Murphy Scholars Program

Murphy Scholars Program FAQs

What are Murphy Scholars?  Murphy Scholars are Hendrix students in any major who want to deepen their knowledge of literature and language through a variety of enhanced experiences.

What do Murphy Scholars have to do?  When inducted into the program, Murphy Scholars commit

  • to participate actively in Hendrix’s community of literary and language scholarship;
  • to complete a tutorial course in literature or language;
  • to complete three of the Murphy Scholar Program’s approved cocurricular experiences in literature or language (many of which are activities that the Murphy Scholars may already be involved in, and may count for Odyssey credit). 

What are the benefits of becoming a Murphy Scholar? Murphy Scholars enjoy the following benefits:

  • Study-Travel Allowance Funds in the amount of $4,000, to be used for approved cocurricular experiences in literature and language;
  • structured ways to explore literature and language beyond the classroom;
  • opportunities for in-depth exchanges with Distinguished Visitors in literature and language — writers, translators, editors, and scholars whom the program brings to campus;
  • distinction upon graduation; and
  • the advantages of belonging to a community of scholars — including fellowship, professional preparation, and the excitement that comes from the collective investigation of literature and language.

Who is eligible to be a Murphy Scholar? The Murphy Scholars program is currently open to Hendrix sophomores in any major who want to deepen their knowledge of literature and language through a variety of enhanced experiences. Students enter the program as sophomores and finish at graduation.

Starting in Spring 2019, the program will recruit its new cohort in spring of the freshman year. First-year students will be invited to apply in February 2019. Information about applications for the cohort of 2022 will be emailed and posted later this year.

How and when will Murphy Scholars be selected?  In 2018–2019, sophomores seeking to be Murphy Scholars will apply by September 7 and will be notified of the outcome of their applications by September 30. Application requirements will include a short statement of interest and the names of two faculty members (probably The Engaged Citizen or Explorations teachers) who can serve as references. Students transferring in as sophomores are also eligible to apply.

How many Murphy Scholars are there?  Thirty students are in each cohort of sophomores, juniors, and seniors. There are 90 Murphy Scholars active in the program at any given time.

What is the overarching purpose of the Murphy Scholars Program?  The purpose of the Murphy Scholars Program is to provide Hendrix students with a distinctive, substantial opportunity to deepen their experience of language and literature in and beyond the classroom. The program aims to supply generations of Hendrix graduates with deep knowledge of and appreciation for literature and language (including reading, writing, oral expression, analysis, criticism, and world languages) that enriches their lives and careers. 

What are the learning goals of the Murphy Scholars Program?  The Murphy Scholars program aims for students

  • to broaden their knowledge of literature and language beyond what is possible in the traditional classroom setting.
  • to deepen their understanding of literature and language by engaging in immersive, communal, creative, and research-oriented experiences both on campus and beyond the walls of Hendrix.
  • to use literary and language experiences as a means of increasing their historical awareness, cultural understanding, and capacity for meaningful global citizenship.
  • to acquire habits of mind and practices of inquiry that allow them to connect the insights of literary and language study with other ways of understanding the world.
  • to develop their public writing and speaking skills in order to communicate with non-specialist audiences about literature and language.
  • to experience literature and language as sources of lifelong learning, pleasure, and social commitment.

How will completion of the Murphy Scholars Program be recognized? Murphy Scholars completing the program are recognized annually in the late spring at a special dinner as well as at a reception for them and their families a couple of days before graduation. Distinction is conferred upon graduating Murphy Scholars in the form of transcript notation and a medal to be worn with the academic regalia.

Murphy Scholar Cocurricular Projects

Do Murphy Scholar experiences carry Odyssey credit? Yes, it is possible to earn Odyssey credit through Murphy Scholar experiences. In fact, many Murphy Scholar Cocurriculars are preapproved for Odyssey credit; a Scholar need only turn in an Odyssey Intent form to the Odyssey Office. For cocurriculars not preapproved for Odyssey, a Scholar can turn in an Odyssey Proposal Form to the Odyssey Office. Finally, Scholars can request Odyssey credit for a given activity on their Murphy Scholar Cocurricular proposal forms. If the cocurricular project is approved by Murphy and Odyssey, upon completion the Scholar will submit the standard Project Completion and Transcript Notation Form and any other required paperwork to the Odyssey Office. 

Can you tell me more about these cocurricular projects? For more information on these projects, including a slideshow of examples, see the Proposal Guidelines and our page on Murphy Scholar Cocurriculars.

I already have a lot of commitments and feel pressed for time. Is the Murphy Scholars Program for me?  Only you can judge for sure. Certainly part of attending a liberal arts college is exploring various activities, from athletics to arts, which, on top of rigorous academics, can be challenging to manage. However, many of the Murphy Scholars experiences formalize support and credit for activities that you, as a person with lively literary and language interests, would be doing anyway, such as Odyssey projects, attending talks and readings, pursuing research with your professor, or tutoring. Undertaking these activities under the mantle of Murphy Scholar rather than in a scattershot way gives them added definition and depth. They become an additional, identifiable dimension of your education.

Who administers the Murphy Scholars Program?  The Hendrix-Murphy Foundation director supervises the programming, with foundation staff managing day-to-day operations, including the tracking of Murphy Scholars’ program credits and Study-Travel Allowance Fund. A Director's Cabin with faculty and student representation vets all proposals and makes recommendations to an appropriate committee of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Board. This Board of Directors, which includes the Hendrix President and Provost, oversees all Murphy Scholars Program activities.


