A powerful approach to discovery

LSI’s curriculum combines exclusive content led by eminent scholars with customized opportunities for Fellows to explore their unique interests.

The LSI Curriculum


The LSI Core mixes self-discovery and deep investigation of social and environmental issues with the rigor of a UChicago lens. Fellows begin by reflecting on their life’s journey, values, and passions; then, they explore urgent societal challenges with a focus on topics that motivate them. The Core culminates with each Fellow presenting a Purpose Plan that investigates an issue in society and then lays out a personal roadmap for helping to address it.

  • Seminar series with dual emphasis: discovery of self and society on deeper levels
  • Advising from a UChicago Faculty member and a Distinguished Mentor in the development of a Purpose Plan.
  • Meaningful exchanges with peers, practitioners, and the University’s research Centers and Institutes.


Electives serve as a gateway to all the assets of the University, enabling Fellows to specialize in areas that matter to them. Fellows are given access to courses across the University’s Schools and Divisions and are encouraged to take electives in foundational and interest-based areas.


Foundations courses extend theoretical underpinnings from the social, natural, and computational sciences and the humanities to create a premise for investigating contemporary societal change. Each quarter, fellows can choose between taking an LSI-only Foundations seminar or auditing a liberal arts foundational course of their choosing across Schools or Divisions.


Fellows audit at least one additional course each quarter of their choice from across the University’s course catalogs based on their individual interests.


We believe in the importance of translating ideas into action; that’s why we provide Fellows hands-on learning opportunities during the year to experiment with approaches to driving impact. These activities position Fellows to test ideas, build relationships, and refine their vision of the work they’ll do following LSI.


Once per quarter, Fellows will engage in two-day immersive workshops highlighting one major global or community challenge, ranging from global public health and the environment to economic issues to the future of democracy.

  • Engage with the latest evidence and analysis on the topic at hand through lectures from faculty and expert practitioners
  • Focus on problem solving, promising interventions, and practical applications of knowledge.
  • Work with your cohort to generate a report synthesizing your observations and recommendations
  • Expand your perspective through structured interactions with other UChicago social impact groups and fellowships.

Each Fellow will apply their learning through a ten-week applied research project in the Spring quarter. This project will leverage Fellows’ expertise to help address an important social issue in collaboration with partnering organizations. Fellows will gain an applied perspective on social impact approaches, as well as grow their network of campus and practitioner partners.

Fellows can choose between two applied project options:

  1. Working in a small group on a pre-structured project with UChicago Centers and community organizations
  2. Designing their own project, independently or with fellow cohort members

LSI’s building blocks for discovery




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