Campuswide Honors Program

The Campuswide Honors Program (CHP) is dedicated to promoting high standards of scholastic excellence and personal growth by combining the qualities of a liberal arts college with the unique opportunities offered by a major research university.

For more information about the Campuswide Honors Program, please visit www.honors.uci.edu

Below are some testimonials from our Arts CHP students and alumni:

When I applied to UC Irvine I had no idea what the Campuswide Honors Program (CHP) was until I received my acceptance letter. I knew the school primarily because of its amazing Dance Department which is where I wanted to study. I was hesitant at first to attend school entirely for dance because my academic work has always been a priority for me and I truly enjoy learning. The offer to participate in the CHP, however, solidified my decision to attend UC Irvine after my attendance at the Honors Experience Day and hearing about all of the benefits and perks the program has to offer. Even though the CHP courses can be trickier than other General Education courses at times, I feel like I am learning information on a deeper level and have had multiple chances to get to know Professors personally. This quarter I am taking a seminar with one of the CHP Professors with only about 24 other students. In a setting like this, I have the chance to speak up and participate in dialogues not only with my peers but also with my professor which encourages me to think critically about some pressing issues that I would not likely otherwise be able to discuss so easily in other classes on campus.

One of the major aspects that I love about UC Irvine's Dance major is the versatility that is offered to students. Within my first three years, I have performed pieces in a vast array of styles, all while training in what feels like a conservatory setting. The technique courses taught by the professors provide an enriching dance education where I feel like I am constantly learning something new about my dancing as well as myself. The Dance Department has also allowed me to get involved with a student organization called Movement Exchange at UCI where I can participate in local dance outreach programs and even had the opportunity to travel to Panama this past summer to teach dance at local orphanages there. This involvement really pushed me to add Education Sciences as a second major which has also been an incredible addition to my Undergraduate education. I have also had the privilege of working with dance legend Donald McKayle as a member of his Etude Ensemble for two years which has been an inspiring learning experience that I would not have gotten had I not chosen UC Irvine. 

I cannot express how much I have grown because of both CHP and the Dance Department and how many opportunities each have presented me. Both programs have been more than willing to work with me to make sure I get the most I can possibly get out of my four years here. Although I am a single person within a large research university I feel like I am valued and personally known because of the close-knit community offered with both CHP and the Dance major. I would highly encourage anyone thinking about UC Irvine to come and get involved and see all of the great things there is to offer! - Emma Walsh (B.F.A. in Dance Performance and B.A. in Education Sciences, expected 2017)

As someone who has a strong passion to excel in music while also wanting to pursue a lasting professional career in the sciences, this unique privilege of studying music in UC Irvine’s Music Department as a Campuswide Honors Program student has been everything I wanted and expected out of a university. I get the opportunity to receive in-depth, personal instruction from my music professors and directors while also taking courses that will prepare me for a graduate program at a medical or veterinary school.

During my first quarter at school, I found the Music Department at UCI to be a tightly-knit group of people, who together create a supportive network and an encouraging environment for their students. Their capable faculty take a personal interest in each student as they push their students to work hard in order to reach their full potential. The students are friendly and helpful, and are enthusiastic to collaborate on various musical projects.

Being a member of the Campuswide Honors Program is greatly beneficial, especially in a large UC school setting. Priority registration is critical in assembling my schedule, as I am able to get the classes that I need for both my music major requirements and my graduate school prerequisites. Guaranteed on-campus housing takes care of future living situation problems, and the honors coursework is interesting while also fulfilling a lot of General Education requirements. CHP takes care of its students, as counselors and faculty are always available and willing to help with any scheduling, career, or research questions. I have found them to be a valuable resource through which I hope to continue to enhance my learning experience here at UC Irvine. - Laura Ochikubo (B.M. in Music Performance - Jazz Saxophone, 2015)

There’s definitely a different atmosphere when you cross the bridge from the campus core to the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. You’re surrounded by people who are creative, open-minded, and also hard-working; let there be no doubt that majoring in the arts is hard work-- but it’s fun work. Seeing my classmates’ drawings, paintings, sculptures, and performances on a regular basis was a great source of inspiration for pushing my own work toward its greatest potential.

Aside from my art classes, the CHP Humanities Core, Social Science Core, and Science Core courses have also helped me in achieving a well-rounded education. Humanities Core was instrumental in training me for college-caliber writing, the research process, and critical thinking - three skills that are must-haves in upper division classes. All three Core series introduce timeless and relevant topics across many fields of study that can only help you have enlightening conversations, and, more importantly, they give you ideas for creating artistic work. Since Hum Core is required of CHP freshmen, I would recommend living in one of the CHP halls because study groups come so naturally when you live among people who want to succeed.

