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About University Honors

The mission of the Loyola University Honors Program is to provide an enriching academic environment that fosters a strong sense of community and challenges our students to utilize their gifts to become men and women for and with others.    

Drawing students from all four of Loyola’s undergraduate colleges, the University Honors Program (UHP) offers a diverse and engaging curriculum imparted by outstanding faculty.  Our small, interdisciplinary seminars encourage discussion, collaboration and critical thinking, while our co-curricular community engagement and social activities are designed to build and develop relationships among our students, and with faculty and staff, as well.  Throughout their four years, Honors students can take advantage of a range of experiential learning opportunities, including collaborative research and scholarship with faculty, study abroad, and internships in New Orleans and beyond.

The UHP is open to qualified students of all majors. Honors courses replace required introductory Common Curriculum classes and many advanced Common Curriculum requirements throughout the four undergraduate years.  Consequently, the Honors’ curriculum does not add to the number of requirements for graduation. 

The UHP challenges you to think, and to discern how to transform your thoughts into action.  Given the challenges facing our community, local and global, our program is based on the premise that Honors students have an obligation to use their intellectual, emotional and other gifts  to develop an understanding of the world in its complexities.  Our graduates emerge from the UHP with the ability to listen to and engage with divergent opinions, the critical thinking skills to effect workable compromises and solutions to challenges, and a moral compass tuned to the ethical implications of actions.

At the heart of our academic curriculum is the Honors core sequence, capped by a senior thesis in the student’s major area of study.  The four courses include:

1.     The first year interdisciplinary humanities writing intensive seminar;

2.     The  1-credit “Ignatian Colloquium;”

3.     The social science community-engaged “Social Justice” research seminar;

4.     The Honors ethics seminar.

In combination with the additional Honors disciplinary seminar requirements, this curriculum is designed to form in Honors students, over several years, a greater understanding of justice and of their personal agency in effecting transformation, as well as to enhance their academic skills and leadership abilities.  It also results in the success experienced by Loyola Honors graduates, who routinely complete  prestigious graduate and professional programs, are awarded national scholarships such as the Fulbright, and gain prominent positions in the public and private sector.

Students newly admitted to Loyola with a 3.5 or higher high school GPA and test scores of at least 1300 (SAT) or 29 (ACT) are encouraged to apply for admission to the University Honors Program.  Students who do not meet those standards but believe they will benefit from and contribute to the program should complete the application and submit it with a writing sample that reflects their best high school effort.

Students currently enrolled at Loyola who wish to join the UHP should have a 3.3 or higher university GPA and should schedule an appointment with the UHP director.

Once accepted into the University Honors Program, students are required to maintain a 3.3 grade point average.

For more information about how the University Honors Program at Loyola University New Orleans lives out the Ignatian mission of the university, you may read the “Essential Characteristics of a Jesuit Honors Program.”


Implemented in Fall 2013, the new University Honors Program Curriculum consists of a writing-intensive and Ignatian-focused core curriculum, including a First-Year Seminar, a one credit hour Ignatian Colloquium (taken in the first semester), a Social Justice Seminar (taken in the second or third year), and Ethics; Honors seminars in English, philosophy, religious studies, history, social/behavioral science, natural science, mathematics, and fine arts that replace ICC and at least some ACC requirements; and six honors credits in the major, including at least three credit hours of senior thesis. At least 21 credit hours must be completed with Honors credits, in addition to the six credits in the major (including a minimum of three credits of thesis).

Most Honors courses are small, thematic seminars with an emphasis on writing and discussion. As part of our Jesuit tradition, the courses are value-centered and aim at establishing interdisciplinary connections. View our current course descriptions »

Co-Curricular Activities

Honors students can be found pursuing majors in each of Loyola University New Orleans' four colleges, engaging in a wide variety of extracurricular activities and participating as members of many student organizations. Many Honors students are active and have leadership positions in university clubs, intercollegiate and intramural sports, fraternities and sororities, and student government activities.  

But the University Honors Program is not merely a checklist of experiences, it is a community of relationships.  Honors students commonly develop a strong sense of bonding and camaraderie with other Honors students, as they share intense intellectual experiences, study and relax together in the Honors “Castle” and “Tower” in Monroe Library or in the Honors Themed Living Community, and participate in Honors co-curricular activities. Many Honors students view these relationships with their peers as one of the most important benefits of membership in the University Honors Program.

This emphasis on community extends beyond the walls of our campus.  While Honors students are involved in a wide range of Loyola’s service and engagement programs, including LUCAP’s Ignatian Volunteers immersion programs in Jamaica and Belize [hot link], the UHP has developed two signature programs that reflect the Honors mission of using our gifts to be men and women for and with others.  Through our partnership with Elevate, Honors students provide ACT and subject tutoring to athletically talented high school athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Participants in Mission Imprint help provide literacy skills to every k-2 student at a local charter school where 100% of the students live in poverty. These two programs require long-term commitments and offer opportunities for increasing responsibility and growth.

All Honors students are automatically members of the University Honors Association (UHA).This student organization advises the Director and University Honors Advisory Board on academic and co-curricular issues, and plans social activities, such as the annual Honors Laser Tag Outing (fall) and Mardi Gras Ball (spring).  Service and Community Engagement are an important component of UHA activities, both through limited events (such as the annual hygiene drive for homeless women) and on-going community partnerships (for example, the tutoring programs described above).

As a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, the UHP provides the opportunity for Honors students to participate in the annual national honors conference, at which they can present papers, attend workshops, and interact with Honors students from all over the country.  Loyola got more involved when the Honors Director, Naomi Yavneh, and UHP member Mara Steven ’15 were both elected to the NCHC Board.  They were the only faculty-student pair on the board, and also the only representatives of a Jesuit institution.  And in March 2015, the UHP hosted the annual conference of the AJCU Honors Consortium. This conference welcomed to New Orleans representatives from each of our 27 fellow Jesuit institutions.