The pedagogical philosophy of La Salle University emphasizes the need for a strong basis in the humanities and the development of specific skills for all undergraduates. For this reason, all students are required to complete a set of courses devoted to these ends. Individual academic departments offer students an intensive study in a specific discipline, but only after a majority of the courses in this humanistically based core have been completed.
The curricular structure of the Honors Program follows this general University model, but with modifications that recognize the needs and abilities of the highly motivated and intellectually gifted student. These modifications are primarily in the manner in which the Honors Program student satisfies these essential University-wide requirements.
In the first year of studies, the Honors Program student will complete three Honors courses each term. These courses will be in the disciplines of history, literature, and philosophy and will, over the course of the year, take the student from antiquity to the contemporary period. The professors teaching in this first-year program make every attempt to coordinate their readings and assignments so that, at any particular time during the academic year, the students will be viewing the same period of civilization through the perspective of three different disciplines.
A typical week would have the student spending three hours of class time in each of the three disciplines and three hours of time in a special situation in which an attempt is made to integrate the three seemingly distinct disciplines. This last three-hour period of time brings together all of the students in the program and their professors in a variety of experiences. Some of the sessions will be held on campus and others will make use of the many museums and resources in the Philadelphia area. In recent years this has meant afternoons or evenings spent at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the curator of the medieval collection, at the Arden Theater with the artistic director, or at the National Constitution Center. Each activity is designed to complement and supplement the work of the classroom—a humanities lab, in effect.
Having successfully completed the first year of studies, the Honors Program student is then offered a wide variety of seminars in Honors. These seminars allow the student to study topics, time periods, and areas of interest in considerably more depth, using the broad overview of the first year as a solid foundation upon which to build. Serving as the substitutes for the regular core requirements of the University, these seminars are often crossdisciplinary. In addition, each Honors Program student will be required to complete an independent study project that will be the equivalent of one three-credit course. This will be done on a topic of the student’s choosing (not necessarily in the major) and will be directed by a faculty member.
The total number of courses required in Honors is ordinarily a minimum of 14, including the independent project. One of the courses must be an ethical issues seminar in the student’s major. In addition to the curricular requirements, students are required to maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 and a 3.0 G.P.A. in Honors Program courses to remain active in the Honors Program.
Students who complete all of the requirements of the Honors Program are graduated from La Salle with the special distinction of General University Honors. This distinction is noted on their official transcript, on their diploma, and in a special listing in the Commencement program.
Each year approximately 60 students are admitted to the Honors Program (from a freshman class of approximately 800 students). Invitations are extended to students who have been accepted for admission by the University, who have combined SAT Critical Reading and Math scores of approximately 1250, and who rank in the top decile of their graduating class.
The application deadline is May 1. Further information on the program is available from the Director of the Honors Program, 215.951.1360.