Bachelor of Arts in Great Books

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The Bachelor of Arts in Great Books is a four-year liberal arts program in which students delve into great works of literature from the classical age through to our contemporary era. We also welcome students from the community who wish to take solo classes for personal and intellectual growth.

Our seminar classes are themed around topics that help us explore human flourishing, such as beauty, nature and the good life. The core texts are from a diverse range of authors, each examining what it means to be human in our world. Transformative conversations are held in seminar-style classes where students actively drive the focus and faculty serve as mentors.

Students who pursue a great books humanities degree will complete nine seminars and a unit in vocational discernment. Two internships and a career-oriented minor prepare students to take their humanistic education into their chosen profession or pursuit of graduate school.

Come and prepare for your future and career through the “life-giving power of literature” (Maya Angelou).

School of Arts and Sciences
A variety of careers/professions (including law, elementary or secondary education, higher education, non-profit, business or sales) or gain acceptance into graduate programs/professional schools in order to advance their career within a specific field.
Program Contacts
“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.” ― Joyce Carol Oates

Curriculum Details

The curriculum for the Bachelor of Arts in Great Books at FranU is multifaceted and multidimensional, offering perspectives on philosophy, history, economics and the natural world.

The courses in this liberal arts degree program are designed to provide students with both a depth and breadth of literary study that not only allows students to read and engage with texts from antiquity to the twenty-first century, but empowers them to ask questions, seek truths and use literature as a lens through which we may understand and interpret the world.

Seminar courses, guided by student voices and interests, cover the following topics:

  • The Classical World
  • Autobiography/Confession
  • The Good Life
  • Economics and Work
  • Beauty
  • The Natural World
  • The Good Community
  • Southern Literature
  • Health and Disease

Through these topics, students will examine themes that are embedded in various texts and consider questions such as: What is beauty? How do, and how should, humans contemplate and relate to the natural world? What does it mean to do a good job? What makes a good life?

The Bachelor of Arts in Great Books also places a great deal of emphasis on career readiness, offering two internship credits as well as a course in vocations after graduation. Internships will be completed in the Spring semester of students’ junior and senior years.

BA in Great Books Program Features

Admissions Requirements

Freshmen and first-time applicants to the Great Books liberal arts program at FranU are expected to meet the following admissions requirements:

  • Graduating or have graduated from high school (or met scoring requirements for HiSET or GED)
  • If applying test optional, students will need to take Math 0310 or submit a test score for math placement

For more information on admission requirements for first-time applicants, visit the First-Time Applicant page. If you are applying as a returning, transfer or international student, view the Undergraduate Admissions Requirements page for more information on admissions.

Our Approach to Education - Learn From Great Thinkers

A classical education in liberal arts and humanities is grounded in a rich history of creative, innovative and provocative thinkers. These great minds and their literary works will serve as historical and cultural touch points and will guide our discussions in the classroom across many topics and genres.

Program Mission - Preparing You for Great Things

The mission of the BA in Great Books is to form leaders who understand the human experience and are prepared to serve our world as skilled professionals. Join our mission!

Prepare for your success through a classical and humanistic education that celebrates:

  • Dynamic thinking
  • Diverse perspectives
  • Vibrant dialogue
  • Vocational discernment
  • Meaningful internships
  • Franciscan values

Internship Program - Become a Great Leader

What do you want to be? Here in the Great Books program at FranU, your professors mentor you in exploring your goals for your future:

  • Do you hope to be a health professional who serves your patients?
  • Do you hope to be a lawyer who uses critical thinking skills to defend your clients?
  • Do you hope to pursue graduate studies?

Whatever your dream, we’re here to help you prepare. We match you with internships in the local community that give you the experience of working in your field. When you graduate as a humanistic leader, you will have a strong network and career path.

Meet Your Program Director

Damon Boria, Ph.D

Dr. Damon Boria is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department. He earned his doctorate in philosophy from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. On faculty at FranU since 2013, he regularly teaches Ethical Issues in Healthcare and other courses in philosophy. His research interest include existentialism, environmental philosophy, and philosophy of literature.

Office | (225) 768-1794


What is a great books program and why is it important?

A great books program focuses on great texts in philosophy, history, theology, science, fiction and more, all in the pursuit of providing a liberal arts education that covers a broad range of topics while ensuring that the depth of study is not compromised due to the expansive nature of the curriculum and texts.

Students in a great books program will be encouraged to grapple with big questions, ponder life’s consistencies and anomalies, and discern patterns in ideas across time through the texts that have shaped and been shaped by societies from antiquity to the modern day.

Why should I study great books?

By studying Great Books at FranU, students will learn about a vast array of world perspectives through literature, allowing them to nurture many of their interests and make connections across topics and schools of thought.

