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 from three to five 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 live and learn together 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 wherever you go in your life.

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 LASP with a 3.6 GPA or higher are guaranteed sophomore admission to the Honors College. We also prepare students to do research and other hands-on immersive activities. 

• 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. 

NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications through the online Slate form. If you have questions about LASP, please contact Cathy 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 2019

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

Admission is by application. For further information, contact:

Professor Eve Alexandra
(802) 656-4039

Arts Application Question: 
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? 


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

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 in UVM's suite-style Living and Learning residence hall. 

Earth & Environmental Scholars Courses 2019

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

Admission is by application. For further information, contact:

Professor Cheryl Morse
(802) 656-2106

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

"I honestly don’t think I could have accomplished so much in my life if it not been for my time spent in the Humanities program. Beyond just the great education I got in those classes, it was so instrumental in teaching me the importance of community when it comes to humanities and the arts, which is something I seek out now as an adult. My biggest take away from the program was that building relationships with others who have similar intellectual and artistic interests, and finding ways to collaborate with and support them, is the best way to expand upon one’s own endeavors.” -- Stefani D., English major, class of 2011 (now a widely published author)

This program prompts students to think about the defining experience of the 20th century--urbanization and life 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.

Courses may include:

• Tales from the Global City
• London: Global Cosmopolitanism
• Utopian and Dystopian Cities in World Cinema
• Ghosts in the City: Asia

Admission is by application

Ignacio López-Vicuña
(802) 656-0939

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.

Social Science Scholars

***Please Note: Applications are now closed for this program.***

"'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 2019 Courses

Past courses have included:

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

Admission is by application. For further information, contact:

Professor Luis A. Vivanco
(802) 656-1184

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.

Life Science Scholars

***Please Note: Applications are now closed for this program.***

“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 the latest Nobel-prize winning science through a discussion-based, writing-intensive seminar. In the spring semester, students have a dedicated research course in which they engage in all aspects of research: literature, reading and discussion, data processing, analysis, interpretation and scientific writing, and communication. 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.)

Past courses include:

• BCOR 011
• CHEM 031
• MATH 019
• BIOL 095

Admission is by application

For further information, contact:
Professor Laura May-Collado
(802) 656-2922

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.

World Languages Scholars

Designed for students who are passionate about foreign languages and cultures, the World Languages Scholars (WLS) Program examines the dynamics of language from a variety of regional, disciplinary, and scholarly perspectives. Each semester, students in the program take one course in a foreign language of their choice and one common course. Additionally, in the Fall, students enroll in the LASP Colloquium (one credit) where they learn about the larger interdisciplinary research of faculty and scholars at UVM and beyond.

The fall semester common course examines translation as a powerful vehicle for the sharing of sacred, scientific, artistic, and economic content across communities and cultures, investigating translation controversies concerning the bible, Greek epic, literary classics, modern masterpieces, film, television, digital media, and online content in the age of the internet.

The spring semester common course explores humor, focusing on jokes and laughter, but also other concepts like comedy, irony, satire, ridicule, parody, mockery, scorn, and the ludicrous. Working with different sources (from printed texts to TV series and stand-up comedy), the course examines the linguistic mechanism of humor, its social function and potential universality.

WLS students have opportunities to share their knowledge about world cultures and language at UVM as well as after they graduate. Housed in the Living/Learning Center, WLS students are in close proximity to the foreign language houses for sophomores and juniors, making for easy engagement in collaborative cultural and educational activities. Indeed, students who complete LASP often go on to create and lead their own themed learning programs in subsequent years. Academically, students in LASP build close relationships with faculty, providing a springboard to explore opportunities in research, internships, and study abroad. After UVM, students with foreign language and cultural expertise go on to travel the world and make a difference globally. Whether working in non-profit, education, the business sector, locally or transnationally, WLS students bring their understanding of world affairs, global cultural flows, and international relations to careers in an increasingly globalizing world.

Courses may include:

  • Translation Theory & Practice
  • Deconstructing Humor

Admission is by application

For further information, contact:
Professor Kyle Ikeda
(802) 656-1044

WLS Application Question: WLS is designed for students who are committed to deep study of a foreign language, and who want to build a community around language learning and exploration. Please describe your past experience in studying a foreign language, what language you intend to study at UVM, and why this program is particularly appealing to you.


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 in the Living/Learning Center.

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.”

Application Details

These programs are designed for highly motivated first-year students with strong academic records. Admission to the program is by application and space is limited. Students eligible to apply must be admitted for fall 2020 in the College of Arts & Sciences. Decisions will be released on a rolling basis, typically within two to three weeks of applying.

NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications through the online Slate form. If you have questions about LASP, please contact Cathy Diamond