What's the deal with Special Programs?

The University of Miami hosts four, invitation only special programs for first-year students. What would your four years at the U look like as part of one of these programs?
PRISM, Foote Fellows, HPM, da Vinci

Each of UM's special programs approach academics with a slightly nuanced perspective. They are invite-only, meaning when a high school student submits their application, admission counselors keep their eyes out to identify those who would be a good fit for a particular program.

There are several benefits to accepting an invitation for a special program, and the benefits vary by program and a student’s goals. Across the board, however, most invitees enjoy even smaller class sizes than usual, unique disciplinary crossovers, and access to additional resources for research and internships.

Advanced Program for Integrated Science and Math (PRISM) Honors Program

The Advanced Program for Integrated Science and Math honors program uses smaller, more collaborative classes to surpass memorizing formulas, and instead understand how they come together in medicines, treatments, and technologies with real-world impact.

Invited first year students major in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, microbiology, marine biology, marine science, neuroscience, physics, physical therapy, and other natural sciences, and typically go on to careers in physical sciences, medicine, veterinary medicine, and physical therapy.

With a curriculum that pays special focus on research and community, PRISM students develop research planning skills during their first year so that they can tackle their own original projects at faculty members’ labs. Students who complete the two-year PRISM program receive a $500 stipend for research expenditures, like traveling to present at a conference, covering the cost of supplies, or to cover a period of summer research.

da Vinci Honors Program

The da Vinci Honors Program takes a page out of Leonardo da Vinci’s book to explore the interdisciplinary connections among the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Incoming first-year students within the da Vinci Program are encouraged to rethink the map of human knowledge, emphasizing connections between humanistic and scientific inquiry (much like Leonardo da Vinci did!).

Students graduate with ample experience in modes of understanding like critical analysis, self-reflexivity, the nature of proof, authority and the logic and rhetoric of written expression. STEM-minded students get the opportunity to reflect on questions of human values, ethics, and aesthetics, while humanities-minded students get to conceptualize new means of investigating the traditional fields.

Incoming first-year students do not need to declare a major to be invited to the program, but they must be part of the College of Arts & Sciences.

 Students explore ethical issues facing our society today, using photography and print as a medium of expression. Through the creation of zines, students share their interpretations and knowledge of the topics covered and gain an understanding of the history of current zine culture.

Foote Fellows Honors Program

The Foote Fellows Honors Program recognizes the most academically accomplished incoming first-year students. Foote Fellows have distinguished themselves both inside and outside of the classroom at their previous schools, demonstrate that they are self-motivated, and think independently.

Within the curricular framework of their school or college, Foote Fellows have practically unmatched flexibility to explore a multitude of educational resources. Many leverage this opportunity to take additional majors and/or minors and study abroad. All nine undergraduate school and college have a dedicated Foote Fellow advisor to help a student chart their academic path and attain access to distinctive learning opportunities, like special school-based seminars, faculty-mentored research, networking opportunities, and off-campus internships.

Foote Fellows also receive focused advising on post-baccalaureate distinguished fellowships and awards.

Health Professions Mentoring (HPM) Program

The Health Professions Mentoring Program is designed to prepare and strongly position incoming first-year students for admission to medical school through an enriched curriculum and academic and professional mentoring throughout their four years of undergraduate study.

HPM faculty and staff prepare students to be competitive applicants to any medical school of their choice by graduation through exclusive hands-on and engaging courses, mentoring, professional development activities, monthly networking with medical profession guests, early access to course registration, enriched curriculum, and an MCAT course.

Please note that the HPM Program is currently limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.