Great Books

We offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in deep study of great books written by some of the world’s most influential and original thinkers. Our students read classic texts like Homer’s Odyssey and Plato’s Republic alongside more modern works like Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home

In Great Books students encounter different subjects, genres, and modes of inquiry. Each course is organized around a theme, like Freedom or Human Nature & Technology. Students read novels alongside philosophical treatises; they study law, politics, poems, works of history and autobiographies all in the same course. In addition, every course is team-taught by two professors to promote conversation and a diversity of views. Professors choose texts that will challenge and provoke you — books that might inspire or trouble you. Through these texts our students come to understand a good deal about themselves and the world they inhabit.


Students who are interested in Great Books often take the first-year Aquinas: Great Books Program, as it operates on similar principles. Our classes are team-taught by at least two different professors and sufficiently small (36 students maximum) to allow for discussion.

  • You are interested in understanding yourself and your place in the world
  • You love to read and think about life's big questions
  • You're interested in the history of ideas


Great Books classes require a great deal of reading, writing, and critical thinking. With two professors dedicated to each class, you receive a lot of one-on-one attention to help sharpen your reading and writing skills. Our classes are discussion based, not lectures. We want you to think about the questions posed by the texts and determine for yourself what an appropriate answer might be. Your capacities to think through arguments and to speak cogently and persuasively are developed by means of the discussion-based format.

Students who take Great Books go into a diverse array of career paths including teaching, law, government, and publishing. Many students are successful winning scholarships for further educational opportunities, such as graduate programs in English, Political Science, Public Policy, Philosophy, and Classics.

As so much of the content of a Great Books class involves components from Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, and Human Rights, these disciplines easily complement a Great Books major. In addition, Great Books students become immersed in the history of ideas which is valuable background knowledge for any discipline. As a result, students have successfully paired Great Books majors with Sociology, Criminology, Religious Studies, Psychology, History, and Journalism.