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.