Being one of the few art majors in the CHP wasn’t a disadvantage either. Having chosen to live in one of the CHP dorms my freshman year, I got to meet a lot of smart, athletic, video game savvy, and hilarious peers. I even met my best friends in the neighboring CHP hall-- and they’re also art majors! We’ve gone through the thrills and the pains of being in CHP and in demanding art classes, taken spontaneous trips to the beach, and tried a bunch of the different food venues Irvine has to offer.

During senior year, when the time comes to begin research, you have the awesome opportunity to work with one of the great art professors/practitioners at UCI to create a research project that is tailored to your interests as an artist. With the combination of learning from the CHP courses and your skills as a creative major, research will be something you look forward to. By the time I graduate, I will have finished a research project in graphic novels, which means I’m going to have created a comic that counts as research.

I originally chose to attend UC Irvine because of its location and its beautiful campus. But looking back, there’s no other way I would have done college. This campus offers a great opportunity to grow as an individual, and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts will give you the setting to make close friends and meet encouraging colleagues. - Asthrea Camilon (B.A. Studio Art, 2014)

My decision to come to this University enabled me to simultaneously pursue my passion for dance and the humanities, allowed me to cultivate individualized academic and extracurricular research projects, and equipped me for my professional endeavors. But, most importantly – being a student here has been the most personally rewarding experience of my life.

Even though I loved dance, I also wanted to prioritize my academic and intellectual growth. UC Irvine was the correct choice for me – as a dancer; I received rigorous, conservatory-style training in ballet, modern, and jazz, while still being a part of a world-class University. During my first three years, there was plenty of sprinting across campus from the studio to a lecture hall, while still sporting a leotard and sweats – it was a frenzy at the time, but my hectic schedule truly reflected how I was able to balance all of my interests at this university. Dance was my entry point into this school, but I was equally involved in the Art History department. My dual identity as dancer and art historian is something that I’m sure I could not emulate at a different institution.

There are so many opportunities for UC Irvine undergraduates, and I feel very fortunate to have received so much support and encouragement through both the department of Dance and department of Art History. In the summer before my junior year, I planned a trip to Scandinavia – I danced in the 50th annual Bartholin Bournonville Ballet Seminar in the Danish Royal Opera House in Copenhagen for two weeks, and then took a trip to Oslo, Norway, where I studied the work of Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch. The Medici Circle program (through the Claire Trevor School of the Arts), shared my proposal with a network of donors, and I was lucky enough to receive funds for my research. I have also been awarded the Undergraduate Award in Art History, first place in a Friends of Art History essay contest, and twice recognized with the Stephen Criqui Memorial Scholarship. This generosity and support has enabled me to intern at several Orange County performing arts organizations, where I’ve gained invaluable experience towards my future career in arts administration.

The biggest reflection of my experience as a dance and art history major will be made manifest through my CHP senior thesis project in April 2014. I am presenting a multicultural dance expo show called the MIX Melting Pot Festival, which will feature performances by seven different UC Irvine cultural campus organizations (the cast will be approximately 80 UCI students). I am so excited to present Hawaiian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, and Filipino traditional dances, all in one show! There will be two performances, one in the Winifred Smith Hall on campus, and also in the Samueli Theater in Segerstrom Center for the Arts. I am doing all of the administrative tasks and preparation for this show – it will be my first professional programming endeavor. It has been a daunting project, but I am so appreciative to my faculty mentor, Molly Lynch, for giving me instruction and support throughout this process, and also the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, who has given me a grant towards this collaboration. I never would have conjured such an accomplishment before graduation if it weren’t for my myriad of experiences and encouragement that I’ve had at UCI.

My journey at UC Irvine has been challenging, demanding, exhausting, and even scary at times, but it has also been the most exciting, rewarding, wonderful, and empowering adventure I’ve ever had. It is a place full of opportunity for all types – dancers, artists, scientists, activists, scholars, and the lot – if you bring your pure ambition and drive to UC Irvine, your experience here will repay you tenfold. Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and I wish you all the best as you write your own! - Michelle Maasz (B.A. Dance and Art History, 2014)

There is no doubt that UC Irvine is one of the best institutions in the nation. The distinctive programs available at UCI, such as the Campuswide Honors Program, are what have made my college experience unique. I did not come into UCI as a CHP student but rather I applied during my sophomore year. I applied because the courses looked interesting, it offered great opportunities to make myself unique, and the resources available were great! Even though I came into the program my second year, I have been able to meet amazing people that have become really great friends.

