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More Curriculums

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Published : May 24th, 2020
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Today we have two more curriculums for our consideration. The first is from Thomas Aquinas College, located in Northfield, MA and also, apparently, with a campus in Ojai, CA (where I went to high school!). Between these two campuses, they have 439 students. The college is overtly Roman Catholic. The curriculum is a unified program of Great Books. They offer one degree, the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. The student:teacher ratio is 11:1 and the tuition is $26,000 per year, plus $9,600 for room and board. They accept men and women, but the dorms are single-sex. Let’s take a look.

Here is the syllabus for the first year. The rest of the four-year program is available here. This is, I would say, a stubbornly antiquarian approach, as befits an institution that is overtly Roman Catholic. There is, actually, a lot of math and science; but, it is all pre-1900 math and science, which borders on the perverse. I am glad that a place like this exists, although I don’t think this approach would be my first choice. One thing to their credit is, they actually have a lecture series that describes why these elements are in their curriculum. Isn’t that nice?

Freshman Year
The Holy Bible
Plato: Meno, Protagoras, Gorgias, Apology, Crito, Phaedo
Porphyry: On the Predicaments (Isagoge)
Aristotle: Categories, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics
St. Thomas Aquinas: Proemium to the Commentary on the Posterior Analytics, Natural Science
Aristotle: Parts of Animals
DeKoninck: The Lifeless World of Biology
Fabre: Souvenirs Entomologiques
Galen: On the Natural Faculties
Harvey: On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
Linnaeus: Systema Naturae
Pascal: On the Equilibrium of Liquids
Archimedes: On Floating Bodies
Mendel: Plant Hybridization
Scientific papers of Driesch, Gould and Marler, Tinbergen, Goethe, Virchow, von Frisch, et alia
Measurements Manual
Euclid: Elements
A Primer in Latin Morphology According to the “Stem Method”
Latin Readings According to the “Stem Method”
Nesfield: Aids to the Study and Composition of English
Homer: Iliad, Odyssey
Plato: Ion, Symposium, Republic
Aeschylus: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides
Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone
Herodotus: Histories
Plutarch: Lives (Lycurgus, Pericles, Aristides, Alcibiades, Alexander)
Aristotle: Poetics, Rhetoric
Euripides: Hippolytus
Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War
Aristophanes: The Birds, The Clouds

Now, for our second college, we have Monticello College, of Monticello, Utah. This college is, more than any other, established according to the ideals of education that I embrace. It has just (in the last couple years) begun regular operations. This particular college has a strong theme of what we might call homesteading, although they like to call it “Georgics,” after Virgil. Students spend 20-30 hours a week planting and building. They are actually building the campus themselves, with their bare hands. They also grow most of their own food, and prepare it, on-site. This would be, I think, very educational. These young people are being trained to create new institutions, and build new worlds from scratch.

If you are in the mood of making donations to colleges, I would recommend making a donation here. Much of the funds received go to purchasing construction materials. The cost/benefit ratio is orders of magnitude better than what you would get from your typical corrupt university. Here is the inside of a new building that they are building themselves:

Their 2019 fundraising budget for this was: $26,000.

Building community is a theme at Monticello, and I can imagine that being isolated in the highlands of Utah, and planting, cooking, building and studying together, would make a very strong community.

As I’ve described, there are no lectures, and no classes. There is reading, discussion, writing, and close mentoring by Teachers. Much like I have adopted the Harvard Classics, they have adopted the Great Books of the Western World, a similar sort of fifty-volume compendium developed by Mortimer Adler in the 1950s. I do not think it is as good as the Harvard Classics, for a variety of reasons, but it is certainly good enough. As with Thomas Aquinas, there is only one unified program of study.

The tuition is $7,052 per year. The room and board is $2,398+$550 (but you have to build your own lodging and grow and cook your own food!). If you apply now, as one of the very first students, you can get a “founder’s scholarship,” which reduces the total tuition, room and board costs of a year to $5,950.

Here is their first-year reading list:


Lowenfels: Teaming with Microbes
DeMille: Thomas Jefferson Education
Brooks: AMERICAN: Killing the American Dream
Gonzales: Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies and Why
Hutchins: The Great Conversation*
Plato: Apology, Crito*
Plutarch: Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans (selections)*
Machiavelli: The Prince*
Locke: Second Treatise on Civil Government*
Ebenstein: Great Political Thinkers (5th Ed.) Chapters: 1, 2, 6, 7, & 8
Moses: Deuteronomy, Ten Commandments
Various Authors: Magna Charta
Various Authors: Mayflower Compact
Forstchen: One Second After
Skousen: The Making of America
Various Authors: The Declaration of Independence*
McCullough: 1776
Madison, et al: The Federalist Papers: 51, 31, 1, 2, and Anti-Fed paper 5
Madison, et al: The Federalist Papers: 84, 47, and 48
Madison, et al: The Federalist Papers: 39, 45, 46, and Anti-Fed 39, 40 44, 45, and 47
Skousen: The 5,000 Year Leap
Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice – Reader’s Theater
Bastiat: The Law
Marx-Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party*
Jung Chang: Wild Swans
Euclid: Elements (Axioms, Definitions, Propositions) *
Sessions: Universal Model: A New Millennial Science
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics*
Various Authors: The Syntopicon – God*
Various authors: Syntopicon – Mathematics *
Various Authors: The Syntopicon – Custom and Convention*
Various Authors: The Syntopicon – Democracy*
Various Authors: The Syntopicon – Justice*
Various Authors: The Syntopicon – Happiness *
Various Authors: The Syntopicon – Tyranny *
Wister: The Virginian
Orwell: Animal Farm
Lewis: The Weight of Glory
Lansing: Endurance
DeMille & Brooks: Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens
Koppel: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath
Mann: 1491 – New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
Tocqueville: Democracy in America Vol. 2 Part 1 – Chapters 1-2, 5, 9-11, 13-14, 16-17, 19, and 21
Tocqueville: Democracy in America Vol. 2 Pt. 2 – Ch. 1-2, 4-6, 8, 10, 13-15, and 18-20
Johnson: History of the American People
Meyer: Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design

*Found in the Great Books of the Western World – 1st edition

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Nathan Lewis was formerly the chief international economist of a firm that provided investment research for institutions. He now works for an asset management company based in New York. Lewis has written for the Financial Times, Asian Wall Street Journal, Japan Times, Pravda, and other publications. He has appeared on financial television in the United States, Japan, and the Middle East.
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