Engaged Learning at LMU

Engaged Learning (EL) is active, hands-on learning that integrates classroom education with meaningful, related experiences beyond the classroom. The real-world experiences in Engaged Learning courses challenge students to think critically and deeply about what they are studying. Engaged Learning is part of LMU’s Core Curriculum; all LMU students must take at least one EL Flagged Course to graduate.

Engaged Learning courses might include experiences like these:

Community-based learning

Examples of community-based learning include: a Jewish Studies course that wrote museum exhibit captions in collaboration with the Museum of Tolerance; a course in which students worked with a community organizing group to archive their 20-year history; an African American Studies course that worked with local high school students to teach Black history; Elderly and the Law students who volunteered with senior citizens with differing mental and physical capabilities.

Faculty-mentored research

Students in a social research course with a faculty-mentored research component conducted interviews with women exiting prison in collaboration with civil rights advocates.

Field experience

Field experience might happen in a business class in which students help small businesses write business plans, or communications class that works with a local non-profit to write a communications plan.


In a course on Greek history with a practicum component, students reviewed films for the LA Greek Film Festival. Many departments offer internship courses that allow students to gain pre-professional experience related to their course of study.

Study Abroad

Bellarmine is proud to offer on-campus courses that incorporate spring break study abroad trips - an opportunity for engaged learning abroad. Examples include an Eastern Christian Traditions course that travels to Ukraine and an African American Studies course studying Afro-Caribbean identities that travels to Cuba to learn firsthand.

"Taking Contemporary Urban Issues was more than just a new experience, it was being able to understand the issues that happen outside the bluff and find a way to do something about it."

- Citlaly Orozco '15

What are some courses offered at Bellarmine?

Engaged learning courses vary by semester. Below are a few liberal arts engaged learning courses that have been offered recently:

  • Literature of the Holocaust

    Students explore literary responses to the Holocaust as a form of testimony and read those responses as evidentiary.  Each student is assigned a memoir to read and write about in partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Students research the history of the Jews in the city/village of their survivor’s birth, interview the survivor, write a summary/analysis of the memoir, supplementing with history and personal testimony, then create a concise summary of their review which to be used in a Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust brochure. The culmination of the course is a reception with LMU students and their survivor-partners at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. 

  • Contemporary Urban Issues

    This interdisciplinary course is designed to survey the most urgent issues of the urban Chicano and US Latino experience. It draws on methods of experiential-learning and engaged learning to enhance students’ knowledge of immigration, education, housing, arts, media, labor, and health. 

  • Feminist Research Methods

    This course requires students to critically engage and analyze how research can affect the real lives of women and work as agents of social change. Students work in small groups with three community-based projects, focused on environmental and reproductive health, food justice, and restorative justice. Students develop projects, which a local organization benefits from, in order to enhance the effectiveness of their programs for low-income women of color in Los Angeles. Students connect course content with the lived experiences of individuals and communities based on the application of the tools and strategies learned in class. 

  • Comparative Urban Politics: LA-Mexico City

    In this course, students spend three days in Los Angeles and one week in Mexico City critically comparing governance, business, and culture from a variety of scholarly disciplines and perspectives. Students are immersed in field research where they attend local meetings, governmental events, visit museums & cultural institutions, patronize local eateries, and ride public transportation in order to become knowledgeable about the two cities. This course is designed to prepare students to be bilingual, bicultural, and binational leaders through developing skill sets that equip them to work in urban environments in international settings.

  • International Security

    This political science course challenges students to think critically about the complexity of security, and the basic forces that shape world politics and societies.  This course aims to get students to understand the relationships between peace, security and justice, students take a Spring Break trip to Northern Ireland.  In Belfast students consider the Northern Ireland case in a comparative context to investigate restorative justice at the individual, institutional, and international levels; and to develop a richer understanding of the complexities of applying the principles of restorative justice to secure peace.

How do I sign up for Engaged Learning Classes?

Current students can search for all of the EL Courses in PROWL by looking up classes by Attribute.  Here's how:

  1. Under the Student Services tab, click "Registration"
  2. Click "Look-up Classes to Add"
  3. Choose the term you would like to take the Engaged Learning course
  4. Under the drop-down menu, click the button on the right which says "Advanced Search"
  5. Click the Subject Box and then hit  "Control/Command + A" on your keyboard to select all Subjects
  6. Scroll down to Attribute Type and select "FLAG: Engaged Learning"
  7. Click on the "Section Search" button 

This will generate a list of all EL flagged courses offered that semester.