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Western Civilization Foundation

The Western Civilization Foundation's Great Books Program offers students distance learning in an integrated, four- year curriculum (8 semesters - recommended for 6 credit hours per semester) based on direct reading of the Great Books that form the foundation of the philosophic, literary, poetic and scientific tradition of Western civilization. The readings begin with Homer's Iliad, written nearly three millennia past, and proceed roughly chronologically over eight semesters to the 21st century. This is the substance of a liberal education. Having acquired proficiency in the liberal arts of reading, writing, calculating, speaking, listening and thinking in their elementary and secondary education, our students are given the opportunity to hone and apply these skills on the most noble of materials - the original works of the most influential poets, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians and theologians of Western civilization.

Guided by the authors of the Great Books - who are our "permanent" faculty - our moderators (usually two in each class of 20 of fewer students) and our Great Books Study Guides, students read, reflect on and discuss these masterpieces by the greatest minds of Western civilization. By such weekly reading, and completing the weekly study guides, students form serious intellectual habits of thought and reflection. By means of these habits, for the rest of their lives students can better lay hold of the wisdom recorded in the Great Books and more easily grasp knowledge and attain understanding across the disciplines and various vocations they may experience in life. There are no age limitations to taking the course, but good English reading ability is required. The texts may be obtained from the program, online or in virtually any library.

The weekly discussion seminar is the online, live-audio component of the program. The seminars last two hours and are usually conducted by two moderators who guide discussion of the weekly Great Book reading. Any PC (high speed is not required) can access our virtual classroom.

The Western Civilization Foundation's Liberal Studies Program - Theology Online offers students the opportunity to study four courses (recommended for 3-credit hours each) of theology: Fundamental Theology: Revelation and Christology; Fundamental Theology: The Creed; Biblical Theology; and The Liturgy, designed and taught by world-renowned educator Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., Th.D., who studied for his doctorate in theology under Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, in Regensburg, Germany. Please see the course descriptions or online syllabi for details about these asynchronous theology courses.



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