students in a study group

Explore with purpose and passion.

What’s the meaning of life? How do we create a just society? What defines beauty? What is our place in the natural world? How does science move society forward? If you have a passion for really big questions like these, the Liberal Arts Scholars Program (LASP) is a rewarding choice. In this first-year program, you will take a series of integrated courses exploring core moral, aesthetic, social, environmental and scientific issues. The program launches your undergraduate education through deep exploration into the big questions faced by humans since antiquity—questions we grapple with today.

Do it Together.

LASP offers residentially-based seminars, which means you spend your first year of college living and learning with passionate, like-minded peers who share your interest in thoroughly exploring topics from many different points of view, in several integrated classes. The conversations don’t stop when classes are over—they continue through shared meals, in your residence hall, and through many structured and unstructured activities throughout the year. The community you build is deep and lasting—a community you will take with you for your next three years of college and beyond.

Go Broad and Deep.

LASP offers six separate options, in the humanities, fine arts, social sciences, the earth and environment, world languages and the natural sciences. In all six programs your courses are taught by award-winning faculty from a variety of disciplines who explore similar intellectual terrain using different lenses. The result is a rich academic experience that strengthens your intellectual, creative and expressive abilities.

Pathways to Honors

LASP serves as a springboard to continued high-level academic experiences at UVM. Students who complete all LASP requirements and have a 3.7 GPA or higher in their first two semesters at UVM are eligible for sophomore admission to the UVM Honors College. LASP students interested in joining the Honors College are required to submit an application and note their current enrollment in LASP on the application. We also prepare students to do research and other hands-on immersive activities. Note: For the LASP class of 2021-22, the gpa required is 3.6.

Choosing LASP for your first year means you:

  • learn and study with some of the best students at UVM, in one of the university’s most challenging and intellectually rigorous first-year programs
  •  begin building close relationships with your professors and peers, relationships that can last a lifetime
  •  hone your study habits and skills in critical thinking, writing, and communication which will support your success in future years


These programs are designed for highly motivated first-year students with strong academic records. Admission to a program is by application. To apply, students must first be admitted to UVM’s College of Arts & Sciences for the Fall through the Admissions Office. The application process opens in early 2023.  If you have any questions about LASP or the application process, please contact Catharine Diamond.


Liberal Arts Scholars Programs:

Arts Scholars

"The extraordinary and welcoming individuals within the Arts Scholars program have become my second family — my home away from home. Everyone in the program brings to the table unique stories and perspectives, and the professors are eager to positively impact my time at UVM . . . When I started at UVM I was unsure what I wanted to major in; I knew I wanted to study something creative, but wasn’t sure how or what. The Arts Scholars program helped me to discover my enthusiasm and passion for filmmaking and pursue a major in Film and Television Studies." -- Jordan Mitchell

The Arts Scholars program is designed for adventurous and disciplined students seeking to broaden their understanding of the creative process by working in a variety of artistic media: film and television, music, theatre, creative writing, visual art, and dance. Students enroll in two classes per semester (four over the full year) which complement one another and relate to an overarching annual theme. Course work is both studio-based and scholarly, giving students hands-on experience as well as the opportunity to collaborate and examine the history, practice, theory, criticism, integration, social relevance, and connectivity of varied creative forms. Students and faculty travel together to destinations such as artist studios in the Adirondacks and The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, exploring work and experiences that enrich our classroom discussions and creative processes.

Arts Scholars become leaders in creating, showcasing, and cultivating the arts through classes, exhibits, performances and other events, both within the university and within the greater community. Students work collaboratively to design and implement a community art project that engages with important social issues. Community partners may include Burlington City Arts, local museums, the Flynn Center, Waterfront Theater, the Vermont International Film Festival, Vermont Stage Company, local music groups, and other arts organizations and venues.

Arts Scholars Courses Fall 2021 & Spring 2022

Past AS courses have included:

• Performance and Environment
• Movement and Improvisation
• Musical Avant-Gardes: Sun Ra, John Cage, and Beyond
• Creative Writing: Writing Experimental World Poetry
• Archive Fever: Film Begets Film
• Art and Aesthetics
• Bookmaking
• Acting

Apply Now

For further information, contact:

Eve Alexandra, Professor of English
Read more about Eve on the English website
Meet Eve (YouTube)


Arts Application Questions: 

  1. How does creativity inform your identity? Please describe your creative interests and activities, and how you think the Arts Scholars program could be important to your undergraduate education. How do you intend to challenge yourself as an artist and a scholar? 
  2. Over the past few years students in the Arts Scholars program have studied the work of artists and writers such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Danez Smith, and Eileen Myles. Artists and writers may push a viewer or reader out of their “comfort zone” and challenge established ways of thinking on subjects such as race, sexuality, beauty, and identity. Important and innovative works often challenge our very idea of what constitutes art. Can you identify a work of art that pushed you out of your “comfort zone”? Is there a painting, a poem, a performance, or a song that radically challenged your way of looking at the world? How would respond if you encountered such an artist or writer in an Arts Scholars classroom? Can you imagine pushing at boundaries and conventions in your own work?


