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Earth, Life, and Time - Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. What is College Park Scholars?

2. How are College Park Scholars students chosen?
3. What is Earth, Life & Time (ELT)?
4. Is ELT a major? Is it a minor?

ELT REQUIREMENTS

5. What sort of course requirements does ELT have?
6. What sort of extra course burden does ELT put on a student?
7. Do ELT courses count for CORE?
8. Can AP, IB, or similar transfer credit be used to replace any requirements?

THE ELT PROGRAM

9. What does the colloquium entail?
10. Does the student have to pay for field trips?
11. Are field trips required?
12. What days are the field trips conducted?
13. What about the field courses?
14. What does the practicum entail?

BENEFITS OF BEING AN ELT STUDENT

15. Outside of the colloquium and practicum, what sort of experiences does College Park Scholars provide?
16. What does a student get out of being in ELT?

OTHER QUESTIONS? Feel free to contact:

Faculty Director Thomas Holtz, Ph: (301) 405-4084, email: tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Associate Faculty Director John Merck, Ph: (301) 405-2808, email: jmerck@wam.umd.edu

GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. What is College Park Scholars?
College Park Scholars is a "living-learning" program: a residential honors enrichment program for academically talented incoming students. It differs from the University Honors Program in that each student in Scholars becomes a member of one of 12 different programs centered on some major interdisciplinary theme. Students in College Park Scholars take a series of colloquia and required or supporting classes while simultaneously progressing in their own major.
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1A. Do Scholars have to live on campus? Do they have to live in the Cambridge Community?
College Park Scholars does have its own corner of campus (the Cambridge Community: several dorms and a community center in North Campus). Nearly all students living in that community are in Scholars. However, there is no requirement that Earth, Life & Time students have to live in the Cambridge Community. Every semester there are several students who live on other dorms on campus, who live in apartments near campus, or who commute from homes off campus. These students can still be part of the Earth, Life & Time program.

For more information, go to the Scholars Housing website.
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2. How are College Park Scholars students chosen?
Students are selected for invitation to College Park Scholars primarily based on their outstanding academic achievement in high school (based on GPA, SAT, ACT, and so forth), but also evidence of their commitment to community or social programs, willingness to participate in extracurricular activities, and interest in pursuing challenging academic or professional careers.

For more information, go to the Scholars Admissions website.
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3. What is Earth, Life & Time (ELT)?
ELT is one of the 12 College Park Scholars programs. Its focus is "Natural History": the scientific understanding and appreciation of the natural world, and how that understanding aids us as individuals and as a society.
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4. Is ELT a major? Is it a minor?
ELT is neither of these. Each student will also have their own major (which may be in a subject totally unrelated to Natural History), and will be responsible for taking classes for that field. ELT (and other College Park Scholars programs) resemble minors; a supplemental program with some requirements outside of the major, resulting in completion with a special citation on the student's record. However, unlike a minor as traditionally conceived, the College Park Scholars Citation Program involves a wider variety of experiences than simply a set of classes. (ELT is officially supported by the
Department of Geology; however, its intellectual scope is much broader and the vast majority of ELT students are not Geology majors).
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4A. I am a pre-med student. Can I still be in ELT?
Yes. A sizeable fraction of each class of ELT is made up of pre-medical students. Most pre-meds are majoring in some Department in the College of Chemical and Life Sciences. As such, they are already required to take a number of classes during their first four semesters (UNIV 100, various BSCI courses, various CHEM courses, etc.) which also fulfill the ELT requirements. In fact, the only additional classes that ELT students in the College of Chemical and Life Sciences have to take beyond major requirements are the 1 credit Colloquium class for the first three semsters, and the 1-3 credit Practicum course their fourth semester. Additionally, many pre-med students use their Practicum project as a means by which they can make contacts for their future professional careers, by interning with medical practices, clinics, or laboratories.
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4B. I am an engineering major. Can I still be in ELT?
Yes, you can be a major in the School of Engineering and still be in the ELT program. So long as you manage to complete our citation requirements in the first four semester, you can be in any major and still be in ELT. However, some majors (for example, several within the School of Engineering) have a higher-than-normal number of required classes within the first several semesters. Engineering students should definitely contact their major's academic advisor to plan out a schedule for the first four semesters to make certain they can both complete the ELT requirements and stay on schedule towards advancement in their major.
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ELT REQUIREMENTS

5. What sort of course requirements does ELT have?
These will be given in more detail on
another page. In brief, the program requires the student to:


