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Learning Communities

About half of Saint Louis University freshmen find their perfect level of social and academic support in one of our eight on-campus learning communities.

Learning Community members

Students in learning communities live in the same residence hall and take classes that are centered around a particular major or academic interest. At Saint Louis University, learning communities help shape the student experience and give you a sense of family amidst the larger SLU community.

Living in a learning community allows you opportunities to build meaningful relationships with faculty, staff and peers. You will often engage together in off-campus excursions, special lecture series, community service activities and social gatherings in the residence halls. 

Learning communities provide a great way for you to meet new people and make friends with those who have similar interests. Plus, research shows that students are more successful when their academic experiences are integrated with other aspects of their life. You will have the opportunity to get involved on campus and within the greater Saint Louis University community.

SLU also offers theme housing communities for freshman still deciding on a major, first-year transfer students, upperclassmen Greek Life participants, and upperclassmen interested in Wellness. These communities differ from learning communities in that they do not incorporate required coursework or direct faculty engagement in the form of co-curricular experiences.

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Selecting a Learning Community

As you consider Saint Louis University's eight learning communities, there are a few questions that can guide you in selecting the one that best supports your major or long-term career goals:

  • Is there a topic that intrigues me (i.e. leadership, social justice, community service)?
  • Are there academic support services like tutoring and academic advising that I would like to have access to in my residence hall?
  • Would I like to connect with a faculty member outside of the classroom during my first semester?
  • Is there a specific area of campus where I want to live?
  • What am I passionate about?

Benefits of Joining a Learning Community

  • Connect with students with similar academic and personal goals
  • Get connected to campus life and University resources
  • Explore St. Louis through field trips
  • Volunteer through community service projects
  • Access peer mentoring and tutoring
  • Explore leadership development opportunities
  • Explore career options

How to Join a Learning Community

It’s easy to apply to take part in a learning community at SLU.

Step 1: Review the list of learning communities, and select the community or communities for which you want to apply. Don’t forget to look at the requirements for each learning community since some require a specific major or a supplemental application.

Step 2: Complete both your housing contract and your Learning Community contract.  To learn more about how to sign up for housing, click here.

Step 3: Confirm your Learning Community courses.  You will be registered for these courses prior to SLU101 summer orientation and will meet with an advisor then to make sure that they fit your schedule and major.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re wondering which learning community at Saint Louis University is right for you and the application process, take a look at these frequently asked questions.

What are the expectations of students that participate in learning communities?

Learning Community experiences offered will not only focus on the academic components of the Learning Community, but will also provide a variety of social and educational programs to assist with a student's first year transition to the university. Making the transition from high school to college can be difficult. As you experience new freedoms, learn new routines, and face new academic and personal challenges, a Learning Community can help you begin your college career successfully.  We encourage each student to become a partner in their education by becoming an active leader and learner within their Learning Community.

If I have not selected a major, should I still consider participating in a learning community?

There are several learning communities that are open to everyone:

Diversity and Global Citizenship

Leadership for Social Change

Life Sciences

Micah: Living the Mission 

If you have an idea of what you might like to major in, you might select a learning community which focuses on that field and you’ll have the chance to find out if this is a career you’re interested in pursuing.

Do I have to take all of the classes associated with my learning community?

Yes. Courses must be taken together as a full set of associated courses.  However, Learning Communities leave room for you to take additional classes.  You'll select these classes when you meet with your academic advisor during your SLU 101 visit.  If you have prior credit for a course or the course does not fit your major academic course plan, you can request an exemption from a Learning Community course.

Do I need to fill out an application to be part of a learning community?

For most of our learning communities, you do not need to fill out an application outside of the housing contract.  However, some require supplemental applications or essays.

To be part of the Micah program, you’ll need to complete a supplemental application.

If you’d like to be in the Honors Learning Community, you’ll need to apply and be accepted to the University Honors program.

For the Leadership for Social Change and Diversity and Global Citizenship Learning Communities, a supplemental essay will be sent via e-mail upon completion of the housing contract.

What if I want to change my learning community preferences?

To change your preferences for learning communities prior to May 1, you can simply edit your housing contract. Editing your housing contract does not affect your priority date. After May 1, you can contact us directly, or speak to Housing and Residence Life during your SLU 101 visit.

Do I have to live in the residence hall where the learning community is housed?

Yes. Living in a learning community requires that you live on the floor with that community. If you have an extenuating circumstance that requires you to live in a certain arrangement, due to an approved accommodation, please let Housing and Residence Life know as soon as possible. If you have a disability or need additional accommodations, please contact Disability Services.

If I already have a roommate, how do we both join a learning community?

Both you and your roommate should sign up for the same learning community. You can indicate your roommate request on your housing contract. It is important that both you and your roommate indicate each other on the contract using your 9-digit SLU IDs (starts with 000). The Learning Community preference that you indicate on your housing contract takes priority over all other preferences on the housing contract.