Earth and Environment Scholars

"Participation in the Earth and Environment program has been one of the high points of my teaching career at UVM. This intensive program allows instructors and students to get to know each other as individuals keenly interested in similar topics, and a synergistic learning effect is created when what is acquired in one course complements content in a second course. It is a pleasure to work within a community of learners." -- Dr. Cheryl Morse, Former Director

Tackling today’s pressing global environmental issues requires interdisciplinary perspectives and deep understandings of place and process. EES engages highly motivated students in opportunities to explore human-environment connections by taking three to four classes over their first year in the earth sciences, environmental humanities, and critical social sciences. This approach involves field-based and applied learning in Vermont’s varied landscapes, while in-class work spans local to global scales. This broad set of classes ensures students meet several College distribution requirements in small, personable classes. Further, students engage in other learning and social activities with the larger community of LASP students who are housed together. 

Earth & Environmental Scholars Courses Fall 2021 & Spring 2022

Past EES courses have included:

• Mountain to Lake: Geology of the Lake Champlain Basin
• Water Resources Management in a Changing World
• Place and Environment: The Geography of Vermont
• Sustainability: A Cultural History
• Reading the American Wilderness
• Nature and Democracy
• Politics of Environmentalism

Apply Now

For further information, contact:

Todd (Harlan) Morehouse, Professor of Geography and Geosciences
Read more about Harlan on the Geography and Geosciences website

EES Application question:
EES is designed for students whose interests in the environment range from the geosciences to the humanities and social sciences. We seek to attract a diverse group of students whose interests will broaden the experience of others. Please describe your interest in the environment and in our program in particular.

Humanities Scholars

“Participating in the Humanities LASP has provided me with an expertly-curated body of knowledge and a strong foundation to build the rest of my college experience upon. The content of the program was rich, the professors were compelling and helpful, and it was rewarding to participate in a shared discourse with peers who were passionate about the material.” – Liana L, 2022 Humanities Scholar

This program prompts students to think about the defining experience of the 20th century-- life, art, and culture in the city. Using literature, history and even ghost stories students explore how the development of urban spaces has changed us. Established in 1978, the Humanities program was the first integrated residential academic program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program provides a rich, foundational experience in the liberal arts that benefits students regardless of their major or future career. Students from the program have established careers in law, diplomacy, higher education, medicine, science, ecology, public service, and writing and publishing at all levels.

Humanities Scholars Courses Fall 2021 & Spring 2022

Courses may include:

• Tales from the Global City
• London: Global Cosmopolitanism
• Film Noir, the City & Existentialism
• Ghosts in the City: Asia

Apply Now

Ignacio Lopez Vicuna, Professor of Spanish and World Literature
Read more about Ignacio on the Romance Languages and Cultures website
Meet Ignacio (YouTube)

Humanities Application Question:
Explain how a book, work or art, film or cultural experience has influenced your world view or made you interested in learning more about other world cultures.

Life Science Scholars

“Science is not a series of isolated Eureka! moments. Instead, good science takes time and involves failure, troubleshooting, discussions, re-evaluations, and—yes—frustration. Good science is always challenging; that’s what makes it fascinating.” Dr. Laura May-Collado, Program Director

From healthcare to genetic modification of bacterial populations, the life sciences provide critical information for addressing challenges in animals, plants, ecology, and pointedly human health. In this program, highly motivated students have the opportunity to take their passion for science to the next level through discussion, exploration, and hands-on research opportunities. Throughout the year, students take core science and math courses together, building foundations for a range of majors in the life sciences. In addition, in the fall semester students explore human evolution through a discussion-based, writing-intensive seminar. In the spring semester, students have a dedicated research course in which they engage in reading, synthesis, and discussion of scientific literature as well as in scientific writing. Through the program, students create a dynamic environment for scientific communication, collaboration, and mutual learning. (Note: Life Science Scholars LASP is available only to biology, biological science, neuroscience, plant biology, and zoology majors in the College of Arts & Sciences.).

Common courses

BCOR11, BCOR12, CHEM031, CHEM 32, MATH 019, MATH 20

Life Science Scholars Courses Fall 2021 & Spring 2022

Past courses include:

Nobel Prize –winning Science

Apply Now

For further information, contact:
Dr. Kristin Bishop, Professor of Biology
Read more about Kristin on the Department of Biology website

Life Science Application Question
Describe a scientific news story that has captured your attention recently. What about that story particularly interested you? In your answer, please explain how the story connects to your own scientific goals and possible future contributions to the scientific community.

Social Science Scholars

"'The program is a crash course in critical thinking, complex writing, intense reading, and always interesting group discussion. I can truly say that [the program] has greatly prepared me for the rest of my college career and beyond.'" – former student

Founded in 1993, the Social Science Scholars Program offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the critical social problems that shape the modern world. Rather than providing easy solutions, this program dives into the intertwined social, cultural, political, and economic complexities of social problems through seminars in areas such as anthropology, geography, sociology, political science and economics. Students take three to five courses over their first year. Armed with a critical thinking toolkit and passion for issues such as social justice and equity, social science students often go on to become leaders across campus and in the community on a range of social issues.