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6. What sort of extra course burden does ELT put on a student?
This depends on the student's major. For students in majors related to the sciences covered in ELT (Geology, various life sciences majors, anthropology, etc.) the list of introductory natural historical science and supporting courses include the introductory courses required by those departments; thus, the only additional burden is the 1 credit colloquium each semester for the first three semesters and the 1-3 credit practicum their fourth semester. For students in other majors the introductory natural historical science and supporting courses may not fulfill departmental requirements, but most of these DO fulfill the general CORE distribution requirements that all students must take.
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7. Do ELT classes count for CORE?
Yes, many of them do. All students at the University of Maryland have to complete certain general distribution, or
CORE requirements. If you examine the lists of required and supporting classes you will see that many of them fulfill some CORE requirement as well. In fact, taking a single class can simultaneously complete a CORE requirement, an ELT requirement, and a major requirement!
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8. Can AP, IB, or similar transfer credit be used to replace any requirements?
Yes: if the transfer credit is considered by the university to be equivalent to ENGL 101 or one of the introductory natural historical science or supporting classes. However, the faculty would like to point out that the experiences the student might have in a university class will often be above and beyond that provided in high school or a similar setting, and encourage the students (where possible based on time and schedule) to take their classes at UMCP.
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THE ELT PROGRAM

9. What does the colloquium entail?
The 1 credit
colloquium (CPSP 118G for semesters 1 and 2, CPSP 218G for semester 3) meets once a week, and represents the time when all ELT students and faculty meet together. The colloquium consists of:

Additionally, field trips to various sites are organized through means of the colloquium. These trips have included a variety of locations:
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10. Does the student have to pay for field trips?
The student may be responsible for food expenses and sometimes a small fee (for example, for Metro fare). On some of our more expensive trips, a larger payment may be required (for example, the
Scholars in New York trip).
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11. Are field trips required?
Field trips are considered part of the experiences required for the colloquium. However, the faculty realize that some students may not be able to attend all of them; therefore, we typically offer two or three field trips per colloquium per semester, but only require that the students attend one.
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12. On what days are the field trips conducted?
Field trips are held on the weekend so as not to conflict with other classes; they are organized so that some occur on Saturday and others on Sunday so as to balance out various conflicting schedules. At present our only overnight field trip is ELT's participation in the cross-program
Scholars in New York activity. Dates for the field trips are announced at the beginning of the semester to allow the students plenty of time to reschedule conflicts, if possible.
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13. What about the field courses and study abroad courses?
ELT has sponsored or co-sponsored two field courses: a 10 day field program during Spring Break of odd-numbered years to study the
Natural History of Arizona and the 11 day excursion and associated summer class to the Galápagos Archipelago in even-numbered years. These are NOT requirements for ELT (although they do count as supporting courses); they are separate courses (GEOL 288 and GEOL 388, respectively), and require additional fees on the part of the students.

Additionally, in January of 2005 ELT participated in CPSP 379K: The Victorian Connection: Science and Social Change in 19th Century Britain, a study abroad coures in London. Again, this is a supporting course for ELT, but by no means a requirement.
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14. What does the practicum entail?
The
practicum (CPSP 239G or 249G or 259) is the 1-3 credit individual research, volunteer, or internship project, conducted in the fourth semester in ELT. The number of credits reflects the number of hours worked on site; the spread of credits reflects the fact that some students will have more free time available in their schedules than others. Practicum work and results are presented to the University community during the Undergraduate Research Day or the Scholars Academic Showcase, held late in the Spring Semester.
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BENEFITS OF BEING AN ELT STUDENT

15. Outside of the colloquium and practicum, what sort of experiences does Scholars provide?
College Park Scholars has a number of different activities held in the shared common spaces of the dorms and the Cambridge Community Center, including special presentations, dances, parties, talent shows, and more. Additionally every Spring the different College Park Scholars programs compete against each other in a softball tournament.
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16. What does a student get out of being in ELT?
As an academic enrichment program in a smaller residentially-based setting within the larger University, ELT offers its students a number of advantages:


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What the heck is this thing?

This is Cooperoceras texanum, the mascot of the Earth, Life and Time program. It is an extinct coiled cephalopod mollusk related to the modern chambered nautilus. Cooperoceras lived in the Permian Period of the Paleozoic Era. Its shape resembles the Sunspot, the official symbol of College Park Scholars.

Shelled cephalopods were common in the seas from about 400 to 65.5 million years ago. Their distinctive shell patterns, widespread ranges, and generally short species durations make them very useful in correlating rocks of the same age in different parts of the world. Thus the fossils of these once living things help us to understand time relationships between different rock units, making these examples of the interactions of Earth, Life, and Time.
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Last modified: 16 February 2006