College Great Books Programs
Compiled and copyrighted by William Casement
To suggest corrections or additions, contact William Casement at
Following is a list of college programs in the United States that
use great books. An asterisk designates a program with a two- or
three- semester course sequence (or equivalent on a quarter-system
calendar). The rest of the programs consist of four courses or more.
Enrollment figures are rough estimates and may vary from year to
year. The figure stated is for head count of students taking great-books
courses during the period of one school year, exclusive of other
courses a program may offer, and subtracting out from the total
class-roster number an estimate of the number of students taking
multiple courses in the program during the same year.
View institutions with names beginning with:
Garden City, NY
began 1995, enrollment 190/year
Honors offers 5 great-books courses among other courses: a
2-course sequence spanning the ancient world through 19th
century, a 2-course sequence focusing on the 20th century,
and a junior seminar devoted to in-depth study of a single text.
These courses may be used to fulfill general education requirements.
Reading lists for some courses vary by instructor.
Berrian Springs, MI
began 2000, enrollment 80/year
The Honors Program has a prescribed curriculum that begins
with Western Heritage I and II, which focus on great books as well
as the arts. Several subsequent courses also feature reading in
the great books, including one course on the non-Western world.
Grand Rapids, MI
began 1989, enrollment 250/year
Humanities is a 2-course sequence required of all students
in the sophomore year as part of general education. The first course
begins with the ancient world and the second concludes with Ibsen
and post-impressionist art. Besides texts, works of art, architecture,
and music are included.
began 1979, enrollment 100/year
Foundations consists of 8 great-works courses (four 2-course sequences)
that integrate the areas of art, history, politics, literature,
philosophy, and theology. The focus is on Western civilization,
with an emphasis on cities, on tensions in the West’s accounts of
human excellence, and on the debate between ancients and moderns.
Each set of courses begins with the founding cities of our civilization
and ends in the cities of our times. Foundations serves as an alternative
way of satisfying more than half of the college's general-education
Auburn University, AL
*Great Books Program
began 1991, enrollment 2,800/year
Two great-books courses are required of all students at the
sophomore level as part of general education. The program is housed
in the English department, but draws faculty from several disciplines.
Reading selections are chosen from within established guidelines,
with typical authors including Homer, Plato, Austen, Douglass, Achebe.
*Heritage of Western Culture
began 1960, enrollment 600/year
The Heritage program consists of a 2-course great-books requirement
for all students at the college as part of general education. The
first course is entitled "The Early Western World" and the second
course is "Individual and Society in the Modern World." The first
course comes in three versions, the second course in two, with entirely
separate reading lists for each version. The emphasis is on Western
culture except in the "Collision of Cultures" version of the first
course, where non-Western works are included along with Western
works that challenge the tradition.
AUSTIN PEAY STATE UNIVERSITY
began 1960, enrollment 120/year
Heritage offers 5 courses (4 credits each, rather than the normal
3) spanning Western culture in historical sequence. Besides reading
selections from great books, great works from the arts are included.
Heritage courses substitute for general education requirements,
and are open to all students.
began 1977, enrollment 140/year
Honors is a selective-admission program featuring 4 courses (3
credits each) spanning Western culture in historical sequence. Great
works in the arts are included with selections from great books.
Honors courses substitute for general education requirements.
AZUSA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
High Sierra Program
began 2001, enrollment 50
The university offers a one-semester great-works program at an
off-campus location in the Sierra National Forest. 12 of the 15
credits are in great-books courses, with the remaining credits being
in art history. Readings are in history, philosophy, literature,
and religious studies, and the course work can be used to fulfill
general education requirements. Readings are drawn from the Western
tradition, but some non-Western works are included.
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BALL STATE UNIVERSITY
began 1959, enrollment 500/year
The foundation of the Honors curriculum is the 3-course Humanities
Sequence. Taught by faculty from many departments, these courses
emphasize great books and great ideas mainly of the Western tradition.
The first two courses are sequenced chronologically; the third course
is structured around "isms." The courses fulfill general education
*BARD COLLEGE CLEMENTE COURSE
The Clemente course offers great-books study free to the financially
poor and homeless. Under the aegis of Bard College, the program
has been offered at 30 sites around the country, including various
college campuses as well as other locations. The course of study
lasts 28 weeks and involves seminars taught at a college level.
Works studied are from literature, art history, philosophy, and
U.S. history. Students who complete the writing portion of the course,
as well as reading and discussion, can earn up to 6 college credits
(awarded by Bard or another sponsoring college).
Baylor Interdisciplinary Core
began 1995, enrollment 500/year
BIC is an alternative core curriculum. 7 of the courses are
based on the study of great books: 4 on World Cultures, 2 Social
Science, 1 Bible. The World Cultures courses are based in the Western
tradition, but also include non-Western classics. Art is included
through lectures and on-line materials.
Baylor has made a strong commitment to enlarging study of the
great books. The University Scholars program is adding a great-books
component, the Honors Program will do so, and a great-books major
has been proposed.
began 1999, enrollment 270/year
Worldview is Belhaven’s core curriculum, which requires a 2-year
course of study focused around thematic topics arranged by historical
timeline. Great movements and ideas of history, literature, fine
arts, philosophy, and theology are integrated under the rubrics
of "Western Civilization," "Form and Meaning," "Literature," and
"Christian Perspective." Literature constitutes 6 credits of great
books readings, while Western Civilization (6 credits) uses a textbook
combined with readings from great books. Two courses (6 credits)
are required in reading the Bible.
BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE
Among the requirements in Belmont Abbey’s 60-credit core curriculum
are 6 courses in which students read great books: one on the Bible,
one in world literature, one in English literature, one in philosophy,
and a 2-course sequence for seniors entitled "Great Books." The
focus is on the Western tradition, with the world literature course
introducing some non-Western works.
*Great Books Sequence
began 1977, enrollment 15/year
The sequence consists of 3 chronologically oriented seminars
in which students read from many of the great works of the Western
tradition. Completion of the sequence substitutes for 3 required
courses in general education. Reading lists for the courses in the
sequence change substantially each time it begins anew, as do the
specific general-education courses for which it substitutes. It
may be possible for students who have completed the sequence to
take a later version of it for additional credit.
*Cultural Heritage Series
began 1993, enrollment 400/year
Cultural Heritage is a 3-course sequence required of all students
as a part of general education. The courses are historically sequenced
from the ancient world through 19th century, and take
a history of ideas approach. Background material is provided through
readings from textbooks; primary sources are provided through anthologies.
St. Paul, MN
*Western Humanity in Christian Perspective
began 1997, enrollment 150/year
Students may choose the 4-course Humanities sequence as a substitute
for 5 courses of required general education. The courses are historically
sequenced (ancient Greece to the present), and combine lectures,
writing assignments, and trips to plays, concerts, and museums with
the study of great books and works of art.
La Mirada, CA
Torrey Honors Institute
began 1996, enrollment 280/year
Torrey offers 60 credits of great-books study through a series
of courses. There is extensive reading from the masterworks of Western
civilization, with a special emphasis on Christian texts. Torrey
courses substitute for most general education and biblical studies
requirements. Courses are conducted in seminar format.
began before 1980, enrollment 550/year
(see core programs)
Perspectives is a 4-year interdisciplinary program centered upon
the great books of the Western intellectual tradition (although
some non-Western works are included). There are 4 year-long courses
of 12 credits each (6 credits per semester), totaling 48 credits.
The courses are thematic: humanities, arts, social sciences, natural
sciences. Perspectives courses fulfill general education requirements.
began 1959, enrollment 600/year
The Honors Program includes a 4-semester great-books sequence (6
credits per semester) entitled The Western Cultural Tradition. Following
this is a 2-course (3 credits each) sequence entitled "The 20th
Century and the Tradition," the last course of which examines the
cultural tradition from contemporary critical perspectives.
