The Great Books Program, administered by the Philosophy Department, aims to bring about a fully integrated liberal arts education. Through the study of great works in the arts, literature, philosophy, science, and theology, primarily of Western Civilization, the program challenges students to seek out what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful, so that they may become wiser and better human beings. The program engages the abilities to think clearly, to write well, and to communicate persuasively. When developed, these abilities are applicable to a wide range of career options within the social, economic, and political world into which the student graduates.

In addition to pursuing an integrated understanding of a great range of human wisdom, this course of study has two other significant features. The first is an emphasis on discussion seminars rather than lecture classes. The second is the use of primary rather than secondary sources or textbooks.

Major requirements include (10 courses):

  • PH 105 - Human Nature Seminar
  • PH 107 - Ethics Seminar

  • In lieu of

    In lieu of PH 105 and PH 107, students may take PH 108-109 The Philosophical Life Seminar I-II, a two-semester course, taught by the one professor and covering the same topics as PH 105 and PH 107 but ordered historically.

  • PH 320 - Critical Thinking
  • or
  • PH 321 - Formal Logic
  • or
  • PH 467-469 - Focused Study Seminar

  • Euclid


  • PH 271 - Great Books Seminar I: The Ancient World - Homer to Plutarch
  • PH 272 - Great Books Seminar II: The Medieval World - Augustine to Chaucer.
  • PH 273 - Great Books Seminar III: The Renaissance - Machiavelli to Pascal
  • PH 274 - Great Books Seminar IV: The Enlightenment and Its Discontents - Locke to Dostoevsky

  • choose one of the following

    Choose one of the following:

  • PH 275 - Great Books Seminar V: The Contemporary World
  • PH 276 - Great Books Seminar VI: Non-Western Classics
  • PH 455-457 - Integrated Studies Seminars

  • choose two electives from the following

    Choose two electives from the following:

  • PH 325 - Metaphysics: Theories of Reality
  • PH 331 - Philosophy of Science
  • PH 450-452 - Philosophy Seminar
  • and

    PH265, PH266, PH467, PH468, PH469, PH455, PH456, PH457

As an introduction to the major:

As an introduction to the Major, we offer a course for freshmen and sophomores, PH 170   Introduction to Great Books, which if  taken would count for one of the electives.

Each major will write a lengthy paper as part of a Focused Study, Philosophy Seminar, or  Integrated Studies Seminar, as well as pass a comprehensive oral exam.