What are tutorials?  Oxford-style tutorial courses are an instructional model developed at Oxford University in Oxford, England. Their hallmark is weekly meetings where two to four students and a faculty member engage in active, in-depth discussions of readings or intensive work on writing or translation. Tutorials have long been considered the paragon of undergraduate instruction, promoting close relationships between faculty and students, intensive focus on texts (both reading and writing), and oral communication. 

What form do the tutorials take?  Hendrix's tutorials are modeled after Oxford University tutorials, but tailored to the specific features of Hendrix. With one professor per two to four students, the tutorials in literature and language foster deep, individualized exploration of their subjects. 

Who teaches the tutorials?  Tutorials are taught by Hendrix faculty as part of their normal teaching loads. In addition, the program supports Murphy Visiting Fellows in Literature and Language—postdoctoral scholars serving two-year appointments in the departments of Theatre Arts, English, and Foreign Languages. These Fellowships are a two-pronged position, involving classroom teaching as well as assisting the Murphy Scholars Program through informal advising, mentoring, and community-building.

What subjects are taught? Faculty in the core Hendrix-Murphy departments (English, Foreign Languages, and Theatre Arts) who wish to offer tutorials propose topics approved through normal curricular processes that are clearly focused on language and literature. Regardless of subject, the tutorial’s intimate setting, with ample time for dialogue between professor and students, lends itself excitingly to in-depth exploration and discovery at the frontiers of research.

Who can take the tutorials? When should they be taken?

Murphy Scholars are required to complete at least one tutorial course, ideally in the junior year. Study abroad or other circumstances may sometimes necessitate Scholars’ taking a tutorial in their senior year.

Do the tutorials count as regular Hendrix courses?  Yes. Each tutorial counts as one semester-long course in the normal courseload and is credited as such. Each Department decides whether the tutorial course counts toward its major.

Are tutorials offered only in literature and language?  At this point, tutorial courses are offered only to Murphy Scholars and are limited to topics in language and literature. If the tutorials prove pedagogically successful and sustainable, the College might consider opening tutorials to non–Murphy Scholar students and offering them in disciplines beyond language and literature. 

Does Hendrix-Murphy sponsor opportunities for students who are not Murphy Scholars?  Yes. The Distinguished Visitors Program still brings exceptional writers, poets, translators, theatre directors, and literary scholars to campus for both short stays and extended visits. They are proposed by faculty and selected through a proposal process designed for maximum responsiveness to campus-wide interest. Hendrix faculty and students may also propose individual projects in literature and language, from study-travel, to service projects, to campus-based activities. And Hendrix-Murphy supports a range of literary and language-related enrichment and enhancement activities for the College:  Study Abroad Scholarships where the courses taken are predominantly literary or language-targeted; Language House; Language Commons; literary competitions; a flourishing creative writing program; and many other activities.

Can Murphy Scholars design their own experiences for Murphy Scholar Cocurricular credit?  Yes. For individualized cocurricular projects, Murphy Scholars must request approval from the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation by filling out a proposal form. A review panel  representing the Foundation and the College will evaluate each proposal to ensure that it meets program goals and to determine funding, including expenditures from that Scholar’s $4,000 Study-Travel Allowance Fund. Proposal forms and guidelines are available online. Deadlines are October 1, February 1, and April 1--the same as the Odyssey Program's.

What if I want Murphy Scholar credit for an existing activity in literature and language?  Most literary and language cocurriculars that are already well established at Hendrix are preapproved for Murphy Scholar credit if you contribute at a leadership level. (See the full list.) For these, all you have to do is certify your participation to the Murphy Scholars office by submitting a Statement of Intent at the outset and a Statement of Completion once that experience is finished.

I'm interested in using my Study-Travel Allowance Funds to travel. What are my options?  Off-campus options for Murphy Scholars include trips for literary or language-related research, study-travel, or service and intensive language study or immersion. You can seek to join a faculty-led trip, where a group from Hendrix travels and learns together (the professors who lead those trips set the terms for participation, and Murphy Scholars, like other students, apply for those trips directly to the faculty leader); or design your own student-initiated project, where students travel and study on their own, individually or in a small group that they put together. For individually designed off-campus experiences, Murphy Scholars must submit a Cocurricular proposal so that their trip plans, learning objectives, and budget details can be formally approved. If a Murphy Scholar is approved through the college's general process for study abroad, and if 50% or more of their coursework is in literature or language, they may use their funds to cover additional related expenses that are not covered by the normal study abroad package.

I'm interested in doing literature- and language-related service projects. What are the possibilities?  Murphy Scholars are encouraged to give back to Hendrix or the wider community through service in literature and language.  Examples include

  • tutoring in writing, literature, or language
  • teaching writing classes
  • working as a Writing Associate at the Writing Center
  • serving as a writing assistant for a professor (you must be tutoring in discipline-related writing, not in course content)
  • serving as a Language Ambassador for international students
  • volunteering at a school, hospital, residential facility, or the like in some literary or language capacity (running a writing or storytelling group, serving as translator or interpreter)
  • starting and running a literary or language outlet for the underserved, such as a Bookmobile
  • tutoring in an adult literacy program
  • reading to or recording for the visually impaired

I want to work as a Writing Associate in the Writing Center. Can I receive Murphy Scholar credit for work-study experiences or other paid work?   Absolutely! Work in the Writing Center is one of many campus activities preapproved for Murphy Scholar credit. Other paid work may also count, as long as it relates to language and literature. To request Murphy Scholar Cocurricular credit for experiences not on the preapproved list, contact the Director. It may be that you'll need to submit a Murphy Scholar Cocurricular proposal form.