College of Arts and Sciences
began 1989, enrollment 650/year
One of the two routes students may choose in pursuing the core
curriculum involves 8 courses, 6 of which are great-books courses:
4 in humanities and 2 in social science. The natural science courses
include the history of science, but without reading the classics.
The humanities courses (interdisciplinary approach to literature,
philosophy, religion, and the arts) are historically sequenced from
the ancient world through the 19th century. One social
science course covers classics of politics, the other of psychology
BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY
began 1960, enrollment 400/year
Graduation from the Honors Program requires completion of a
Great Works requirement. Some of the works may be encountered in
course work, but most will be pursued independently. Students are
required to read 16 works of literature, attend 16 theatrical performances,
16 musical performances, 16 films, and 16 art exhibitions, and write
19 response papers. There is an extensive list of approved works
began 1979, enrollment 1,900/year
The Brooklyn College Core consists of 10 courses, of which Core
1 "Classical Origins of Western Culture," Core6 "Landmarks of Literature,"
and Core 10 "Knowledge, Existence, and Values" draw extensively
on selections from the great books of the Western Tradition. Core
2.1 "Introduction to Art" concentrates on great works of Western
CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY
San Luis Obispo, CA
Western Intellectual Tradition Minor
The minor requires that students select 7 courses, from a short
list, drawn from the disciplines of English, history, political
science, and philosophy. Most courses concentrate on readings from
Honors Scholars Program
began 1989, enrollment 50/year
The Honors Scholars Program requires students to take a specially
designed set of 5 great books courses. The courses are historically
sequenced, and include works from philosophy, literature, religion,
science, and politics. The focus is on the Western tradition. Honors
Scholars courses can be used to fulfill general-education requirements.
CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
began 1975, enrollment 600/year
All undergraduates at Catholic U (except those in engineering and
in the adult education program) are required to take 2 philosophy
courses: "The Classical Mind" and "The Modern Mind." In each course
students read in their entirety (or long selections from) several
great works of philosophy from the Western tradition.
Began 1985, enrollment 50/year
Three of the four tracks in the Honors Program make use of great
books, within the larger contexts of main themes and other text
materials. One track is "The Christian Tradition" (Bible, Dante,
Chaucer, Dostoevsky, Newman, etc), another is "An Aristotelian Studium"
(emphasis on works by Aristotle, but including Hume, Kant, Marx,
Dewey), and a third is "Critical Exploration of Social Reality"
(Durkheim, Weber, etc). Each track consists of a 4-course sequence.
CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
William O. Douglas Honors College
began 1977, enrollment 70/year
The Honors College is a great-books program comprising 12 seminar
courses (‘colloquia") with accompanying lectures, as well as a senior
thesis. This course work totals 41 credits of the 180 credits required
for graduation from the university. The reading list is extensive,
and historically sequenced from the ancient world through the 20th
CHADRON STATE COLLEGE
began 1980s, enrollment 60/year
The Honors Program consists of 8 great-books courses (24 credits)
taken one each semester for 4 years. There are 4 two-course sequences:
"The Psyche" (humanities), "Society" (largely political theory),
"The Natural Order" (natural science), and "The Cosmos (a theme
chosen by the instructor). Many of the books are read in their entirety.
Honors courses may be used to fulfill general education requirements.
Front Royal, VA
began 1977, enrollment 200/year
The core curriculum constitutes 84 of the college’s 126 required
credits for graduation. There is a 3-course sequence in the literature
of western civilization. Additionally, freshman composition and
literature courses involve great-books readings, as do 2 of the
required 3 history courses, and 3 courses in theology (2 on the
Great Works of Western civilization
began 1988, enrollment 30/year
Great Works is an interdisciplinary minor consisting of 18
credits. One course, "Great Books of the Western World," is required,
and there are 2 other non-departmentally based courses in great
books. Students choose one course from each of 5 categories: classical
civilization, post-classical literature, philosophy and religion,
the arts, the sciences.
began 1980, enrollment 750/year
The core curriculum requires all students to take a 2-course
sequence with the titles "Western Traditions" and "The Challenge
of Modernity." The first course deals with great books of literature,
religion, and philosophy of the ancient world. The second course
moves from the enlightenment to the 20th century, and
incorporates science and the arts with the humanities.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
Students in the Honors Program are required to take a 2-course
(6 credits each) sequence that combines lectures and seminars to
study the history of Western Civilization by focusing on great books.
Works of art and the sciences are incorporated with the humanities.
COLLEGE OF THOMAS MORE
Fort Worth, TX
began 1982, enrollment 35/year
The college offers a single baccalaureate program, which is
based on reading the great books. The curriculum is divided into
the areas of literature, philosophy, theology, Greek and Latin,
and mathematics. Most courses (including language courses) focus
on the great books of the Western tradition.
New York, NY
began 1920s, enrollment 2,400/year
Columbia began its now famous great-books program in the 1920s
with Mortimer Adler as one of the first instructors. Today the program
consists of 2 year-long core courses entitled "Contemporary Civilization"
and "Humanities: Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy."
Also in the core are one-semester courses entitled "Masterpieces
of Western Art" and "Masterpieces of Western Music."
COLUMBUS STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
began 1983, enrollment 700/year
The Humanities Department offers a 3-course sequence (quarter-system
calendar) spanning the ancient world through the 20th
century. The courses feature readings from great books, primarily
from the Western tradition but a few from beyond it. In order to
earn an associate'’ degree in arts or sciences, students are required
to complete the 3-course sequence.
began 1980s, enrollment 150/year
All converse students are required, as part of general education,
to take "Ideas and Culture" 150 and 151. The courses are chronological,
and incorporate history, art, architecture, and music, while focusing
mainly on primary texts of religion, philosophy, and religion from
the ancient world to the present.
*World Literature Program
began 1993, enrollment 700/year
As part of the Arts and Science core curriculum, students must
complete 2 courses in world literature. The courses are historically
sequenced, and in addition to including works from the Western canon,
stress the importance of non-Western texts. All course sections
teach a set of common texts, beyond which faculty may customize
the reading list.
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began 1962, enrollment 100/year
Humanities is a 4-semester program for first- and second-year
students, focusing on great works from the Western tradition from
antiquity to the present. Lectures provide background for discussion.
Completion of the courses counts toward core distribution requirements
in history, religion, and philosophy.
DELTA STATE UNIVERSITY
Minor in Great Books
began 1997, enrollment 30/year
Four great-books courses are offered in historical sequence
from the ancient world through the modern world. Students who wish
to complete the minor take these 4 courses plus 2 additional courses
that require substantial reading in great books.
EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
began 1998, enrollment 30/year
East Carolina offers a minor in Great Books Study consisting
of 24 credits. An "Introduction to Great Books" course is required
of all students for the minor, after which they select their other
courses from an approved list drawn from the departments of Classics,
English, foreign languages, History, Philosophy, Political Science,
and Psychology. A proposal for a Great Books major will soon receive
*Templeton honors Program
began 1999, enrollment 24/year
Templeton students begin their program of study by taking 2
great-books courses: "History of Western Thought and Civilization"
I and II. The courses are historically sequenced, and include works
of philosophy, religion, and literature.
EASTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
began 1980, enrollment 100/year
The foundation of the Honors Program is a sequence of three
8-credit courses (quarter-system calendar) that focus on great books.
"The Intellectual Tradition" I and II are historically sequenced
from the ancient world through the Reformation, and include works
from literature, philosophy, history, and art. The third course,
"Modern Science and Society," combines classic works from natural
and social science with contemporary works.
Great Books Honors Program
began 2001, enrollment 60/year
The program consists of a 4-course sequence featuring great
books from the Western cultural heritage. Courses proceed in historical
progression, and include works of philosophy, literature, and religion.
Great-Books honors courses can be used to fulfill general education
New York, NY
began 1955, enrollment 75/year
The first two years of the Honors Program are comprised of
a sequence of four 3-course sets (Literature/Philosophy-Theology/History),
with each set worth 9 credits: "Ancient," "Medieval," "Early Modern,"
"Contemporary." All courses focus on great books, with some bringing
in the arts as well. These Honors courses fulfill general education
requirements. Some upper-level Honors courses, including "Honors
Mathematics," feature or include great works.
began 1990, enrollment 90/year
The Honors Program consists of 8 chronologically sequenced
courses (4 credits each; most courses at the school are 3 credits)
focused on the great books of the Western tradition. Students take
one course per semester. Completion of the sequence satisfies the
entire humanities and social science core and most of the communications
began 1970, enrollment 100/year
The Humanities sequence is a year-long (3-course) study of great
books that substitutes for one general education course each in
literature, history, and religion. Texts are drawn from the Western
canon and are historically sequenced from the ancient world to the
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GEORGE WYTHE COLLEGE
Cedar City, IA
began 1992, enrollment on campus 50/year, enrollment distance learning
The George Wythe undergraduate program offers a single degree
in "Statesmanship," which concentrates on reading the great books
of the Western world. The reading list is similar to that of St.
John’s College, covering all basic liberal-arts fields, but it is
divided into subject matter courses including history, philosophy,
government, math and science, and law. The structure differs from
that of traditional great-books degrees by including an internship
("entrepreneurship"), as well as a course each term in "simulations"
(group experience such as mock trial, debate, negotiation, etc.).
GROVE CITY COLLEGE
Grove City, PA
began 1991, enrollment 1,700/year
The Humanities Core consists of 6 courses. In 4 of them students
read (as all or part of course requirements) great works (or selections).
The 6-course sequence is interdisciplinary, and students take 2
courses per year for 3 years. The college’ commitment is to the
Western and Christian traditions, although other points of view
and other cultures are examined.
began 1993, enrollment 20
Gutenberg College, allied with the McKenzie Study Center, offers
a single non-elective curriculum in which about 2/3 of the study
is in the great books of the Western tradition. The reading list
resembles that of St. John’s College. Required languages are Greek
*General Education Requirements
An earlier version of the present program gave students a choice
of two 3-course sequences to meet general-education requirements:
"Humanities" (great books) or "History." The present 3-course sequence
is required of all students; it consists of history as taught from
a history textbook combined with reading of 5 great books per course
Eurasia: Science and the Humanities
began 1994, enrollment 60/year
Eurasia is a 3-wemester, multidisciplinary and cross-cultural
introduction to science and the humanities. Completion of the 3
Eurasia courses substitutes for 6 courses of general education.
Classes meet 5 day per week, and cover Western and Eastern developments
in literature, philosophy, and the arts, as well as the rise of
modern science. Students read selections from numerous great works.
*"Liberal Studies -- Journeys"
began 1993, enrollment 300/year
"Liberal Studies -- Journeys" a course required of all
freshmen. It is arranged chronologically, and introduces students
to key works of philosophy, political theory, drama, and literature
in discussion classes. Musical, artistic, scientific, and historical
developments are presented through a series of lectures.
Liberal Arts Core
began 1990, enrollment 700/year
Required for the Core are a 2-course sequence entitled "Rhetoric
and the Great Books" and a 2-course sequence in "Western Heritage"
and "American Heritage." All four of these courses make extensive
use of great works, usually selections thereof. An additional English
course is required, and most of the options students can choose
from focus on great works.
Honors students complete the liberal-arts core requirements, beyond
which they enroll in honors seminars in which many readings are
from great books.
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New Rochelle, NY
began 1980, enrollment 60/year
The Honors Program requires 4 seminar courses (2 freshman year,
2 sophomore year) in which students read great books and discuss
great ideas in philosophy, history, literature, and religion. Emphasis
is on the Western tradition, although several Eastern works are
included. Many works are read in their entirety.
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KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
Certificate in the Study of the Arts and Sciences Through Primary
began 2001, enrollment 40
The certificate requires an 18 credit (6 course) program of study
which students can tailor to their own interests. Courses must cover
at least 3 disciplines, and a capstone essay is required. Courses
are chosen from a brief list of approved courses drawn from several
departments, and they may be used to fulfill general education requirements.
began 1970s, enrollment 250/year
The English Department offers a 4-course Humanities sequence (Classical,
Medieval and Renaissance, Baroque and Enlightenment, and Modern)
in which students read from great books of the humanities and some
from the social and natural sciences. Great works of music and art
are incorporated as well. These courses can be used to satisfy general-education
requirements, and can also be applied toward the Certificate in
the Study of the Arts and Sciences through Primary Texts.
KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY
Whitney Young College Honors Program
began 1982, enrollment 50/year
WYC Honors offers a 48-credit great books program which fulfills
all core liberal studies requirements of the university. Also there
is a liberal studies major consisting of 21 credits of great-books
course work. The reading list resembles that of St. John’s College.
Considerable attention is given to classics in science.
Integral Honors Program
began 1970s, enrollment 70/year
The bulk of the Integral honors Program consists of a required
3-course (6 credits per course) great-books sequence that integrates
philosophy, religion, literature, and history. Emphasis is on the
Western tradition, but some non-traditional works are included.
Two other courses featuring great books are offered, a course on
music (with great works) is given as an elective, and a course including
great works of science is under development. Integral Honors courses
fulfill core requirements.
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Baton Rouge, LA
began 1967, enrollment 350/year
Among the offerings of the Honors college is a set of great-books
courses: "Ancient Western Civilization" (6 credits), "Comparative
Civilizations" (6 credits), Rome and Medieval Civilizations" (6
credits), "Colonial and Early National America" (6 credits), "The
Renaissance" (4 credits), "The Modern World" (4 credits). The courses
may be used to fulfill general-education requirements, as well as
for Honors Distinction in the award of a degree.
began 1980s, enrollment 200/year
The Honors Program consists of a series of 12 courses, 8 of
which focus on the great books and critical ideas of Western culture.
5 courses constitute a chronologically sequenced exploration of
intellectual history, and 3 more are devoted to art history, music,
and theatre. Honors courses can be used to satisfy general-education
Lynchburg College Symposium Readings
began 1989, enrollment 200/year
The Lynchburg Symposium inserts classic works across the curriculum.
The college has published its own 10-volume set of readings from
great books and keyed on great issues, and LCSR-approved courses
typically include 3 or more such readings. LCSR courses are found
in various departments. The courses are not required and are not
part of a credit-earning program, but they are options that may
satisfy general-education requirements.
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Warner, New Hampshire
Magdalen offers a single degree program composed of required
courses. The courses are conducted in small groups, and most courses
emphasize reading great books. The courses take a disciplinary approach
(Catholic tradition). The books read are from the Western Canon,
and are in some cases organized chronologically and other cases
The Honors Program consists of 5 great books courses (and a
capstone project). The courses are chronologically sequenced: Greek;
Classical and Medieval; Renaissance and Enlightenment; Nineteenth
Century; Twentieth Century. The focus is on the Western tradition,
including works from philosophy, literature, and religion.
Great Books Program
began 1984, enrollment 300/year
Great Books comprises an 8-course sequence that serves as an
alternative to the regular general-education requirements in the
humanities, arts, and social sciences. The pedagogical method and
reading list are modeled on St. John’s College, with the first 7
semesters focused in chronological fashion on classics of the Western
tradition. The eighth course has an open format where non-Western
classics and primary texts representing particular themes (including
race, class, and gender) may be read.
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
Great Books Interdisciplinary Minor
Students earn a minor in Great Books by taking 6 courses from
an approved list from various departments. Course approval indicates
that the instructor will teach in its entirety at least one path-breaking,
defining text in the discipline in question. There is one required
course that focuses on the meaning and value of historical thought.
Otherwise students may choose, with the proviso that no more than
2 courses be drawn from any one department.
Milligan College, TN
began 1968, enrollment 420/year
All entering freshmen at Milligan are required to take a set
of 4 great books courses (6 credits each for a total of 24 credits).
In a combined lecture and discussion format, the areas of history,
literature, philosophy, and religion are integrated, with art and
music also included. The focus is on the foundations of Western
Heritage of the West in World Perspective
began 1968, enrollment 120/year
Heritage is a 4-course option (actually, 2 double-credit courses)
that substitutes for 5 courses in the core curriculum. Class sessions
include lectures and musical/visual presentations as well as small-group
discussions. Works read are selections from Western and Eastern
West Long Branch, NJ
*WN 201,202 World Masterpieces
began 1967, enrollment 1,000/year
All students must take "World Masterpieces" I and II in fulfillment
of their general education requirements. The courses are chronologically
sequenced, and in them students read Western classics of literature.
MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY – BILLINGS
University Honors Program
began 1977, enrollment 50/year
The heart of the honors program is a 3-course (6 credits each)
sequence in which selections from key texts that have shaped Western
civilization are read and discussed against a background of historical
development. The period covered is the ancient world through the
20th century. These courses can be used to fulfill general
MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY
began 1985, enrollment 70/year
Honors students are required to take a 2-course sequence entitled
"Great Books and Ideas." There is no common reading list, and faculty
have leeway in the approach they take: some teach a traditional
masterpieces course, while others give it a West/Non-West comparative
emphasis or take some other non-traditional approach.
MOREHEAD STATE UNIVERSITY
began 1985, enrollment 150/year
The mainstay of the Honors Program is a 4-course sequence of
great-books courses arranged into 4 historical periods from ancient
Greece to the present. Emphasis is on the Western tradition, and
readings are from classic works in the humanities, natural sciences,
and social sciences. The objective of the program is to expose students
to great ideas in their original and challenging presentation.
NEW ST. ANDREWS COLLEGE
began 1994, enrollment 100/year
New St. Andrews offers a single course of study leading to
the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Culture (an associate’s
degree is also available). The curriculum includes instruction in
theology and in the Latin and Greek languages, and 3 full-year courses
in great books (Philosophy, Classical Culture and History, Literature).
Some other courses include the study of great works. The focus is
on the Western tradition.
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
New York, NY
General Studies Program
began 1973, enrollment 600/year
The core requirements in General Studies include a 2-course
sequence in "Cultural Foundations" and a 2-course sequence in "Social
Foundations." All 4 courses key on the great books of the Western
tradition. Great works from the arts are also included.
NORTH PARK UNIVERSITY
began 1985, enrollment 35/year
3 courses in general honors are offered as an optional foundation
for specialized honors: "Foundations and Landmarks of Western Culture"
I and II, and "Christian Classics." Each course holds 5 semester
hours of credit. Besides for honors credit, the courses may be used
in fulfillment of general-education requirements.
NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA
Louisiana Scholars Program
began 1987, enrollment 165/year
Louisiana Scholar’s College is the state’s designated 4-year, selective-admissions
honors college in the liberal arts and sciences. The curriculum
requires 4 chronologically sequenced great-books courses (5 credits
each) entitled "The Shaping of Western Thought." A fifth required
course (4 credits) is devoted to classics of the American tradition.
The reading list draws works from several disciplines, including
natural and social science.
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began 1945, enrollment 550/year
Oglethorpe’s core includes 3 sets of 2 courses each: "Narratives
of the Self," "Human Nature and the Social Order," "Historical Perspectives
on the Social Order." Students take all 3 sets, one each year as
freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Each course-set is historically
sequenced, and has a book list of great works to which individual
instructors add personal choices. Also required for the core is
either an art course or a music course based on great works.
OHIO DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY
*Humanities Core Program
As part of the core requirements, all students take 2 interdisciplinary
Humanities courses centered on the study of great books. Works are
drawn from philosophy, literature, and religion in the Western tradition.
OHIO WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
Department of Humanities-Classics
Ohio Wesleyan offers a Humanities-Classics major requiring
10 courses. A minor is also offered. Works read are in translation,
and consist of classics from several fields although largely from
literature. There is a 5-course historical sequence of a traditional
nature. Most other courses are thematic, such as "The Tragic Vision"
and "Women in Antiquity," or genre-oriented, such as "The Ancient
Novel" and "Smiles and Laughter." Several courses feature or include
OUR LADY OF CORPUS CHRISTI
Corpus Christi, TX
began 1999, enrollment 40/year
The core curriculum is fully prescribed, and encompasses the
entirety of course work for the freshman and sophomore years, and
3 courses in the junior year. Nine of the courses focus on great
books: 2 Bible, 2 history and politics, 2 philosophy (medieval,
metaphysics), and 3 literature. The 3 majors students choose from
also include reading in great books: theology, philosophy, and English.
Emphasis throughout the curriculum is on connections with Catholic
PACIFIC UNION COLLEGE
began 1998, enrollment 80/year
Honors is a great-books program consisting of 12 great-books
courses (4 or 5 credits each on a quarter-system calendar) plus
2 full years of Greek and a senior project. The courses are organized
by theme or by discipline (although with titles that sound thematic):
"Heroes," "Order and Liberty," "Scripture I and II, "Cosmos," "America,"
"Virtue," "Christianity," "Beauty," "Self and Society," "East,"
"Progress." Masterworks of art, music, and film are included in
PALM BEACH ATLANTIC COLLEGE
West Palm Beach, FL
began 1985, enrollment 70/year
Course work during the first two years of the Honors Program
consists of a 4-course sequence (4 credits per course) that integrate
literature, philosophy, religion, the arts, and science in the Western
tradition. Students read brief selections from many great works,
thus following a great-ideas approach. The courses are sequenced
historically. The program is presently undergoing revision toward
reading longer selections and fewer works.
began late 1980s, enrollment 200/year
The Colloquium is a 4-course sequence focusing on the masterpieces
of Western civilization. Readings are drawn from literature, philosophy,
religion, and psychology. Instructors follow a common list beyond
which they may customize. Completion of the sequence substitutes
for 5 general-education courses. In addition to the standard 4 courses,
some elective great-books courses are offered.
Princeton, New Jersey
Program in Humanistic Studies
began 1980s, enrollment 150/year
Humanistic Studies serves as a forum for courses designed to
introduce students to fundamental events, ideas, and texts of literature,
art, science, philosophy, and society. Some courses have a traditional
great-works emphasis. Especially notable is a 4-course introduction
to Western culture (HUM 216, 217, 218, 219) that combines lectures
and small-group discussions. Also notable are courses on the Bible
and Eastern works.
Development of Western civilization
began 1971, enrollment 1900/year
DWC is a 4-year course sequence (5 credits per course) taken in
the freshman and sophomore years. It is required of all students
as a part of their core. The courses are interdisciplinary and team-taught.
The sequence is historical, and concentrates on great books and
other great works.
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began 1943, enrollment 650/year
All students at Reed are required to take a 2-semester Humanities
sequence that counts for 3 semesters of credit. The course covers
great works from ancient Greece (first semester) and Rome (second
semester). Beyond this are 3 more 2-course sequences that can be
chosen on an elective basis: "Early Modern Europe," "Modern European
Humanities," and "Foundations of Chinese Civilization."
RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE
began 1996, enrollment 1500/year
As part of their general-education requirements, all students
must take English 161 ("Western Literature") and History 161 ("Western
History’). In both courses students read selections from many great
works of the Western tradition.
Basic Humanities Requirement
began 1945, enrollment 430/year
All students at Rhodes must complete one of two 4-course sequences
in Humanities. The track entitled "Search for Values in the Light
of Western History and Religion" consists of one course taken in
each of the first four semesters, with all courses focusing on primary
texts. The first year examines early ancient times through the early
Christians. The second year follows the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman
heritage through subsequent ages to the present, with students choosing
one disciplinary area of emphasis from: religious studies, history,
philosophy, literature, politics.
*General Education (Humanities)
Among the options Rice students may choose for fulfilling general-education
requirements is a 2-course great-books sequence. Fields covered
include literature, philosophy, and history, and the focus is on
the Western tradition.
began 1979, enrollment 25/year
The Honors Program comprises 4 historically sequenced courses
spanning the development of Western Civilization from the ancient
world to the present. Disciplines included are literature, philosophy,
science, religion, and politics. These courses may be used to fulfill
The Scholars Program (an honors program) requires that its
students take 2 courses entitled "Great Ideas" I and II. In each
course at least one primary text from each of six genera is read
(a Greek play or epic, a dialogue of Plato, an 18th-century
Enlightenment work, a 19th-century work on political
philosophy, etc.). The focus is on the Western tradition.
ST. ANSELM COLLEGE
Liberal Studies in the Great Books
began 1972, enrollment 25/year
St. Anselm offers a major in great books consisting of 6 required
seminars and 2 preceptorials. There is also an optional proseminar
for freshmen who are prospective majors. The seminars are chronologically
sequenced, with one taken per semester. The reading list includes
standard classics form Western culture.
ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE
Santa Fe, NM
began 1937, enrollment 800/year
In 1937 St. John’s College in Annapolis established a full
4-year, non-elective great-books curriculum. In the 1960s an additional
campus was started in New Mexico. Today St. John’s is considered
the model for great-books programs, and its reading list is often
consulted. Besides reading extensively from the great books (many
of them in their entirety), students are exposed to classics in
the arts and to great scientific experiments. The curriculum is
based on the Western tradition. The New Mexico campus offers a graduate
program in Eastern classics.
ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE
began 1959, enrollment 700/year
St. Joseph’s has a core curriculum of 10 courses, 3 of which
focus on reading from classics of the Western tradition: Core II
("The Modern World"), Core III ("Roots of Western Civilization"),
and Core IV ("Christian Impact on Western Civilization"). Other
core courses are in science, multicultural studies, and Christianity.
ST. LEO UNIVERSITY
St. Leo, FL
began 1982, enrollment 90/year
The Honors Program consists of 9 courses, 6 of which are great-books
courses: a 3-course sequence in the humanities covering the ancient
world through the 18th century, one course on natural
science and one on social science, one on in-depth reading and analysis
of a single 20th-century work. The focus is on the Western
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE OF CALIFORNIA
Collegiate Seminar Program
began 1985, enrollment 2000/year
The core curriculum requires 4 great-books seminar courses. The
readings are arranged in chronological fashion, and are drawn from
the Western tradition. There are 2 elective seminars in non-Western
Integral Liberal Arts Program
began 1955, enrollment 90/year
The Integral Program is an alternative model for undergraduate
study. The full degree program follows a great-books model similar
to that of St. John’s College. Each year students take 4 courses:
Seminar, Mathematics, Language, and Laboratory. 2 music courses
are included, and there are a few electives. Courses are chronologically
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE
Notre Dame, IN
began 1956, enrollment 40/year
Humanistic Studies offers a major in which students take 4
great-books courses accompanied by 4 courses in cultural history.
Colloquia I-IV focus on great books of Western culture during the
medieval period, Renaissance and Reformation, 17th and
18th centuries, and 19th and 20th
centuries. Emphasis is on works of literature and religion, but
also included are philosophy and politics.
ST. MARY’S COLLEGE
St. Mary’s KS
began 1989, enrollment 35/year
For an associate’s degree students are required to take "Literature
of Western Civilization" I and II. A baccalaureate degree requires
"Literature of Western Civilization" I, II, and III, and a fourth
course entitled "Shakespeare and His Sources." Readings are drawn
from philosophy, literature, and religion.
ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY
Lasallian Honors Program
began 1983, enrollment 185/year
The Honors Program consists of a series of 8 great-books seminars,
one taken each semester for four years. 2 courses contain service
components of community involvement. Among the seminars are one
concentrating on great ideas in science and politics, and another
on Eastern classics.
ST. MICHAEL’S COLLEGE
began 1950, enrollment 100/year
The Humanities Program consists of 6 great-books courses on
the Western tradition. Courses 101 and 102 cover the ancient/medieval
and modern periods respectively; these courses can be used to satisfy
general-education requirements, and honors sections are available.
Other courses chronologically are: "Renaissance/Reformation," "Enlightenment
and Revolution," "The Nineteenth Century," "The Twentieth Century."
Music, art, and film are integrated into the courses.
ST. OLAF COLLEGE
The Great Conversation
began 1981, enrollment 190/year
The Great Conversation is an alternative means for fulfilling
much of the college’s core curriculum. The program consists of a
5-course sequence, taken during each semester and the interim of
the first year and one course each semester of the sophomore year,
in which great works from the Western tradition are approached in
chronological fashion. Several other courses are available for students
who wish to continue great-books study beyond the basic sequence.
ST. VINCENT COLLEGE
Common Texts Project
began 1986, enrolment 1,000/year
"Common Texts" refers to a collection of great works chosen
by the St. Vincent faculty to be read in a variety of courses. The
aim is for students to encounter the same texts in more than one
course and through the perspectives of different disciplines. Faculty
from all disciplines are encouraged to use common texts in their
courses, and to request that those courses be designated by the
college as Common Text courses.
SALEM STATE COLLEGE
began 1998, enrollment 35/year
The Honors curriculum requires 2 literature courses in which students
read from the great books of the Western tradition. The courses
are chronologically sequenced.
began before 1975
The core curriculum at Salem State requires 2 sequenced courses
in literature. Most students fulfill the requirement by taking "World
Literature," "American Literature," "English Literature," or "Shakespeare,"
all of which focus on reading great books.
*Bellavance Honors Program
began 1987, enrollment 60/year
Honors students are required to take 2 literature courses that,
typically, are grounded in reading great works. The themes and readings
change with each offering of the courses, but include both the classical
and the modern from the Western tradition.
began 1988, enrollment 700/year
Cultural Perspectives is a 2-course sequence that serves as
an interdisciplinary introduction to the humanities. Faculty are
drawn from several departments. They share a common chronology and
certain texts, but individual instructors are free to supplement
with texts of their choice. The focus is on Western culture, with
a few works from outside.
SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
San Jose, CA
Humanities Honors Program
began 1950’s, enrollment 250/year
The Department of Humanities offers a 24-credit Humanities
Honors Program that substitutes for general-education requirements.
In a combined format of lectures and discussion groups, students
work through an extensive great-books list that includes works from
the humanities and science, and Eastern traditions as well as Western.
Art and music are also included. Other courses based on great books
are available, including a 4-course sequence from antiquity through
the Romantic era. A major and a minor in Humanities are available
in which most of the course work is based in great books.
SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY
Santa Clara, CA
*University Honors Program
began 1991, enrollment 50/year
All freshmen entering the program take a 3-course (quarter-system
calendar) great-books sequence entitled "The Western Culture Seminars."
The courses are chronologically sequenced, and emphasize works of
literature, although works of philosophy and religion are included.
began 1959, enrollment 50/year
The Honors Program is an alternative to the university’s regular
core curriculum; it fulfills all core requirements except mathematics.
Among the Honors seminars are 2 sequences devoted to study of great
books: students take 3 courses per year (on a quarter-system calendar)
for two years in each of two areas: "Thought" and "Literature."
Additionally, a social science course based on foundational thinkers
is required, as well as a course on art and one on music keyed on
major works and genres.
SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
began 1970, enrollment 80/year
University Scholars is an honors program, the bulk of which
consists of a 4-course sequence (5 credits per course on the quarter
system) of great-books courses. The first is the "University Scholars
Seminar" and the following three are entitled "Texts and Contexts."
Readings are drawn mainly but not exclusively from the Western tradition
and represent literature, philosophy, history, and politics. The
last course in the sequence incorporates many works of art and music.
There is also a 2-course sequence on "Faith and Science" that incorporates
some classic works of science.
SETON HALL UNIVERSITY
South Orange, NJ
The bulk of the Honors Program at Seton Hall consists of 4
chronologically sequenced (classical civilization to contemporary)
great-books courses. The focus is mainly on the Western tradition,
although non-traditional works are also included. The courses are
interdisciplinary, representing literature, philosophy, religion,
politics, art, and science.
began 1950, enrollment 150/year
Shimer offers a single degree program in which great books
form the basis for all courses. There are course sequences in 4
areas: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and integrative
studies. Each course within these areas is devoted to a topic or
theme (e.g. "Aesthetics and Literary Criticism;" "Society, Culture,
and Personality;" "The Western Political Tradition"), and in some
cases the texts span several areas. Texts are drawn from the Western
tradition, and some latter 20th-century works are included.
SIMON’S ROCK COLLEGE
Great Barrington, MA
Lower College Program
began 1985, enrollment 300/year
(see page 95)
Simon’s Rock is an affiliate of Bard College, and was designed
to offer collegiate study to students who wish to substitute it
for their last 2 years of high school. Required of all students
as part of the 4-year degree program are the First-Year Seminar
(2 semesters, 8 credits) and Second Year Seminar (1 semester, 4
credits). Readings are drawn from great works of Western civilization.
SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY
began 1988, enrollment 160/year
Among the courses in Southeastern’s Honors Program are 4 English
courses that take a great-books approach, as well a a 4-course interdisciplinary
sequence entitled "Ideas in conflict." Works read are from the Western
tradition. The "Ideas" sequence is a requirement for earning an
Honors Diploma in Liberal Studies.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
Buena Vista, VA
General Education Requirements
began 1996, enrollment 80/year
The Cultural Heritage portion of the general-education program
requires students to take 5 courses chosen from 4 two-course sequences:
"Art History," "Literature of Western Civilization," "Western Civilization"
(history), and "History of Philosophy." The literature and philosophy
sequences feature great books, and the art history sequence features
great works of art.
SPRING HILL COLLEGE
*English 121 and 123 (Core Courses)
began 1970s, enrollment 250/year
As part of their core requirements, all Spring Hill students
take English 121 and 123. These courses are entitled "Composition
and Literature (Introduction to Literature)". The courses are historically
sequenced , and emphasize reading from great works of the Western
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT GENESEO
*Western Humanities (Common Core)
began 1980, enrollment 1,250/year
All students are required as part of their Core to take (usually
in the sophomore year) a 2-course great-books sequence entitled
"Western Humanities." The courses follow chronologically and include
works from literature, philosophy, history, and politics. Instructors
have flexibility in designing their own reading lists by choosing
among various approved options.
Integrated Studies is a 2-course great-books sequence required
for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The first course
focuses on the ancient world and the second course on the 20th
century. Non-Western works and some works from the sciences are
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*Intellectual Heritage Program
began 1979, enrollment 4,000/year
Intellectual Heritage is a 2-course sequence that focuses on
the laws and disciplines upon which nations and their institutions
have been built. The emphasis is on Western culture, but non-Western
works are also included. Readings include selections, and wherever
possible, complete works from the great books. Students in all of
11 of Temple’s undergraduate schools and colleges are required to
take this sequence in fulfillment of general-education requirements.
THOMAS AQUINAS COLLEGE
Santa Paula, CA
began 1971, enrollment 280/year
Thomas Aquinas offers a single degree program based entirely
on the great books. The program is similar to that of St. John’s
College and St. Mary’s of California (Integral Program). Students
read from original texts in all fields, including mathematics and
science. Emphasis is on the Western tradition.
THOMAS MORE COLLEGE
began 1978, enrollment 75/year
The core curriculum includes 8 great-books Humanities seminars
(6 credits each) for 48 credits. Students are thoroughly versed
in the classics of the Western tradition in the areas of literature,
philosophy, religion, and politics. The seminars are historically
sequenced from the ancient world through the 20th century.
Students also must take either Latin or Greek, and some of their
readings are from great works in the original languages.
Guided Studies Program
began 1979, enrollment 50/year
Although not in name, Guided Studies is an honors program that
focuses on the foundations of European civilization. In a set of
8 courses (taken during the freshman and sophomore years) students
read great works of philosophy, literature, and religion. These
courses satisfy general-education requirements.
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
began 1980s, enrollment 2-course 1,000+/year; 4-course 100/year
The Humanities Program offers a 2-course great-books sequence
entitled "Traditions and Culture," that fulfills general-education
requirements. There is a more extensive 4-course sequence that applies
toward general education or to a minor or major in Humanities. The
focus in these courses is on the Western tradition, although some
non-traditional works are included. Several other Humanities courses,
offered on an occasional basis, feature great books.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SANTA CRUZ
Santa Cruz, CA
*Self and Society
While other colleges within the university have different requirements,
Stevenson requires its students to take a 3-course (quarter-system
calendar) core sequence entitled "Self and Society." The reading
list consists of 30 texts drawn from philosophy, religion, politics,
social criticism, history, and literature. The readings include
both traditional Western works and non-traditional works.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
began 1942, enrollment 1,800/year
Chicago’s general education program (on a quarter-system calendar)
requires course work in 2 categories where students read great books.
In the category of "Humanities, the Arts, and Civilization" students
choose one 2- or 3-course sequence (from half a dozen differing
by theme, with all featuring Western classics and some featuring
non-Western as well) and one 2- or 3-course sequence in Civilization
(from a dozen choices. In the category of Social Sciences students
choose one 3 course sequence (from 5 choices).
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
Introduction to Humanities
began 1940s, enrollment 400/year
The Humanities Program offers a 2-course (6 credits each) sequence
entitled "Introduction to the Humanities." Great works from the
humanities (primarily literature) are studied along with those of
art and music. The focus is on the Western world. These courses
can be used for general-education credit, and are required for a
major or minor in Humanities.
UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS
began 1960, enrollment 650/year
The core curriculum requires of all undergraduates 14 courses
that focus on reading great books: 3 philosophy courses ("Ethics,"
"Philosophy of Man," "Philosophy of Being"), 4 world literature
courses (Western tradition) in historical sequence, a 2-course sequence
in American civilization, a 2-course sequence in Western civilization,
1 course in American politics, and 2 courses in theology.
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON
began 1977, enrollment 320/year
During their freshman or sophomore year, all students in the
Honors College take a 2-semester great-books course (6 credits for
first semester, 4 credits for second semester) called "The Human
situation." The focus is on the Western tradition, drawing upon
works of literature, philosophy, religion, and history.
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
began 1945, enrollment 2,000/year
Western Civilization is a 2-course general-education requirement
for students in the Schools of Liberal Arts, Journalism, and Social
Welfare. It is a general-education option in the Schools of Business
and Education. Western CIV 204 and 205 are great-books courses in
which works are arranged in historical sequence. The reading list
includes classics of philosophy, literature, religion, science,
and social science.
UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY
began 1960s, enrollment 600/year
The core of the Honors Program consists of a 4-course great-books
sequence that traces the development of Western civilization from
the ancient world through the 20th century. The courses
are multidisciplinary, including literature, philosophy, religion,
politics, and history. Instructors have flexibility in designing
their own reading lists.
UNIVERSITY OF MAINE
began 1980, enrollment 120/year
The foundation of the Honors Program consists of 4 great-books
courses offered in 2 sequences: "The Development of Western Thought"
and "The Sciences and Western Culture." Works are drawn from literature,
philosophy, religion, physical sciences, and social sciences of
the Western tradition. Honors courses can be used to satisfy general-education
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Ann Arbor, MI
Great Books Program
began 1947, enrollment 500/year
The Great Books Program gathers under one umbrella a group
of courses that do not fit within traditional departments and are
given the catalog designation of GTBOOKS. GTB 191 and 193 account
for the bulk of enrollment, as they are required of students in
the Honors Program. This sequence focuses on great works of the
Western tradition from the ancient and medieval periods. Other courses
taught on an occasional basis address the modern and contemporary
periods and great works from other cultures.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, FLINT
University Honors Program
began 1979, enrollment 50/year
The foundation of the Honors Program consists of two 2-course
sequences: Great Books I and II (5 credits each) and Great Ideas
I and II (3 credits each). These courses are required of all Honors
students. Readings are drawn from great works of the Western tradition
as well as some from Eastern works.
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
began 1950, enrollment 400/year
The Humanities Program offers a set of 6 historically sequenced
courses (some for 4 credits, others for 3 credits) entitled "Humanities
in the West." These courses are grounded in reading great books,
but also include great works of art and music. Other courses offered
on an occasional basis focus on a single great figure. An 18-credit
Humanities minor is available.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
began 1955, enrollment 300/year
The Humanities sequence of the Honors College consists of 4
chronologically sequenced courses that combine lectures with discussion
groups to study great books. The focus is on the Western tradition.
Completion of the sequence satisfies the Humanities requirement
for the College of Arts and Sciences. The Social Sciences Sequence
in Honors (2 courses) also includes several classic texts.
UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
began 1950s, enrollment 200/year
While the Liberal Studies degree program is not a great-books
program, its core curriculum includes a required 2-course sequence,
"Introduction to the Humanities," that features great books of the
Western tradition. These courses also fulfill university general-education
requirements. Several other courses students may choose from for
the Liberal studies degree focus on great works.
UNIVERSITY OF MONTEVALLO
began 1970s, enrollment 450/year
All Montevallo students are required to take a 2-course great-books
sequence entitled "World Literature." Readings are drawn mainly
from the field of literature and from the Western tradition. Instructors
have latitude in choosing their own readings.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
began 1980s, enrollment 250/year
The Humanities program offers a major, a minor, and course
work for general education. Each term half a dozen courses are offered,
most of which feature great books. Some of the courses are thematic
and others comprise a 6-course sequence entitled "The Western Tradition:
An Interdisciplinary Introduction." Some courses key on or include
great works of art and music.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO
*University Honors Program
began 1987, enrollment 300/year
New Mexico’s Honors program is based in a 3-course sequence
of great-books courses: "The Ancient Legacy," "The Medieval Legacy,"
and "The Modern Legacy." The courses are interdisciplinary and focus
on the Western tradition through the 19th century. Instructors
design their own reading lists.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT ASHEVILLE
began 1964, enrollment 800/year
The Humanities Program is a 4-course sequence (4 credits per
course) required of all undergraduates. The courses are arranged
chronologically, and include one lecture and two discussion meetings
per week. Readings are brief selections from primary sources. The
first three courses in the sequence blend multicultural works with
classics of the Western tradition. The fourth course, "The Future
and the Individual," is devoted to multiculturalism and challenges
to contemporary society.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS
began 1972, enrollment 30/year
Great Books is a stand-alone program not related to general
education and not a major in itself. In each of 2 semesters students
enroll at once for 9 credits (3 in philosophy, 3 in literature,
and 3 in history), for a total of 18 credits. All classes are attended
by 3 professors as a faculty team, and are conducted in seminar
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA
Cedar Falls, IA
*Humanities I and II
began 1979, enrollment 3,000/year
As part of the general-education requirements at Northern Iowa,
all students take 2 four-credit courses entitled "Humanities I"
and "Humanities II." These courses examine Western culture from
its beginnings to the present, and feature primary texts in literature,
philosophy, and religion. Individual instructors choose texts from
an approved list. Students choose to take the course in sections
of 35 or large lecture sections.
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
South Bend, IN
Program of Liberal Studies
began 1950, enrollment 180/year
Liberal Studies is a degree program pursued after the freshman
year. It includes 60 credits of great-books courses. The core of
the program is a series of seminars, and parallel to them is a sequence
of tutorials (lecture-discussion) in literature, philosophy, natural
science, theology, political theory, fine arts, and intellectual
history. In addition to the great-books courses, students take 9
elective courses to complete the degree.
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
began 1970s, enrollment 180/year
Required of all Honors College students are two 3-course (quarter-system
calendar) sequences in which students focus on reading great books:
one in literature and one in history. And various other honors College
courses are available that use great books. Instructors have flexibility
in tailoring their own reading lists: some include non-Western works
and challenges to the Western tradition. Honors courses apply toward
fulfillment of the university’s general-education requirements.
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
began 1990, enrollment 50/year
Honors students begin their program with a 4-course great-books
sequence. The first two courses cover the ancient and medieval periods,
with the third and fourth moving from the Renaissance through the
19th century. Works represented are from philosophy,
literature, religion, history, politics, and science. These courses
can be used to fulfill general-education requirements.
UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco, CA
St. Ignatius Institute
began 1975, 150/year
The Institute offers a 4-year set of required courses that fulfills
all general-education requirements and includes further liberal-education
courses as well. 6-9 credits per semester are left for electives.
Each semester students take a great-books seminar which has a lecture
component attached. Most works are from the Western tradition, although
one semester is devoted to Eastern classics.
Program in the Humanities
began 1980s, enrollment 100/year
The program consists of 13 courses, most of them historically sequenced
and with a main focus on great books. Typically 6 courses are offered
per semester. Emphasis is on the Western tradition, although non-traditional
and a few non-Western works are included. The courses can be used
to fulfill general-education requirements.
UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH
Interdisciplinary Humanities Program
Humanities is a series of 4 chronologically sequenced courses
in which students study great works of the Western tradition. Disciplines
included are: literature, philosophy, religion, politics, and the
arts. These courses substitute for general-education requirements.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
University Honors College
began 1997, enrollment 50/year
Among the offerings of the honors College is a series of 8
great-books courses organized into 2-course sequences" Literature,
Science, History/Politics, and Philosophy/Religion. The focus is
on the Western tradition, and emphasis is placed on careful reading
of 4 major works (in their entirety or large portions) per course.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN INDIANA
began 1989, enrollment 1,200/year
As a core requirement, all students must take 2 courses from
a short list of great-books courses (or art history), or they take
2 intermediate-level foreign language courses. The great-books courses
are: "The Western Tradition in the Humanities" (interdisciplinary),
"The Western Tradition in Philosophy," and "The Western Tradition
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
began 1986, enrollment 70/year
The foundation of the Honors Program is a 4-course great-books
sequence. The "colloquiums" are arranged chronologically, and focus
mainly on the Western tradition but also include some multicultural
works. Colloquium courses can be used to satisfy general-education
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA
University Honors Program
began 1977, enrollment 150/year
University Honors is a 4-year interdisciplinary program consisting
of 37 credits of specially designed courses. Required are 2 courses
in humanities (6 credits each), 2 in social science (3 credits each),
1 in political theory, and 1 in non-Western traditions, all of which
consist of reading great books. An additional course in the arts
and one in science focus on great works in those fields. Completion
of the Honors curriculum fulfills all general-education requirements
except mathematics and laboratory science.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
Plan II Honors Program
began 1935, enrollment 350/year
Plan II is the university’s general honors program. Required
of all students entering the program are two 2-course sequences:
one in literature and one in philosophy, primarily from the Western
tradition. Instructors work from a common reading list, beyond which
they have flexibility in adding works of their own choosing.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO
El Paso, TX
*Western Cultural Heritage
began 1986, enrollment 1,000/year
The Western Cultural Heritage sequence of 3 courses is required
of all BA students and is open to students pursuing other degrees
as well. In a combined lecture and discussion format, students study
10-12 great books per term. Emphasis is on the Western tradition,
with works drawn from literature, philosophy, religion, and politics.
Working from a common set of texts, instructors go on to customize
their reading lists.
UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO
*University Honors Program
All students in the University Honors Program have the core
requirement of 2 great-books courses. The courses are interdisciplinary,
representing literature, philosophy, and politics, and focus on
the Western tradition. Also available are a course on the creative
arts in Western civilization, and 2 multicultural literature courses
(one on North America and one on non-European).
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
Salt Lake City, UT
began 1965, enrollment 500/year
Honors students are required to take "Intellectual Traditions"
I and II (ancient world through Renaissance), which focus on great
books of the Western tradition. Two further courses are available
as part of the sequence, one which concentrates on modern times
and the other on the influence of science on the development of
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
John Dewey Honors Program
Integrated Humanities Program
began 1978, enrollment 35/year
Integrated Humanities offers a group of first-year students
3 year-long courses (literature, history, religion) in the Western
tradition from ancient times through the present. All of the courses
can be used to satisfy general-education requirements. Intermediate
and advanced level great-books courses are also available.
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
Integrated Liberal Studies
ILS has its roots in the Meiklejohn Experiemtnal College (1927-32).
It is an interdisciplinary core curriculum, courses from which can
substitute for all or some of the Letters and Science distribution
requirements for the B.A. The foundation of the program is a set
of 8 great-books Western Culture courses offered in 2-course sequences:
"Science, Technology, Philosophy;" "Literature and the Arts;" "Political,
Economic, and Social Thought;" "History." Other courses are in the
categories of Contemporary and Crosscultural, and focus on great
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN – GREEN BAY
Green Bay, WI
began 1980s, enrollment 150/year
Humanistic Studies offers a 6-course sequence, "Perspectives
on Human Values" (classical times to 20th century) that
features great books of the Western tradition. The courses can be
applied toward a major or minor in Humanistic Studies. The focus
in most of the courses is on reading all or large portions of four
or five great works.
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN – MILWAUKEE
Great Books Program
Great Books is a certificate program that has requirements
in mathematics, foreign language, and history in addition to the
great-books component. Students must take 15 credits in courses
approved by the program coordinator as great-books courses. That
designation means that one or more classics are read in their entirety.
Popular choices are courses in the areas of classics, comparative
literature, English, languages, and philosophy.
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
began 1980, enrollment 150/year
The foundation of the Honors Program is a 2-course great-books
sequence. The focus is on the Western tradition, with the first
course covering the ancient Greeks through Shakespeare, and the
second course from that point to the present. The emphasis is on
works of literature, but philosophy, religion, and politics are
began 1999, enrollment 380/year
As part of their core requirements, all students take 2 Liberal
Studies seminars, in each of which they read seven or eight great
books. The courses are chronologically sequenced, and focus mainly
but not exclusively on the Western tradition. Subject areas represented
are literature, philosophy, religion, politics, and science.
Christ College (honors program)
began 1967, enrollment 80/year
Christ College is Valparaiso’s honors program. The foundation of
the curriculum is a 2-semester freshman sequence of courses (8 credits
each) entitled "Texts and Contexts: Traditions of Human Thought."
Readings are drawn from the great books of history, literature,
philosophy, and religion. Two sophomore courses (4 credits each)
also focus on great works: "Word, Image, and Tone" (includes music)
and "Interpretation in the Social Sciences."
*First Year Core
began 1998, enrollment 700/year
All students (other than in the Christ College honors program)
are required to take 2 freshman courses (5 credits each) that focus
on reading from great books along with a few contemporary sources.
Entitled "The Human Experience," the sequence includes works from
literature, philosophy, religion, and politics of the Western tradition
and a few from Eastern thought.
*Core Humanities Program
began 1983, enrollment 1,500/year
Core Humanities, required of all students in liberal arts and sciences,
engineering, business, and nursing, is comprised of 2 chronologically
sequenced courses in which students read selections from great works
of the Western tradition. Attention is given to including various
genera and disciplines.
began 1975, enrollment 40/year
The Honors Program offers 2 curriculum tracks, one of which includes
3 semesters of great-books study for a total of 24 credits (two
9-credit courses in freshman year and one 6-credit course in sophomore
year). Entitled "Interdisciplinary Humanities," these courses focus
on the Western tradition, and apply toward general-education requirements.
WALLA WALLA COLLEGE
Walla Walla, WA
General Studies Honors Program
Began 1980, enrollment 35/year
General studies Honors offers a 3-course sequence (12 credits
on a quarter system), entitled "Western Thought," that
focuses on the study of great works of literature, philosophy, history,
and politics. A separate 3-course sequence (12 credits), entitled
"Science and the Arts," features great works from those
fields. Also offered is a 3-course sequence (6 credits) on the New
Testament. Courses are team taught, and fulfill general education
St. Louis, MO
Text and Tradition
began 1980s, enrollment 70/year
Text and Tradition is al alternative general-education program
consisting of 6 great-books courses, the completion of which also
constitutes a minor. Two courses are devoted mainly to literature;
three others take an interdisciplinary approach to politics, ethics,
social theory, and economics; one course treats natural science.
The focus is on the Western tradition.
College of Letters
began 1959, enrollment 80/year
The College of Letters is an interdisciplinary program offering
a major combining literature, history, and philosophy. The core
of the program is a 5-course great-books sequence that begins with
the 20th century, followed by the ancient world and other
periods in chronological order. Emphasis is on European culture.
Various other courses, beyond the core, also feature great books.
WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
began 1980, enrollment 50/year
The Honors Program begins with a required 3-course (4 credits
each) sequence (on a quarter-system calendar) entitled "The Western
Traditions." The courses are historically sequenced and are devoted
to reading great books. Instructors have leeway to choose their
own reading lists, but there is a good deal of commonality, especially
for the earlier time periods. The Western Traditions courses can
be used in fulfillment of general-education requirements.
Walla Walla, WA
began 1981, enrollment 420/year
All Whitman students are required to take 2 core courses entitled
"Antiquity" and "Modernity." Readings consist of classic Western
texts predominantly in literature and philosophy but also including
religion and the sciences.
WILBUR WRIGHT COLLEGE (CITY COLLEGES OF CHICAGO)
Great Books Curriculum
began 1997, enrollment 1,800/year
In the process of earning an associate’s degree students may
also earn a Great Books Track certificate by completing 12 credits
in great-books courses. Approved courses devote at least half of
their reading to great books. Presently there are approved courses
in the fields of English, humanities, philosophy, social science,
WILLIAM JEWELL COLLEGE
Oxbridge Honors Program
Oxbridge offers 6 great-books courses, four of which focus
each on a particluar great mind and compare or contrast with other
great minds: Augustine, Niebuhr, Dante, Hobbes. There is a course
on "The American Enlightenment," and a double-credit course entitled
"History of Synthesis."
New Haven, CT
began 1946, enrollment 125/year
Directed Studies is a great-books program for freshmen that can
be used to fulfill general-education requirements. There are three
2-course sequences spanning the Western tradition from the ancient
world to the 20th century: literature, philosophy, historical
and political studies.
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