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Lorraine and Tom Pangle, Co-Directors BAT 2.116, C4100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-6648

Jefferson Scholars Program

The Jefferson Scholars Program is a challenging program in the great books for highly motivated freshmen and sophomores in every college and major of the University. Taught by stellar faculty, often in small classes, and including extensive opportunities for discussion and practice in writing, it allows students to earn the Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas in their first three semesters.


First semester: Justice, Human and Divine

CTI 304 The Bible and Its Interpreters (carries UT Writing Flag)

CTI 302 Classics of Political and Social Thought (satisfies UT Social Science requirement)

Together these two courses will examine some of history’s most profound reflections on good and evil, on human nature and the character of human excellence, on whether there is a God and what can be known about him, and on the principles that should guide our collective lives as political communities.

In CTI 302, you’ll read excerpts from Aristotle’s Politics, Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau's Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, and Smith’s Wealth of Nations, as well as selections from Marx, Keynes, Hayek, and Schumpeter. In CTI 304, you’ll read the Bible, together with some of the great commentaries on it, by authors like Spinoza, Karl Barth, Martin Luther, Origen, and many others.

Second semester: Freedom, Ancient and Modern

UGS 303 Discovery of Freedom or Plan II TC 302 Intro to Greek Political Thought (satisfies UT signature course requirement)

GOV 312P America's Constitutional Principles: Core Texts (satisfies second half of UT United States Government requirement)

These two courses will explore the meaning of freedom and the promises and challenges of self-government as they were first explored in the free city-states and the philosophical debates of ancient Greece, and as they were taken up in a new spirit in the US Constitution and by those who reflected deeply on the principles of the Constitution, from the era of the founding until the present day.

In UGS 303, you’ll read works by Plato, Thucydides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. In GOV 312P, you’ll read essential texts of American political thought, including substantial selections from the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalists, and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. You’ll also read speeches and writings of some of the most thoughtful figures in American political history, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, WEB DuBois, Martin Luther King, and others.

Third semester: Leaders and Leadership

CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama (satisfies UT Visual and Performing Arts requirement)

HIS 334L American Revolution and Founding of the US (satisfies either half of UT American History requirement)

The third semester of the Jefferson Scholars Program includes a study of classic plays from antiquity to the present with a focus on the theme of just and effective leadership, paired with a course on the struggles and accomplishments of the leaders of the early American republic.

In CTI 350 you’ll read some of the world’s greatest dramas, including works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Ibsen, Shakespeare, and contemporary dramatists. In HIS 334L you’ll take an in-depth look at America from 1763 to 1800, drawing on important primary source documents to understand the origins, nature, and effects of the American Revolution and the extraordinary individuals who brought it about.


The Jefferson Center is a community of scholars and students who share a love of great books and thoughtful conversation. Jefferson Scholars will get to know professors over lunch and fellow students at coffee hours, informal book discussions, and organized outings to plays, classical music concerts, jazz clubs, and museums. Both inside and outside of class, the scholars can thus enjoy the benefits of a small liberal arts college within a large university setting.


Q: If I have AP credits that meet some UT core requirements, can I still use them if I am in the Jefferson Scholars Program?
A: Yes, all your AP credit will still count towards your degree, and JSP courses that are not needed to fulfill UT core requirements will become elective or may meet other requirements, such as the additional humanities and additional social science requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and in the BSA degree in the College of Natural Sciences. In certain cases substitutions will be allowed. In particular, all JSP students need to take:

  • CTI 302 Classics of Social and Political Thought
  • CTI 304 The Bible and Its Interpreters
  • UGS 303 Discovery of Freedom (or, for Plan II students, T C 302 Introduction to Greek Political Thought)
  • GOV 312P America’s Constitutional Principles

GOV 312P is the second half of UT’s US Government requirement. If you have AP credit for US Government and take a supplemental test on Texas Government, you can place out of the first half, GOV 310. If not, you should take GOV 310 in your first year if possible.

If you have AP credit for American History, you are still encouraged to take our course on the American Revolution or an upper division equivalent, but with permission you may substitute another CTI elective.

If you have AP credit that counts for your fine arts requirement or if you are in the college of Fine Arts or Architecture, you are still encouraged to take Masterworks of World Drama, but with permission you may substitute another CTI elective.

AP credits in math, science, foreign languages, English language and literature, and economics will not affect your program of courses in JSP.

For more information on AP tests and how to claim credit for them, please see

Q: I am in the College of Architecture, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Fine Arts as a performance major, or Plan II in combination with another major. How will I fit it all in?
A: Modifications in the schedule of JSP classes will be made as necessary for students in these programs. To determine whether this is necessary, please consult with an advisor in your college, as follows:

All other advising inquiries should be directed to the CTI advisor, Nathan Vickers.

Q: I have been admitted to the Jefferson Scholars Program. What do I need to do next?
A: Register now below, if you have not done so, and contact Nathan Vickers about getting cleared for fall courses.

Admission Process
Admission to the Jefferson Scholars Program is by application only and is highly competitive. The final deadline for fall 2014 was May 1, 2014. Application information for fall 2015 will be available soon.

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