As a first-generation college student, CHP has been a great resource to have. For example, I was able to plan my college career (e.g. classes, scholarship, fellowship, internships, and other ventures) alongside a counselor. This has been the best tool because I know what my steps are and I am not lost or confused. The courses offered through the CHP program are unique, worthwhile, and meaningful. These have been some of the best courses I have taken because they have challenged my abilities and mind yet made a meaningful impact in my life and future goals. After I joined CHP I was motivated to venture out and join other campus programs and even started my own non-profit organization that provides outreach resources to low-income and minority students.

As part of CHP we are given the opportunity to draft a senior honors thesis. This year I am working on an honors thesis for both Political Science and Music. This music department has given the opportunity to study an interesting topic in addition to performing a senior recital. The objective of this study is to examine the effect that narcocorridos have had on Mexican American listeners and local musicians in Los Angeles. Narcocorrido is a subset of the corrido genre that developed in Mexico but the lyrics glorify drug smuggling, murder, torture, and corruption as well as make reference to specific people, events, and locations. I will be able to analyze, compare, and obtain the opinions of both the musician (who are responsible for disseminating the music and culture) and the listener (who embraces the culture). My goal is to analyze the perspective of the local musician and audience member to evaluate how this music affects the attitudes/perspectives toward the drug world and narco culture. This is a unique opportunity for me to interact with musicians that perform a genre of music that is close to my roots as well as comprehend how music affects our perspective.

To anyone who is interested in becoming a CHP student and is in the arts department I encourage you to do so. Not only will you challenge yourself, meet amazing people, and have great resources (including CHP-only study rooms), but you will set yourself apart from everyone else and graduate knowing that you made the most out of college. After UCI, I intend to do a year-long fellowship in Washington D.C. and then enter a four-year joint degree program, pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy and Juris Doctorate in Law. I am interested in using my joint degrees to target specific policies and laws that affect communities like mine in an effort to improve the quality of education, outreach programs, and legal aid that reaches these communities. Thanks to the resources available in CHP I have been able to carefully plan for this and more! - Felipe Hernandez (B.M. in Music Performance – Guitar & Lute and B.A. Political Science, Philosophy Minor, 2013)

The Music Department and CHP were the two most important aspects of my college experience while at UCI.  I met many new friends during long practice sessions and fun CHP events.  Both programs impressed me with their many wonderful and dedicated staff members and instructors who helped me along the way.  Intensive chamber coachings, lessons, and collaborations with other musicians strengthened my technique and musicianship during my time at UCI, and they provided me with unique opportunities such as performing with dancers and playing a solo with the UCI Wind Ensemble.   

CHP had many advantages for me as well, including all the social events, opportunities to volunteer, and of course a required curriculum that covers many of UCI’s general education requirements, so that I could concentrate on playing clarinet and not on picking classes in order to graduate in four years.  The CHP faculty and staff were incredibly dedicated to providing students with a great education, and they were very supportive of my scheduling difficulties as a double major. 

I recently received my law degree from the USC Gould School of Law, and I appreciate my arts education and the assistance of the CHP even more in retrospect.  I could not have made it this far without them. - Julia Damron (B.M. in Music in Performance – Clarinet and B.A. in Philosophy, 2011)

To be honest, UCI was not initially my #1 school of choice.  However, I am so incredibly grateful that I ended up coming here!  I came in Undeclared not really knowing what I wanted to do and did not declare my Dance and Literary Journalism double major until fall quarter of my 2nd year.  Dance has always been my passion, but I did not realize how much more I had to learn about the art form until I came to UCI.  I grew immensely as a student, performer, choreographer, and person during my four years here.  The extremely knowledgeable and personable faculty members give individual attention in the classes and are genuinely interested in pulling the best out of their students to prepare them for professional company, commercial, or theater work.

There is an abundance of performance and choreographic opportunities for undergrads, both formal and informal, that allow you to explore your artistry as well as work with some of the most innovative and inspirational choreographers in the dance world.  I was fortunate enough to have been cast in a number of undergrad, grad, and faculty shows at UCI and had countless

great laughs, moments, and discoveries with some truly amazing people!  I improved so much as a performer in terms of understanding the meaning behind movement – I was forced to dig deeper to find a personal truth in whatever role I played.  I had opportunities to work with modern dance legend Donald McKayle (his work has been performed around the world for decades as modern dance classics) through his on-campus company “UCI Etude Ensemble,” as well as with esteemed guest choreographers through Dance Visions, and the lessons I took from each journey of casting to rehearsal to performance are invaluable.  The bonds and connections I made with teachers and fellow dancers made the physical and mental challenges and frustrations all worthwhile and re-inspired my love and appreciation for dance as a whole.  I am definitely not a ballerina but still found my niche as a jazz/contemporary and modern dancer, styles that are just as important and need to be kept alive in universities!  The program at UCI supports all genres of dance and is very open to the new and abstract.  Being in such an energetic, supportive, and creative environment gave me the confidence and drive to pursue dance post-graduation - something I was certainly hesitant about before.  I recently co-founded my own contemporary dance company and attribute much of its success to the preparation and training I received at UCI.

