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Calhoun Discovery Program

Calhoun Discovery Program

This program was made possible by an exceptional gift from David Calhoun ’79, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Boeing Company / Distinguished Visiting Lecturer.

Images of students in the calhoun discovery program collaboarting

A New Way of Thinking About College Education

About the Calhoun Discovery Program

The Calhoun Discovery Program (CDP) combines a structured disciplinary education with an open-ended, collaborative, and transdisciplinary discovery process. Students collaborate with one another across disciplines, as well as work alongside our faculty, industry, and non-profit partners. After four years of learning the process of discovery, innovation, and problem-solving, students will be prepared to face the real world. Under this new learning platform, students will graduate from Virginia Tech with the skills and knowledge needed to lead collaborative  sociotechnical innovation and live out our motto Ut Prosim, “That I May Serve.” 

While Calhoun Scholars pursue the Honors Collaborative Discovery Diploma, the Calhoun Discovery Program also provides an opportunity for any Honors-eligible student to experience the CDP’s innovative curriculum through an Honors Laureate Diploma focus area in Collaborative Discovery. Students can choose to pursue the Honors Collaborative Discovery Diploma (HCDD) or the Honors Laureate Collaborative Discovery Diploma (HLDCD) focus area. 

Additional Honors Collaborative Discovery Diploma Information

The HCDD is a full tuition scholarship path and only available to students applying to the program at the same time as they apply to Virginia Tech. It is limited to 14 participating programs and there is a limit of 180 students in this path. There are fourteen participating programs in the CDP spanning engineering, science, business, design, arts, humanities, and policy. 

Students who complete the CDP will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in one of the participating disciplines and an Honors Collaborative Discovery Diploma. All participating programs incorporate the activities of the CDP into their program of study without any adding any additional credits to the overall graduation total.

The Honors Laureate Diploma Collaborative Discovery (HLDCD) focus area is open to any Honors eligible student in any major at Virginia Tech. There is a limit of 120 students in this path. To work towards the HLDCD, students will follow an established checksheet for this focus area and fulfill requirements for each of the four elements of the Honors Laureate Diploma.

To begin exploring the HLDCD focus area, Honors eligible students should enroll in  Studio+. This course has been designed to enhance Virginia Tech’s leadership in transdisciplinary and trans-sector education in collaborative sociotechnical innovation. 

Visit the Student Experience page for more details about the CDP programs components and requirements. 

If so, the Calhoun Discovery Program is looking for multi-faceted explorers like you.

This program is an innovative platform of collaborative learning that brings different students together to imagine, experiment, and discover.

Full Tuition Scholarship

We know that worrying about finances stifles imagination and innovation. We want any student, regardless of their household income, to participate. By bringing together committed donors, industry, and the university, the Calhoun Discovery Program will support students pursuing the Collaborative Discovery Diploma for all four years of their undergraduate education. Those accepted to the program will be given an annual scholarship of up to $14,000 (in-state) and $32,500 (out-of-state) to fully cover tuition costs. In addition, each student will receive an experiential learning grant of $10,000 to be used throughout the student’s four years in the program.


Participating Programs of Study for the CDP Collaborative Discovery Diploma

Business Information Technology, Business Management, Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial Design, Communication, Environmental Policy & Planning, Smart and Sustainable Cities, Creative Technologies, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Graphic Design, and Professional & Technical Communication.

How to apply

To apply, simply check the “Honors College” box on your VT Undergraduate Admissions application. There is no separate application for the Calhoun Discovery Program.



Please contact us to learn more about the program. Call our Program Manager Michelle Kovac at 540-231-8211, email, or fill out this form.


A Boeing Exec's $20 Million Bet on Teaching College Students to Think

Not enough workers can see the big picture beyond the screen in front of them. The Virginia Tech Honors College Calhoun Discovery Program aims to teach students that problem-solving requires both sides of the brain.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun visits with students at the Calhoun Discovery Program at Virginia Tech last December.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun visits with students at the Calhoun Discovery Program at Virginia Tech last December.