Social Science Scholars Courses Fall 2021 & Spring 2022


Past courses have included:

• Culture and Environment
• Capitalism and Human Welfare
• Geography of Global Cities
• Politics of Gender Inequality
• Social Inequality

Apply Now

For further information, contact:

Caroline Beer, Professor of Political Science
Read more about Caroline on the Political Science website

Social Sciences Application Questions:

1.) What are the problems you are most interested in exploring? Please, describe a situation in which you took on a leadership role or some kind of independent initiative to address a social issue, explore an idea, or express creativity.

2.) Are there any specific books, films, research studies, performances, manifestos, visual works or experiences that have already come to shape the way you see the world? What are they and how have they affected your ideas?

3.) The Social Science Scholars Program is designed for students who want to understand critical social problems from the perspective of the social sciences. Please describe your background and interests in (a) the social sciences and (b) any activities you've been involved in that connect to any themes our program touches on--such as social justice, politics, economic trade, sustainability, cultural differences, globalization, urban dynamics, etc. In your answer, please address clearly what social problems or issues interest you, and whether there are particular courses in our program that stand out for you.

World Languages Scholars

"It was a really great way to connect with other people interested in language, and it was fun to live with those same people so we could easily talk outside of class! Coming from a bilingual household, it was nice to live with people who spoke another language as well, even if it wasn’t the same as mine. I’ve also made some really good friends through the program, and had the opportunity to have more personal, engaging interactions with my professors that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise."
-Emilia, former student

“Finding and exploring common ground through the World Languages Scholars program was helpful in making college a little less scary, facilitating communication with your peers, and forming connections.”
 - Maris, former student

The World Languages Scholars (WLS) Program supports students who are passionate about exploring foreign languages and cultures. Each semester, students in the program take one course in a language other than English and one theme-based seminar with the entire cohort.

The fall 2022 seminar, “Now on Netflix!: Producing and Streaming World Culture(s)” examines how Netflix’s transnational and translingual reach affects viewers’ experience of foreign cultures. Working with films and series like Okja, Money Heist, Midnight Diner, and Unorthodox, students explore how Netflix Originals appeal to audiences globally while also addressing key issues of cultural and linguistic diversity.

The spring 2022 seminar, “Not Your Mother’s Fairy Tales: The Making of National Identity” explores the role fairy tales have played and continue to play in the formation of national identity, themselves reflecting core communal practices and deep-seated beliefs. The course guides students as they read and analyze fairy tales in relation to the contested issues of national identity and cultural heritage in Russian-speaking areas, including Ukraine.

Socially, WLS grants students a place where knowledge about world cultures and language at UVM is actively shared and embraced, not only during their freshman year but also after completion of the program. Housed on the Athletic Campus, WLS students live close to the foreign language houses for sophomores and juniors, making for easy engagement in collaborative cultural and educational activities. Indeed, students who have completed the WLS program often go on to create and lead their own themed learning programs in subsequent years at UVM.

Academically, students in LASP build close relationships with faculty working in UVM’s language departments as well as many other departments, providing a springboard to opportunities in research, internships, and study abroad.

After their time at UVM, students with the sorts of linguistic and cultural expertise attained in the WLS program go on to travel the world and make a difference globally. Whether working in non-profit organizations, education, the business, locally and internationally, our students can make real-world use of their insights into language, culture, and the complex relationships between them.

Past Courses Include:

World Language Scholars Courses Fall 2021 & Spring 2022


Apply Now

For further information, contact:
Bridget Levine-West, Professor of German and Film & Television Studies
Read more about Bridget on the German and Russian and Film & TV websites

WLS Application Question: WLS is designed for students who are committed to deep study of foreign culture and language, and who desire to build a community around (cross)-cultural and (cross)-linguistic exploration. In this essay, please describe how an experience in which you engaged with a language/culture other than your own (either in the classroom, through travel, online, or via a novel, film, etc.) has shaped your perception of the role languages play in creating community.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between LASP and the Honors College? Will my LASP classes count toward my degree? Where will I live on campus? Find out the answers to these and other common questions on our Frequently Asked Questions page.




The Fine Art of Connection

Izzy Siedman (pictured above) and her classmates, who together participated in the Peace Paper Project workshop, are part of UVM’s Arts Scholars, one of several College of Arts and Sciences programs designed to help enrich the first-year college experience. Students in these integrated programs take three to four classes together as a cohort, and share a residence.

The artist book class, led by book arts expert and UVM lecturer Steve Kostell, was a recent Arts Scholars course. Others included film, creative writing, and philosophy of art and aesthetics. This immersive fine arts experience, Kostell says, enhances students' ability “to tackle complex problems through exploring a variety of creative solutions.”