A liberal arts curriculum makes for a well-rounded classical education in a broad range of subjects through creative engagement with foundational texts that work to understand human nature from a multitude of perspectives. An education in great books also helps students develop important skills that employers look for, such as critical thinking, clear and concise communication, and research and analysis.

Want to know more about why great books programs are worth it? Here’s what experts are saying:

Human Fundamentals: The case for great-books programs

The Case for the Classics: Without these ancient texts, our democracy will suffer

What will I study in the program?

The Great Books humanities degree at FranU will have you studying many subjects, including philosophy, theology, writing, Latin, communication, logic, the history of Christianity, religions of the world, psychology and public speaking. Though your liberal arts education will be broad, you will graduate with a marketable set of skills that will prepare you for career success.

You’ll learn important skills like professional writing and presenting, using research and analysis and the use of presentation tools to effectively communicate with an audience. Your time in the internship program will also have you gaining hands-on experience in which you’ll hone skills applicable in the workplace. In addition, you’ll develop skills in critical thinking, analytical reading, and an understanding of literary narrative and theory.

How long will the program take?

The BA in Great Books takes 4 years, with the exception of students who complete the degree in under 4 years having transferred credits from other accredited institutions.

Non-matriculating students have the flexibility of selecting solo seminars that they desire to study and paying tuition to attend.

What are my career options?

Humanities graduates are markedly employable in the ever- evolving 21st-century workplace. Navigating the contemporary work environment requires flexibility and the ability to master ever- changing contexts. Graduates of the Great Books program have transferable skills that hold their value over time, preparing students for a variety of careers, including law, medicine, business and education.

Graduates of the program may go on to work for non-profits as fundraisers or community outreach managers, as teachers in private schools, as editors for marketing or publication companies, or as writers or authors of many kinds. The program also prepares students for the rigors of graduate school, which opens up a vast expanse of career opportunities throughout the master’s and doctorate degree levels.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), liberal arts degree holders earn a median annual salary of $50,000. The BLS also reports that 51% of liberal arts graduates are employed in occupations at the bachelor’s degree level. Graduates are reported to have found careers in educational instruction and library occupations, management, office and administrative support, business and finance and sales.

Learn more about putting your education into action by reviewing the BLS’s resource on implementing your education within the job market.

What are experts saying about the employability of liberal arts degree graduates?

A Washington Post article highlights data from the National Center for Education Statistics:  “Contrary to popular belief, English majors ages 25 to 29 had a lower unemployment rate in 2017 than math and computer science majors.”

Dr. Nathan Kase in a discussion with NPR in 2015, says:

“The medical school didn’t need more science wonks; it needed more people who could think broadly, see the bigger picture, introduce fresh perspectives, innovate, connect science with the real world and relate to people of all sorts. In short, it needed people with a background in the liberal arts.”

Can I minor in Great Books?

Yes, depending on how many electives your major allows, many programs offer the flexibility for you to minor in Great Books. We invite you to take elective classes in Great Books. Our seminars are inclusive, so you do not need a background in literature, just a curiosity about our fascinating world.

What does the Socratic Seminar look like?

Each seminar class session is a conversational-based tutorial in which students take the lead on textual interpretation while the professor serves as a mentor. Within our intimate class setting, students tackle big questions that arise from the great texts they engage with their peers. Through thinking on their feet and guiding and participating in conversation, students prepare to be active young professionals.

Can I visit FranU’s seminar classes to get a sense of the program?

Absolutely! We invite students to contact our director, Dr. Ann-Marie Blanchard, to arrange a visit to our seminar classes. This is a great way to meet our community and to witness our dynamic and welcoming seminars.


Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate degrees. Questions about accreditation of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Tuition and Financial Aid

FranU understands that financing your education is an important part of your decision to pursue a college degree. We aim to demonstrate care and professionalism while assisting students with finding financial aid opportunities and a large percentage of our student body receives some form of financial assistance through grants, scholarships, or loans.

Learn more about financial aid opportunities on the Office of Financial Aid page. You can also use the True Cost Calculator tool to determine estimated costs.

Get Inspired - Why Literature Matters Today, Tomorrow and Always

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” ― Maya Angelou

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”James Baldwin

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for?... A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.” ― Franz Kafka

“When the Day of Judgment dawns and people, great and small, come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.” ― Virginia Woolf

"And yet we have forgotten how to read: how to pause, liberate ourselves from our worries, return into ourselves, and leave aside our search for subtlety and originality, in order to meditate calmly, ruminate, and let the texts speak to us. This, too, is a spiritual exercise, and one of the most difficult." — Pierre Hadot