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Breakthrough Scholars Program

Students posing outside on Clemson campus.

See Yourself in STEM

Keeping Our Top STEM Students in South Carolina

The Breakthrough Scholars Program provides financial support and dedicated academic and professional development for a select group of undergraduate STEM majors who reside in state and show interest in pursuing advanced degrees.

Scholars arrive on campus from communities throughout the state, given the program’s focus on educating and keeping our top STEM students in South Carolina.

Breakthrough Scholars receive a cost-of-attendance scholarship award and exclusive academic, personal, and professional development support, including a dedicated advisor and the opportunity to connect with local-area professionals in science, engineering, and health, as well as faculty mentors in research labs both on and off campus, across the nation, and in other countries.

Scholars also spend the summer before their first year getting familiar with Clemson's campus and its surrounding communities (while also getting an early start on their research) through our innovative EUREKA! program, meeting Breakthrough Scholar faculty mentors and advisors, and participating in STEM workshops.


If you have any questions about the Breakthrough Scholars Program, please email

A group of Breakthrough Scholars working together in a classroom.

Program Mission and Priorities


The Breakthrough Scholars Program aims to recruit and support a select and talented group of students from South Carolina in pursuing advanced degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Breakthrough Scholars are a small community of highly talented students who are leaders within their communities and have a desire to effect change through research, collaboration, and innovation in the STEM disciplines.

The Breakthrough Scholars Program provides financial, academic, professional, and emotional support throughout their undergraduate careers to prepare them to reach their academic and professional goals.

Program Priorities

  • Recruit the top high school students in the state.
  • Provide a full cost of attendance financial award to allow students to focus on academics and research throughout the academic year.
  • Help students with the transition to college by providing a Summer Experience before their first year.
  • Provide personalized advising by program staff, focused on not just academics but on personal well-being and professional development.
  • Create a community of engaged scholars and mentors which acts as an academic and social support system for program members.
  • Encourage community engagement and leadership among scholars.
  • Provide the opportunity to connect with mentors within the program, on campus, and in the community.
  • Nurture support at all levels of the university and Clemson Community.
  • Expose scholars to research early and encourage engagement in research and experiential learning throughout their Clemson careers.
  • Emphasize and enact program values, including the goal of achieving an advanced STEM degree, striving for high-level academic achievement, seeking help (tutoring, advising) from a variety of sources, and supporting one’s peers.