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 brings together a diverse and select group of students from all five of LMU’s colleges with an innovative and dedicated faculty. Like LMU at large, we emphasize a whole-person education in service of creating a better world for all. Honors students set themselves apart by their desire to tackle exceptional challenges that stretch their intellectual and creative abilities beyond what they are required to do. Honors students have extra requirements such as learning a second language, attending numerous co-curricular events, and writing a senior thesis. A tight-knit community—with smaller than usual core curriculum classes that emphasize discussion over lecture, one-on-one access to faculty for intellectual conversation and mentorship, and special Honors programming beyond the classroom—provides extraordinary support for remarkable accomplishments.
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 University Honors Program, part of your LMU education will take place in what is called the core curriculum—a sequence 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 similar but more intensive series of core courses than the general LMU core. 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 topics more deeply and with greater intellectual challenge, and to 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 with the Honors core and read descriptions of past Honors courses.
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 University Honors Program encourages learning both in and beyond class by providing students with many co-curricular intellectual opportunities. These include talks and panel discussions by experts across disciplines, field excursions with professors, and 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 boundaries of what we know, creating new knowledge and expanding our collective imagination. As part of their senior theses, and often earlier, all Honors students conduct original academic research and/or produce creative work.
The University Honors Program provides grants to fund student research and creative projects locally and globally (recent destinations include China, Australia, Finland, Greece, Japan, Northern Ireland, and South Africa). Through Honors Program support, more than half our students present their work at LMU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium or at 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 first-year Honors Living and Learning Community (LLC). We also have LLCs for upperclass Honors students. These LLCs allow our students to live in the same residence hall, take 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. Please note that the locations and accommodations of Honors LLCs change from time to time, so that the video reflects the nature of the community within the LLCs but not necessarily the physical space.
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 SHAC, the Student Honors Advisory Council, which is represented by an executive board elected by the student body. SHAC E-board works closely with the Honors faculty leadership team to shape a 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 that shapes 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 that stretch their abilities; those who are excited to ask difficult questions and work hard to solve them; 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 because they love to develop themselves. It is a community of scholars who read, write, observe, and analyze the world in order to find meaning and purpose.
We intentionally cultivate a vibrant and diverse Honors student body. What all Honors students have in common is welcoming challenges and problems as ways of honing their minds and deepening their hearts. 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 advanced placement 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. Honors students have chosen before coming to LMU to challenge themselves to greater levels of accomplishment than others have required them to do and are motivated to continue doing so in their college experience.