From: "Proposal for the Thomas D'Arcy McGee College of the Humanities" [1994]

Built on a systematic and coherent curriculum which seeks to bring to light humankind's record of outstanding achievement, the program's unique features include core seminars, the choice of four streams in history, philosophy, literature, and language, as well as genuine devotion on the part of instructors to shaping a comprehensive culture supplementing formal course work. Graduates ... will have acquired a rigorous, classic education which has equipped them with an understanding of the significant cultural accomplishments of the past and with well-honed skills of critical reflection, conversation, written composition, and informed criticism.

A liberal education is: ... an education in the basics ... of the world in which we live; an invitation to participate in ... discovery [of] "the best which has been thought and said in the world"; an education to political citizenship [and] aware[ness] of the institutions and practices of the political world ...; [and] liberal education aims, too, to liberate the mind from the dogmas and fashions of the day.

At the heart of the College of the Humanities is a core curriculum whose purpose is to provide students with a comprehensive, rigorous and common educational experience ... in each of their four years.

[Four] core courses are central to the coherence of the curriculum and to the purposes of the College. The four core seminars span four eras: pre-Greece and Rome, Greece to Middle Ages, Renaissance to Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment to 20th Century. These four eras are defined, for heuristic purposes, under the categories "Myth and Symbol," "Reason and Revelation," "Culture and Imagination," "Science and Power." The weekly seminar and tutorial ... will entail study of a select number of primary texts ([e.g.], Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Plato's Republic, St. Augustine's City of God, the Koran, Dante's Divine Comedy, Shakespeare's King Lear, Rousseau's Social Contract, and Marx's Communist Manifesto) and an examination of significant secondary commentaries.... Together, the core seminars, [12] prescribed courses, and choice of stream, constitute the "Template Curriculum"....

During their four years of study ... students are led from an initial intensive consideration of fundamental elements of human consciousness in Core One into a sequential examination of select themes in the major epochs in Western civilization over the next three years. In each of the courses, however, thematic emphasis and disciplinary perspective shifts.

Core One: Myth and Symbol. The thematic emphasis ... is the role of the mythic and symbolic in human thought, imagination, and spirit.... Attention is given to such fundamental themes as the sacred and the profane, epiphany, cosmogony, nature, symbols and icons, the Fall, and the sources of social differentiation.

Core Two: Reason and Revelation: Antiquity to the Middle Ages.... The main emphasis is on the philosophical dimension, and the focus of attention is on the period from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Among the themes examined are those that begin to emerge in this period as fundamental dualisms with the western experience.... While the main focus of students will be on secondary works of interpretive scholarship, students will be introduced to Greek and Latin masterpieces in philosophy and literature, essential for an understanding of later political and literary forms.

Core Three: Culture and Imagination: Renaissance to Enlightenment.... In Core Three the focus of historical attention is on ... the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and the main emphasis is on forms of cultural and imaginative expression--literary, architectural, and artistic. [Attention is turned to] nature and grace, human will and freedom, ... empiricism and modern rationalism, birth of the social sciences, [and] the creation and rationality of complex organizations.

Core Four: Science and Power: Napoleonic Empire to the Twentieth Century.... In this course the main emphasis is historical, and thematic focus is on the political / ideological and the scientific / technological. Attention will be paid to the exercise of power and new forms of social authority and organization. Among the themes are the dichotomies of society / nature, community / individual, heredity / environment....