Aquinas: Great Books is an option for first-year students who are interested in an interdisciplinary approach to complex human questions. In Aquinas, you will still have a regular course load of five courses and still get five separate credits, but in this program, three of your courses will be grouped together as one and you will be team-taught by professors from each subject. These professors will work as a unit, collaborating on the reading list and leading class discussions.
In addition to your Aquinas courses, you will still have room in your schedule for two more classes per semester from other fields that interest you.
This section introduces students to some of the most influential works in the history of Western civilization. If you want to know more about what it means to be human, the nature of ethics, and the purpose of politics, choose Great Books. We will encounter writers with diverse opinions on subjects such as justice, freedom, happiness, love, friendship, politics, and religion. We read Greek epic and Renaissance drama, medieval poetry and Enlightenment philosophy. Our readings fuel lively conversations and energetic debates throughout the year.
Great Books and Human Rights
By reading works of literature and political philosophy, we will examine the foundations of our modern conceptions of freedom and equality. These readings will help contextualize our conversations about modern human rights issues such as torture, the right to privacy, and gender equality. We will explore how ancient Greek and Roman works inform our modern sense of the relationship between state and citizen, and we will look at how the emergence of the scientific method altered our ideas about human communities. We will learn about human dignity, cultural diversity, and political equality.
After you have completed the Aquinas Program, you will move into your second year and choose courses from any academic field that interests you, whether these courses had roots in Aquinas: Great Books or not. Aquinas students pursue majors and minors from all disciplines at St. Thomas and are well-prepared for the reading, writing, and critical analysis that each department demands.
Aquinas and Your First Year
A liberal arts education is about providing knowledge, intelligence, and experiences that are broad in scope and deeply informative. In first year, you will take introductory courses from five academic areas to ensure you are getting a well-rounded education. You will gain expert knowledge in your chosen field as you move through your degree.