The Honors College program is a self-contained general education core that includes a series of seminar-style courses focused on reading, writing, and conversing about significant ideas, great texts, and important works of art within the long tradition of Christian liberal arts education. 

The courses are divided into five major areas: Ethics & Public Thought (The Good); Mathematical & Scientific Thought (The True); Christian Thought (The Holy); the Fine Arts (The Beautiful); and the tradition of Western Civilization, which emerged from the confluence of Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian cultures around the Mediterranean. 

The curriculum also includes other activities that foster community and contribute to student formation, including a freshman camping trip, weekly forums, a Lessons & Carols service, a winter retreat, end of year banquets, performing arts events, and special lectures.

“The curriculum of Templeton is unmatched, even by other great books and classical programs. The courses come to life because of the care that is put into Templeton’s overall work of formation, which is expected and even set up to continue outside of the traditional classroom.”

Mary Elliot ('16)

A Foundation for Life & Learning

The Honors College challenges and prepares academically gifted undergraduate students for leadership and service as persons of influence in culture, society, and their professions, by providing a holistic program focused on students’ intellectual, moral, aesthetic, spiritual, and practical formation. It is an academic community gathered around a faculty of friends who love the true, good, beautiful, holy, and useful.

The Templeton course curriculum (40-43 credits) replaces the standard General Education core taken by non-Honors College students at Eastern University. It is divided into the following groups of courses, taken over three to four years.

Course Descriptions

Ethics and Public Thought

HONR 101 - The Good Life (3 credits)

“What does it mean to live well?” is one of the most basic and enduring human questions, perennially asked by people who care about their well-being or that of their neighbors. “The Good Life” is a foundational course in the Honors College focused on Christian ethics and character formation, taken in the first semester of a student’s first year. It considers the moral practices, virtues, vices, knowledge, and loves that help and hinder individual human flourishing, examining these ideas through the writings of select pagan and Christian poets, novelists, philosophers, and theologians, including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, C. S. Lewis, and Graham Greene.

HONR 102 - Justice and the Common Good (3 credits)

This course engages questions related to justice and the common good by examining major texts and thinkers from the classical tradition up through modern and contemporary philosophical and theological perspectives. Particular attention will be given to differing conceptions of justice and their practical consequences for political organization, the nature and purpose of law, the proper ends of money and wealth, the meaning of work and labor, and the grounds of human dignity and integrity.

HONR 120 - The Art of Rhetoric (3 credits)

Rhetoric, properly understood, is an art that informs a student’s character through an understanding of the dynamic relationship between a speaker or writer and his or her audience. Students in this course will study and analyze a broad selection of classic and contemporary texts to sharpen their awareness of rhetoric and the use of language. In addition to reading foundational treatises on rhetoric, students will read seminal works from an array of disciplines to learn how rhetoric functions as the basis of written and spoken communication. Careful analysis and thoughtful discussion of these readings will help students develop their own communication skills as they craft their writing and speaking according to rhetorical norms and a good end.

HONR 480 - Senior Capstone: The Ordinary Life (2 credits)

The Templeton core curriculum has been designed to nurture in students the cultivation of a rich, integrative, and coherent worldview—a worldview devoid of the common artificial divisions between academic pursuits, spiritual formation, cultural appreciation, and community life. Senior Capstone: The Ordinary Life is designed to recover the richness and coherence of an integrative humanistic, Christian worldview. Designed for fourth-year students preparing for graduation, "The Ordinary Life" extends the conversation begun in the freshman course “The Good Life” about a life well-lived and offers students the opportunity to consider the ordinary aspects that will constitute their ordinary lives to come. Using readings from the classical to the contemporary eras, the course will cover the life of the mind, work, money, home, art, family, friends, church, and place. Moral concepts that frame the course include the Aristotelian ideas of intellectual and moral virtue; the Augustinian concept of rightly ordered loves; and the Thomistic idea of intrinsically good activities. 

Western Civilization

HONR 160 - Western Civilization 1: Greece and Rome (3 credits)

This course is the first in a three-course series in which we will read and discuss some of the books which made the Western world what it is, so that we may understand ourselves and our world better. This first course investigates how the literature, ideas, and cultures of Mediterranean Christianity, Greece, and Rome came together to lay the foundation for subsequent Western thought and culture. Assuming a knowledge of the Bible, we begin by reading great writers of ancient Greece and Rome, then examine how Augustine used, modified, and criticized these writers in forming the tradition of Western Christian thought.