CHP is strongly supportive of the arts and the connections I made through the honors program were extremely valuable.  I don’t know anyone who regrets being in the honors program...Let’s just say, they really take care of you in CHP!  The staff does their absolute best to know you on a personal level and accommodate all of your needs.  The perks of early registration, guaranteed housing, and discussion sections with actual professors aren’t bad either!  The whole atmosphere of this university is great, and I found that the people who work here genuinely care, which is rare at a huge research university.  In my junior year, I studied abroad in England for five months (without a doubt THE best decision I’ve made in my college career – ­if you

can, DO IT!) and the staff and professors in both of my majors’ departments and in CHP were 100% encouraging and accommodating. Producing my CHP senior thesis project - my own dance concert – was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. It allowed me to reflect on everything I learned during my time at UCI and make a true impact on my peers.  If you are leery about coming to UCI, don’t be!  It is what you make of it, and if you take full advantage of the opportunities available to you here, especially in CHP, you will not regret your decision. Good luck! - Marissa Osato (B.A. in Dance and Literary Journalism, 2009)

When I was college searching, I looked for two important factors: academically challenging and an inspiring, creative theatre department.  As a CHP drama major at UC Irvine, I found both.

The CHP’s curriculum covers the majority of the university breadth requirements with a series of thought-provoking core courses taught by professors in the top of their fields.  This not only brings together a diverse array of talented students into the classroom, but also hosts a plethora of social activities.  Entering the university already a part of the CHP gave me a network of friends from the start; competitive organized pillow-fights, poker nights and semi formals will never leave you disappointed.  The academic advantage of priority enrollment (you will always get the classes you want, at the time you want, with the instructor you want), and close interaction with professors (crucial for internship/study abroad letters of recommendation, guidance for your thesis project, and simply, for life) is unlike any other I could find amongst the UCs.

Likewise, I cannot think of another university with as many performance opportunities in its Drama Department – there are always auditions to go to!  In addition to the superb main-stage productions there are numerous workshops and independent projects to participate in.  Creativity is encouraged to a fantastic level: I have performed in a dance/film major’s thesis production of a Vaudeville show, an original play written and produced collaboratively by undergrad and graduate students, a devised play we created from improvisation and exploratory exercises; I assistant-designed French runway inspired costumes from recyclable materials, studied abroad for a year at an esteemed theatre university in London (and received full UCI course credit and financial aid!), was a production assistant for a guest Romanian director on an surreal production of The Bacchae, acted in several student films, and upon graduation, traveled to Ecuador for a month with a team of UCI artists to learn about the culture and traditional mask dancing as we did service work and wrote a one-act of our experience which we immediately performed in New York City.

As a graduate from UC Irvine’s CHP program and School of the Arts, I can honestly say that I feel completely confident and eager for my future in the “real world” (which, you should know, is an incredible place).  The students in the School of the Arts were my family away from home, and now both the students and the professors are my colleagues as we all go forward as brilliant and creative artists into the industry all over the world. - Adrienne Wheeler (B.A. in Drama, 2009)

I was extremely impressed by UCI's active Campuswide Honors Program.  I immediately felt a strong sense of community and camaraderie.  I really felt that this was a place where I would fit in.  In addition, there are many great perks that come with being a CHPer, like guaranteed housing and early registration.  The CHP promotes lots of faculty interaction, through small honors discussions and social activities.  I was also drawn to all the opportunities that UCI offers, like research, study abroad, and scholarship advising.  Finally, the park is beautiful, the city is safe, and the weather could not be better!

One of my most memorable dance experiences was rehearsing and performing Balanchine's Serenade under the direction of Leslie Peck.  I loved taking class to live piano or percussion music daily, and performing to a live orchestra!  I was also very involved on campus as 2007 President of the Campuswide Honors Student Council.  I've had amazing summers - studying abroad in England and conducting research in New York.  The major reason why I enjoyed my time at UCI is because I was involved in all these opportunities that had come my way!

I recently earned my Ph.D. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. As an alumnus, I have an even greater appreciation of all that I gained at UCI. Not only did I feel well prepared for all my graduate work, I also was able to continue dancing by joining the Harvard Ballet Company and the MIT Ballroom Dance Team. Furthermore, the breadth of knowledge, experiences, and leadership skills that I gained while at UCI helped me get my first job offer out of graduate school. I am extremely grateful for my time as a CHPer at UCI, and I'll always be an Anteater at heart! - Vicky Zhou (B.A. in Dance and B.S. Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 2007)