Jefferson Scholars Program
The Jefferson Scholars Program is a new, interdisciplinary 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 offers a way to meet UT core requirements while engaging in a sustained inquiry into fundamental questions and debates that have driven human history. On completing the program, students will earn the Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas, which will be recognized on their transcript at graduation.
An Education for Liberty
You are young, talented, and the world lies before you. No one else can decide for you how you should use the unprecedented freedom we enjoy in America. Reflect on what freedom is, when and why it is good, and how you might best take advantage of it.
An Education for Leaders in Every Field
Learn what great leadership is all about. Learn to ask the questions no one else is asking, but should be. Explore the deepest needs and passions that motivate people. Reflect upon where we should be going as a people, and what it might take to get us there.
An Education for Life
Have great conversations. Make friends with fascinating people. Think about what you really believe in, and what you really want to accomplish in this one life you have to live.
First semester: Justice, Human and Divine
CTI 304 The Bible and Its Interpreters (David Newheiser) carries UT Writing Flag
CTI 303 Classics of Political and Social Thought (Erik Dempsey) 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 303, you’ll read excerpts from Aristotle’s Politics, Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, and Smith’s Wealth of Nations, as well as selections from Marx, Keynes, Hayek, and Schumpeter. In CTI 304, you’ll read the Bible (of course), 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 (Paul Woodruff) satisfies UT Signature Course requirement
HIS 317L Era of the American Revolution (Robert Olwell) partially satisfies UT American History 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 by the people who made the American Revolution.
In UGS 303, you’ll read works by Plato, Thucydides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. In HIS 317L, you’ll read many key primary texts from and about the American Revolution.
Third semester: Leaders and Leadership
GOV 312P America’s Constitutional Principles (Government department faculty) partially satisfies UT United States Government requirement
CTI 350 Masterworks of World Drama (Elon Lang) satisfies UT Visual and Performing Arts requirement
The third semester includes an intensive study of the US Constitution, the statesmen who formed it, and the vision of justice and liberty that it embodies, with selective study of the way these principles have played out in the nation’s history under leaders who have worked to realize the vision of the founding. Paired with this course will be a course studying major works of drama from antiquity to the present, with a focus on the theme of just and effective leadership.
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. In CTI 350, you’ll read some of the world’s greatest dramas, including works of Aeschylus, Ibsen, Shakespeare, and others.
A RICH INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITY
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. A small stipend allows the scholars to begin building their own libraries of great books and to buy tickets to attend cultural events together. Both inside and outside of class, the scholars can thus enjoy the benefits of a small liberal arts college within a large university setting.
WHAT STUDENTS ARE SAYING
“Throughout my four years at the University of Texas, I have found only one program that accentuates the value and importance of a liberal arts education. The CTI program addresses the biggest and most important questions of human life through the study of the great books. I was a junior when I found it, but I certainly wish I had found it sooner in my college career.”
“Membership in the Core Texts and Ideas Program has been, without a doubt, one of the highlights of my undergraduate career here at UT. Most of my favorite courses that I have been so fortunate to take thus far have been courses in CTI – courses that have greatly expanded my knowledge of and interest in some of the most important and timeless questions of human existence, but which also always seem to leave me with even greater feelings of curiosity and intellectual excitement at their conclusion.”
“My favorite thing about the program is the opportunity it offers to connect with other students and professors who love reading and discussing the great works as much as I do.”
“The Core Texts and Ideas Program has given me a taste of the experience of being at a small liberal arts college, even at a big university like UT. I love getting to hear such knowledgeable people discuss things in such a comfortable setting.”