Courses

To graduate with Great Books Honors, each student must complete a sequence of five courses (Great Books I–V) designed to provide a solid foundation for future study and reflective reading of classical literature. Generally, students taking these Great Books courses are exempted from other courses normally required for their degree programs. The goal of these exemptions is to provide an honors education within the framework of the student’s normal degree plan. Thus, there are not more courses required (with the exception of Senior Thesis), but higher quality courses.

Thomas-Aquinas-in-Stained-GlassFurther, honors students may take two honors contract courses in their departments and that are generally already required for the students’ majors. Please see the contract courses information and policies in the handbook for more information about these courses.

Finally, students graduating with Great Books Honors will complete a Senior Thesis. Ideally, students will decide on a thesis topic within the first two years of the Great Books Honors core courses (Great Books I–V). This will enable the students to write material for their thesis as part of their honors core and contract courses. Thus, when the student actually takes the Senior Thesis course, much of their research has already been completed.

Thus, the typical modifications to a student’s degree plan will be as follows:

Substitute Core Courses

  • EH 1301 English Composition I
  • EH 1302 English Composition II
  • HU 2315 Western Tradition I
  • HU 2325 Western Tradition II
  • Relevant HY/EH/BI courses

NB: These substitutions are flexible, depending on the student’s degree plan. For students transferring in with college credit, for instance, these GB courses may also be used as electives.

Add Honors Core Courses

  • GB 1300 Introduction to Great Books (if applicable) – Utilizing the discussion approach, this course explores works of literature, philosophy, religion, and political thought from the ancient world to the modern. Extensive reading, writing, and verbal participation are required. (GB 1300 is not a part of the Great Books core and represents a bridge course to the honors program. Students who successfully complete the course and receive director approval will officially join the Great Books Honors Program and may continue with the rest of the Great Books course work.)
  • GB 1301 Great Books I – Utilizing the discussion approach, this course explores works of literature, philosophy, religion, and political thought of the ancient world. Authors include, but are not limited to, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Virgil and Augustine. The course requires intensive work in reading, writing, and civil discourse.
  • GB 1302 Great Books II – Utilizing the discussion approach, this course explores works of literature, philosophy, religion, and political thought of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Authors include, but are not limited to, Aquinas, Dante, Machiavelli, More, Luther, Calvin, and Shakespeare. The course requires intensive work in reading, writing, and civil discourse.
  • GB 2301 Great Books III – Utilizing the discussion approach, this course explores works of literature, philosophy, religion, and political thought of the Enlightenment and Romantic era. Authors include, but are not limited to Descartes, Milton, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, Wordsworth, and Austen. The course requires intensive work in reading, writing, and civil discourse.
  • GB 2302 Great Books IV – Utilizing the discussion approach, this course explores works of literature, philosophy, religion, and political thought of the modern world. Authors include, but are not limited to Kierkegaard, Marx, Dostoevysky, Sartre, Camus, Brecht, Auden, Eliot, Nietzsche, and Solzhenitsyn. The course requires intensive work in reading, writing, and civil discourse.
  • GB 3301 Great Books V– Utilizing the discussion approach, this course explores works of Christian formation through the centuries. Authors include, but are not limited to, Ireneaus, Polycarp, Athanasius, Ignatius, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, St. Benedict, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, The Cloud of Unknowing, Ignatius of Loyola, and Thomas a Kempis. The course requires intensive work in reading, writing, and civil discourse.Thomas-a-Kempis-on-Mount-Agnes-300x224
  • GB 3302 Senior Thesis – Great Books Senior Thesis will be taken one semester prior to or the anticipated semester of the student’s anticipated graduation. This course is only for those who are in good standing in the Great Books Honors Program and shall culminate in the student’s thesis or final project.

Change Major Courses

Two courses from the student’s major are modified to honors contract courses equivalents. The student completes the same work as his or her non-GB peers but adds an additional component to their study in that class. Please see the contract courses information and policies in the handbook for more information about these courses.