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

APPLYING TO LASP

Apply Now

These programs are designed for highly motivated first-year students with strong academic records. To apply, students must first be admitted to UVM’s College of Arts & Sciences for Fall 2023 through the Admissions Office.

Admission to a program is by application, and asks for 2-3 brief essays in response to question prompts. Most questions can be answered in about 400-600 words. All applicants answer a common question and then 1-2 questions posed specifically by the director of the program they are applying to. Essay responses help us identify students who might be a good fit for LASP. This year’s common question is: What appeals to you and what do you bring to a program in which students share a common area of interest, academic coursework and living environment?

Timing:

The application is now open.

Applications received by 2/15 will get a decision about 3/1.

Applications received by 3/15 will get a decision about 4/1.

Applications received by 4/1 will get a decision about 4/15.

Applications received after 4/1 will be reviewed on a space-available basis with decisions released as available.

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 2022 & Spring 2023

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
Eve.Alexandra@uvm.edu
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 you 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 2022 & Spring 2023

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:

David Massell, Professor of History
David.Massell@uvm.edu
Read more about David on the History website

EES Application question:
EES is designed for students who are interested in the environment. Craft a short autobiography (i.e. tell us the story of YOU) which makes clear your interest in the environment and how you came to that interest.

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 2022 & Spring 2023

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
ilopezvi@uvm.edu
Meet Ignacio (YouTube)

Humanities Application Question:
Explain how a book, work of 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 2022 & Spring 2023

Past courses include:

Nobel Prize –winning Science

Apply Now

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

Life Science Application Question
A liberal arts education is distinguished from a professional education in taking a broad, interdisciplinary approach incorporating viewpoints from such diverse fields as the arts, philosophy, economics, mathematics, history, social and physical sciences, etc. Please describe a recent scientific discovery you have read about in the news and describe how considering this discovery from the viewpoint of different disciplines can help guide our understanding of this discovery and make wise decisions about how to use it. Explain how studying the life sciences through an interdisciplinary lens is important to your own educational goals.

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 2022 & Spring 2023

 

Past courses have included:

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

Apply Now

For further information, contact:

Caroline Beer, Professor of Political Science
Caroline.Beer@uvm.edu
Read more about Caroline on the Political Science website

Social Sciences Application Questions:

1. The Social Science Scholars Program is designed for students who want to understand critical social problems from an interdisciplinary social science perspective. What problem most interests you? Why? Describe your personal and academic experience with this issue.

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?

 

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 2023 seminar, Frames of Remembrance: Post-Memory Generations and the Graphic Novel, explores a range of graphic novels that grapple with the devastation of war, ancestral trauma, and political oppression from the Holocaust through to the end of the Cold War, and looks at what the medium of the graphic novel offers.

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:

  • Translation Theory & Practice
  • Deconstructing Humor

World Language Scholars Courses Fall 2022 & Spring 2023

Apply Now

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

WLS Application Question

  1. Describe your language learning experiences thus far. What motivated you to study a new language and culture and what continues to motivate you? What have you found challenging and how have you responded?
  2. In Norwegian, “utepils” refers to drinking a beer outside on a sunny day. In Japanese, there is a noun that specifically refers to the splittable wooden chopsticks you get at take-out restaurants. The German verb “verschlimmbessern” describes the phenomenon of accidentally making something worse while trying to improve it. These and other words require explanation to properly communicate their meaning in a different language and culture, and are, to varying degrees, “untranslatable.” What word or concept do you consider untranslatable? Choose a word from any language/culture (even English!). Then, explain what it means and why it cannot or should not be translated from its original language.

 

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.

 

 

peacepaper_class_UVM_LASP

In Their Own Voice – Students reflect on LASP

I came to UVM from Minnesota, so I didn’t know anyone coming into my freshman year. I applied in hopes of being a part of a community so that I would feel a sense of belonging, and that is exactly what I got. Living with and around my peers in LASP was extremely beneficial. I was surrounded by people who I could collaborate with, and my closest friends ended up being the people right across the hall. (Emily H.)

When I first applied to this program it was purely for educational reasons. I wanted to make sure I had the best possible resource to succeed at college. What I didn’t realize is that I would end up meeting some of my best friends and getting so much out of the program… the classes were extremely formative for me in helping me realize the path I wanted to take in college...the professors were amazing teachers and mentors, and I am so grateful that I got to work with and learn from them this year. One thing that I did not realize when coming into the program was how much I would like the people in it. When coming into college I was nervous about making friends and liking the people I was living with. However, in this program I have made life-long friends who I am so happy I met. It really helps to be taking the same classes as the people you live with because they can help you better understand the material you are learning. We have had so many adventures in our first year at college and I am excited for the next three. I highly recommend the LASP program to anyone who wants meaningful friendships and a great academic experience. (Kelsey N.)

The transition into college can easily be over whelming and intimidating, as you are often stepping outside of your comfort zone, exposing yourself to new places and new experiences… (LASP) was an extremely influential part of my introduction to college, as it gave me an immediate community as well as a foundation to build upon. (Rea F.)

(LASP) lets you make a close-knit group of friends that you see constantly and can study with and help. Not only that, but everyone is living in the same area too, so it’s very easy to interact. I’d have to say that this is what I enjoyed the most about being part of LASP. It really allowed you to connect with people consistently and create a close network of friends from day one… Overall, I had a great experience with LASP since it really allowed me to connect with my community on a level that is definitely different than what I expected from college and this program. (Zach L.)

Being a member of the LASP community has made my freshman year much better than I could have expected. I hadn’t been to Vermont, or even the east coast really, when I committed to UVM. Coming all the way from Chicago, I was a little worried about finding people to make this school feel a little more like home. With LASP, I was able to live with and around other people in the program with similar majors, and we quickly became close friends. We all had many of the same classes throughout the year, so we could study together... I am so happy to have chosen to be in LASP, both for the academic opportunities and the close-knit community I had as I found my footing in this first year of college. (Luca A.)