Great Books

We offer students the opportunity to study the classic texts, or great books, of the Western world. Books that we normally read include Homer’s Odyssey, Plato’s Republic, Dante’s Divine Comedy and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

We believe that these books are important because they shed light on who, we, as individuals in Western society, are, but, more importantly, provide us with a lens through which to think about questions that continue to be of perennial importance to living a happy life. For example, in one of our classes, Love and Friendship, we read books that offer differing perspectives on the nature of love. In the end, we don’t prescribe to any single answer, but intend, instead, to give you the tools by which you might determine for yourself the nature of the theme in question.


Students who are interested in Great Books often take the first-year Aquinas: Great Books Program, as itoperates 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


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, much of what we read is foundational to Western thought and as such can be 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.