About the University Honors Program
“We focus and fuel the intellectual potential and curiosity of our community
to empower passionate leaders who are uniquely equipped to reimagine and reshape our world.”
What is the University Honors Program at LMU?
The University Honors Program is a diverse community of curious students and faculty from all five of LMU’s colleges who are connected by a love of learning and intellectual immersion, curiosity that spans disciplinary boundaries, and the joy of creating and sharing new ideas. Like LMU at large, we emphasize a whole-person education in service of creating a better world for all—however, the Honors Program takes that concept further by providing students with even smaller classes, a unique and interdisciplinary curriculum, access to innovative and dedicated faculty, one-on-one mentorship of research and creative work, and a tight-knit community of similarly enthusiastic student scholars.
Check out this Honors student-produced video
(made entirely from Student-submitted clips during the 2020 Covid remote school year!)
What makes Honors different?
Three features differentiate the Honors Program from the general LMU experience:
1. Core Curriculum
Honors courses feature seminar discussions, innovative and engaged faculty, and interdisciplinary topics
Whether or not you are part of the Honors Program, part of your LMU education will take place in what is called the “core curriculum”—a set of courses that introduce you to a breadth of topics, teach foundational skills and abilities, and connect themes from different disciplines to answer life’s big questions. Honors students take a different set of core courses from the general LMU core, with about half of these courses in Honors-dedicated sections. The Honors core involves the same number of classes as the regular core, so it still allows plenty of room for exploration in electives, minors, or second majors. The difference is that Honors core courses are discussion-based seminars taught by LMU’s most talented faculty members, emphasize active student engagement, and are taken with other Honors students. While LMU classes are capped around 30 students, Honors classes are capped at 15, giving you a chance to investigate course topics more deeply and connect with faculty and fellow students more meaningfully. You can explore the Honors core further on the Honors website, where you can see a comparison of the regular LMU core and the Honors core and read past Honors course descriptions.
2. Intellectual immersion outside the classroom
Traditional academic settings often create artificial boundaries between the classroom and students’ daily lives—learning happens at a desk, life happens outside. The Honors Program encourages learning both in and outside class by providing students with many extracurricular intellectual opportunities. These include talks and panel discussions by experts across disciplines, field excursions with professors, as well as opportunities and funding for student research and creative work with one-to-one faculty mentorship. We encourage students not just to learn what others have discovered in the past, but to push the boundary of what we know, creating new knowledge and expanding our collective imagination. As part of their Thesis, and often earlier, all Honors students engage in original academic research and/or produce creative work. Our program funds student projects locally and globally (recent destinations include China, Australia, Finland, Greece, Japan, N. Ireland, and South Africa). Through Honors Program support, more than half of our students present their work at LMU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium or national and international conferences.
The Honors community comes together for talks and events such as the very popular “60 Second Lectures”
Honors students maintained their community while studying abroad in Bonn, Germany
Ask our students what aspect of Honors has meant the most to them and they consistently answer, “community.” Our program fosters a tight-knit community among students and faculty from the first day students arrive to campus.
The majority of our first-year students live in the Honors Living and Learning Community in LMU’s brand new dorm, Palm North. We also have a second-year LLC in the Rains suites, and third- and fourth-year LLCs in the Leavey apartments. These “LLCs” allow our students to live in the same residence hall, take 1-2 Core courses with their Honors peers each semester, and participate in activities that connect them to each other, to faculty, and to the larger Los Angeles community. Often, you can find Honors students in the study rooms of these LLCs helping each other with classwork or debating a topic from a speaker or panel. Honors students produced a video about LLC life, which you can watch here.
Aside from the LLCs, Honors hosts many formal and informal community building initiatives and events. For example, our “Big-Little” peer-mentoring program is so successful that our students are often heard referring to their Big-Little “families,” comprised of “Grand-bigs” and sometimes “Little-twins.” Additionally, students have unique opportunities to connect with each other and Honors faculty through formal and informal gatherings (including weekly “Caffeine & Carbs” in the Honors Lounge), the extremely popular Etiquette Dinner, and a slew of other events. Immediate friendships spark in the first days of Honors Summit and develop into life-long connections over the four years of shared Honors experience.
All Honors students are members of the , which is represented by an elected by the student body. SHAC E-board works closely with the Honors Leadership Team to shape strategic vision for the program, plan and implement events, and also independently organizes social events for the Honors Community. Representatives from each first-year cohort are elected to SHAC E-Board at the beginning of each year, so there are plenty of chances to get involved, gain leadership experience, and to make an impact shaping your community.
Honors fosters an environment of collaboration, support, and interdisciplinary research and coursework
Who is the Honors Program for?
An Honors Theological Inquiry class on an excursion to the Norton Simon Museum
At its core, the University Honors Program truly is a community. It is a community of naturally curious, self-motivated students who love learning. It is a community of students of the world: those who embrace the challenge of finding creative solutions or approaches to problems; those who are excited to ask the big questions; those who crave a liberal-arts, holistic approach to education, no matter their chosen major or field; those who pursue intellectual interests outside of class. It is a community of scholars who read, write, and engage with observations and analysis of the world—simply because they enjoy doing so.
We intentionally cultivate a vibrant and diverse Honors student body. Honors students come from all backgrounds, have a diversity of interests and perspectives, and arrive with a wide variety of high school experience and preparation. Whether or not you took Honors or AP courses or were involved in honors societies in high school is irrelevant to us; our goal is to unlock and amplify your potential for thinking, sharing, doing, and creating great things.