The Program in Core Texts and Ideas is an introduction to the liberal arts through the study of the great books. It complements any major in the university with a sequence of six courses that can also meet UT core requirements. To complete the program, students take one course from each of four areas, as well as two great books electives from our list of qualifying courses.
Download the CTI Certificate Plan
The four required areas are as follows, together with 2014-15 courses that satisfy them:
1. Philosophy and Literature of the Ancient World
Classical philosophy and literature primarily from ancient Greece, exploring fundamental questions about human nature, justice, ethics, and humanity's place in the cosmos. Readings will include one or more masterpieces of epic or tragedy and one or more dialogues of Plato.
CTI 301 Ancient Philosophy and Literature – Honors (Dempsey, fall)
or CC 301 Introduction to Ancient Greece (fall and spring) UT core requirement: Visual and Performing Arts
or UGS 303 The Discovery of Freedom (Woodruff, spring) UT core requirement: Signature Course
or CTI 320 Classical Quest for Justice (L. Pangle, spring)
2. Major Texts of World Religions
A study of basic religious texts, including both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, examined from various perspectives, with emphasis on the fundamental questions and ideas raised in those texts.
CTI 304 The Bible and its Interpreters (fall and spring)
or CTI 345 The Bible as Literature (Kaulbach, fall)
3. History of Political Philosophy
Introduces the great rival conceptions of the moral basis and goals of political life as elaborated by revolutionary thinkers in the history of political philosophy.
CTI 302 Classics of Social and Political Thought (fall and spring) UT core requirement: Social Science
or Might and Right among Nations (T. Pangle, fall)
or CTI 303 Competing Visions of the Good Life (Abramson, spring)
4. America's Constitutional Principles
Close readings from primary texts that have shaped or that reflect deeply on American democracy, including the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and Tocqueville's Democracy in America.
GOV 312P America's Constitutional Principles: Core Texts (fall and spring) UT core requirement: US Government
Approved electives for each semester may be found at:
Students may petition to have any other course in the university count as an elective by bringing a syllabus to the Jefferson Center office. Most courses based on the great books that are not otherwise required of all UT students (e.g. English 316K) will normally be approved, but please consult our office before registering.
Meeting UT Requirements
Many of the courses that qualify for the CTI program will also satisfy UT core requirements, including Signature Course, Visual and Performing Arts, American History, US Government, and Social Science requirements, as well as the Writing, Global Cultures, Ethics and Leadership, and Cultural Diversity flags.
Here is an example of how one might earn the CTI certificate while satisfying six core requirements:
Signature Course, CTI Area 1: UGS 303 Discovery of Freedom
Writing Flag, Global Cultures Flag, CTI Area 2: CTI 304 The Bible and Its Interpreters
Social and Behavioral Science, CTI Area 3: CTI 302 Classics of Political and Social Thought
American Government, CTI Area 4: GOV 312P America’s Constitutional Principles
American History: HIS 317L Era of the American Revolution
Visual and Performing Arts, Writing Flag: CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama
For more information, please see the registrar's website in the semester for which you are registering, or consult the CTI academic advisor, Nathan Vickers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Core Texts of Western Civilization Sequence
Students interested in a chronological study of the great books of Western Civilization may wish to pursue the following sequence of courses to fulfill the Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas:
CTI 304 The Bible and its Interpreters
A close reading of extensive selections from both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, with special attention to fundamental questions raised in the texts, accompanied by selections from major interpreters of those passages from different religious and philosophical schools of thought.
CTI 301 Ancient Philosophy and Literature
Classical philosophy and literature primarily from ancient Greece, exploring fundamental questions about human nature, justice, ethics, and humanity’s place in the cosmos. Readings will include one or more masterpieces of epic or tragedy and one or more dialogues of Plato.
PHL 349 History of Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
An examination of the most significant and representative philosophers of medieval and Renaissance Europe, with a view both to their historical significance and their contemporary relevance.
CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama
A study of great tragedies, comedies, and historical plays from various epochs, including at least one play of Shakespeare, with attention both to the craft of the playwright and to the works’ explorations of problems of ethics, politics, and human nature. Includes viewing and discussion of at least one performance.
GOV 351D Theoretical Foundations of Modern Politics
Major works of political philosophy that have shaped the modern world. Explores modern theorists’ revolutionary teachings on the aims and limits of politics, the role of morality in the harsh world of political necessity, the proper place of religion and reason in political life, and the nature and basis of justice, freedom, and equality.
GOV 312P America’s Constitutional Principles: Core Texts
Close readings from primary texts that have shaped or that reflect deeply on American democracy, including the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.
Through this sequence of courses, students will typically study the following works and authors:
Plato, selected dialogues
Homer, Iliad, Odyssey
Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, Antigone
St. Augustine, City of God, Confessions
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia
Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed
Thomas More, Utopia
Shakespeare, selected plays
Locke, Second Treatise of Government
Rousseau, First and Second Discourses
Declaration of Independence
United States Constitution
Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, The Federalist Papers
Schiller and Lessing, selected plays
Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil