Vanguard University Scholars Program (Traditional Undergraduate College)

Department website:

Richard S. Park, D.Phil, Director 

Mission:  The Vanguard University Scholars Program strives to engage students in a transformational experience of expanded academic, leadership and service endeavors within an interdisciplinary academic environment. This integrated approach to education provides students with unique academic objectives, scholarly engagement with faculty and administrators, and cultivates lifetime learning and leadership.

The Vanguard University Scholars Program (VUSP) works in conjunction with both curricular Institutional Learning Outcomes and the co-curricular Four-Year Discipleship Plan. VU Scholars are expected to strive towards those outcomes, but do so with excellence and integrity, as an example to the wider Vanguard community.  

Students’ progress in the VU Scholars Program is measured in terms of Truth, Virtue and Service “merits,” which are earned by participation in academic, service, mentoring, or other qualified pursuits. Merits are not equivalent to credit or unit hours, but provide a way to quantify and measure matriculation in each of the three areas of emphasis. Students are required to complete 60 merits by graduation, with minimum requirements in each area.  The VUSP Director has discretion to adjust merit requirements based on factors including, but not limited to, accelerated academic progress and student enrollment in intensive academic degree.  

TRUTH Merits24 Merits
VIRTUE Merits10 Merits
SERVICE Merits12 Merits
Capstone Experience4 Merits
Elective Merits (Scholars Choice) 110 Merits

Electives may come from any area or combination of areas of the Scholar's choice. 

The following required Scholars courses fulfill core requirements while also earning Scholars merits:

CORE-100HCornerstone Honors1
THEO-103HIntroduction to Theology Honors3
ITDS-310HIntroduction to Leadership Theory3
THEO-300HDeveloping a Christian World View3
CHIS-400HChristian Heritage3
ITDS-490HScholars Seminar1-4

Additional Honors Courses and Experiences:

  • Experiential Education Component, fulfilled through Study Abroad, Outreach Programs, or Internships
  • Research Project, fulfilled through independent academic research or participation in VU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)

For full program details, please see the VUSP Program Guide or contact