• Continue their major studies on an accelerated path in upper-level Biology courses.

• Receive more individualized attention from world-class faculty in small group settings.

• Conduct their own research and present their work at national science conferences.

• Serve as peer tutors and learning assistants.

• Participate in independent study with a faculty member.

• Design, research, present and defend a major capstone project near the end of their senior year.

The College of Science provides unique opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research projects on campus, and internships through its ties to the regional science community, which includes Argonne National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Field Museum of Natural History. This experience allows students to gain expertise in a laboratory setting, expand their understanding of classroom work and enhance their resumes.

For nearly a century, the science faculty at Benedictine University has prepared its students to lead lives of meaning, purpose and distinction. Empowered by a values-centered Benedictine science education that emphasizes hands-on scientific exploration and discovery, alumni have gone on to realize their professional potential, build stellar careers and bring their talents to bear on society’s most pressing needs.

For more information on the Jurica Scholars Program, contact Robert McCarthy, Ph.D., at (630) 829-6577 or, or Robin Pals Rylaarsdam, Ph.D., at (630) 829-6522 or

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, but prospective students are urged to submit their application by February 1 to ensure full consideration. To apply to the program, visit

Interested students can also learn more about Benedictine’s science programs in person from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21 at the College of Science Open House.

To RSVP for the open house, go to For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at (630) 829-6300 or


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls 10,058 students in 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 2 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2015.

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