Membership in the University Honors Program offers many unique opportunities and rewards; it also carries unique responsibilities and expectations. Maintaining the community that makes Honors worthwhile requires an understanding of our shared prosperity and active contribution to our common mission. Our community is diverse in background, interests, perspective, and goals. Yet, we are bonded by common values of insatiable curiosity, the intrinsic love of learning, the search for and creation of knowledge, the pursuit of excellence, and the desire to solve meaningful problems. Like any community, there is a distinction between those within and outside—it is a logical axiom that in order for a thing to exist, there must also exist things that are not it. And while Honors Program members are always also part of many other communities (especially here at LMU), belonging to this particular community brings with it a set of expectations that are distinctive and which differentiate members from non-members beyond initial admittance into the program.
The Honors Program is not an honor roll. Your academic achievements will continue to be recognized by honor societies, the Dean’s list, and cum laude graduation honors; the University Honors Program, however, is about much more than academic outcomes.
There are several concrete requirements for Honors students during their time at LMU:
- completing the unique set of Honors core courses,
- developing and demonstrating proficiency in a second language (see below),
- maintaining good academic standing with Honors,
- regularly attending Honors intellectual and social ("Passport") events,
- and completing an original research or creative thesis under faculty mentorship.
Beyond these concrete requirements, we expect Honors students to play an active role in shaping and sustaining our community, and to use the distinctive opportunities of Honors in service of creating a better, more equitable and sustainable world.
Second language proficiency
Honors requires that our students demonstrate or develop proficiency in a second language. The reasons for this are many: to facilitate global citizenship, to expand our ways of thinking, to increase our well of words, concepts, and ideas from which insights may ignite, and to further develop our critical thinking and reasoning skills. Honors students have several paths to fulfilling the second language requirement:
- Taking two semesters of a language at a college level (at LMU, the 2101 and 2102 level language courses)
- Testing into the 2103-level language course at LMU (based on the placement exam upon admission to LMU)
- Earning a 4 or 5 on an AP language exam
- Individual proficiency demonstration for languages not tested by LMU (when possible; consult with the Honors office)
- For international students, a passing score on the TOEFL
Good academic standing
Honors expects that our students maintain academic excellence. In the language of the LMU Bulletin, we expect consistently "superior" and not merely "good" academic work. This equates to earning mostly As with few Bs. However, we are moving to a holistic assessment process that takes into account the totality of a student's Honors engagement and experience, as well as self-reflection on the effort and circumstances of a semester in which academic work may have fallen short of expectations. The good standing policy is regularly revised and is available to current Honors students on the Brightspace Honors Community Center.
One of the primary characteristics Honors students share is the understanding that the pursuit of knowledge does not end at the classroom door, and the value of knowledge does not end with its acquisition. As a community, we are united in our restless curiosity and desire to transform knowledge into practical solutions to our world's many problems. In the Honors Program, we call that extracurricular intellectual engagement; one part of that is participation in intellectual events and meaningful service.
We, therefore, expect our members to consistently attend Honors-sponsored events and community events that Honors highlights as being closely tied to our mission and values. Operationally, we use a points system to track attendance. There is a great deal of flexibility on what events can "count" toward the minimum attendance, and Honors students are free to propose Passport status for any event they'd like to go to. Additionally, as part of this intellectual engagement, Honors students are required to engage in at least one service activity per semester (often, Honors students are part of service organizations and complete many activities every semester!).