HONR 161 - Western Civilization 2: Medieval and Renaissance Europe (3 credits)

This course continues the investigation begun in Western Civilization I concerning how the Mediterranean Greek and Roman traditions of philosophy, ethics, and literature were received by the emerging Mediterranean Christian culture. This course extends that investigation into the Medieval and Renaissance eras. We shall look at how this merger transformed classical thought within the confines of Latin Christendom and its Christian idiom and institutions. It is not merely a course on synthesis, but on the creative way that the Latin Christians looked at the questions left to them by the ancient world about the ordering of the soul according to the virtues and the divine order set forth in Holy Scripture, embedded in the natural creation, and revealed in God’s highest creation, the human soul. In sum, the course traces the Christian reception of Greek and Roman literature and how the theme of love ordering one’s soul to God becomes a unifying theme throughout this long period.

HONR 260 - Western Civilization 3: Modernity (3 credits)

This course investigates how the Christian Medieval and Renaissance world was received, transformed, and in some cases, dismantled in the Modern era. It seeks to help students understand the modern era and its distinct theories of society. It will explore the evolution and development of “modernity” both as an idea and, perhaps more importantly, as a set of institutional transformations.  Changes in our understanding of the major spheres of human activity—political, economic, cultural, and religious—have revolutionized how human beings experience the world and their place in it. Along with great texts, this course will incorporate the empirical and theoretical methods of classical sociology, which take a macro-historical approach to making sense of modern times. It examines the main social and cultural themes of modernity including rationality, the division of labor, pluralization, and secularization.  Modernity’s legitimating ideologies of emancipation and progress will be examined through some of its key institutional carriers: industrial capitalism, democracy, religion, and the modern self. In all this, we will keep an eye towards the unintended consequences of these changes and the implicit normative visions embedded within them.  We will interrogate modernity’s powerful ability to mask its own pathologies so that these changes are experienced as normal.


HONR 300 - Honors Seminars (1 credit each, optional; students may take multiple times)

Templeton students can elect to take various Honors seminars. Honors seminars are designed to provide students an opportunity to consider specific texts, authors or subjects in a more focused, extended, and intensive way than a typical course affords. Meeting once a week for one hour, these one-credit classes of up to 12 students function in a seminar discussion format, reading from great texts and great minds about great ideas in a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary domains.

Christian Thought

HONR 140 - Honors Old Testament (3 credits)

The books that we call the “Old Testament” provide the foundation of our faith in at least three ways: (1) they describe carefully selected events from creation through the fifth century BC/BCE; (2) they contain the poems, prayers, and reflections of wise and creative men and women of God; and (3) they report the declarations of God through his servants the prophets. This course offers an overview of the biblical books of the Old Testament (from Genesis through Malachi), according to the Protestant canon. We will read and study closely select portions of these books for two purposes: (1) in order to gain an overview of the Old Testament (its canonical arrangement and general contents, as well as “key” places, dates, people, and events); and (2) in order to begin to learn how to interact with the various genres of the biblical text in a thoughtful manner (i.e., biblical stories, laws, poems, and prophecies).

HONR 141 - Honors New Testament (3 credits)

The books that we call the “New Testament” [NT] continue the story and themes found in the “Old” Testament [OT]. Although they are not more inspired or more important than the OT, they support our faith in at least three ways: (1) they describe portions of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, from before the annunciation of his birth until his ascension into heaven and then his continuing ministry in and through the earliest Church; (2) they contain the writings in which early believers attempt to explain the significance of the life and ministry of Christ; and (3) they remind us of the continuing and culminating work of God. This course offers an overview of the biblical books of the New Testament (from Matthew through Revelation). We will read the entire NT in canonical sequence and discuss selected passages in order to (1) gain an overview of the NT (its canonical arrangement and general contents, as well as “key” places, dates, people, topics, and events); and (2) in order to continue learning how to interact thoughtfully with the various genres of the biblical text, especially biblical stories, epistles, and prophecies.

HONR 240 - Introduction to Christian Theology (3 credits)

This course aims to introduce students to the Christian tradition of theological reflection on Christian faith and life, addressing topically the historical formation of basic Christian doctrine concerning Scripture, the Trinity, creation and providence, Christology, grace, salvation, the Church, sacraments and Last Things.

Scientific Thought

Choose between:

HONR 201 - Cosmology (3 credits)

In this course, students will study humankind’s preconceptions and understanding of the structure and origin of the universe and how these views have influenced belief systems and history. Includes observatory experience.

HONR 204 - Harmonia: Math Creation (3 credits)

This course engages in a study of mathematical thought in the Western and Christian Tradition from Euclid, through Newton and Leibniz in modernity, and through Cantor and Gödel to the present. Attention is paid both to the mathematical work of key figures, and the relationship between their mathematical system and the concurrent development of theological and philosophical thought. Students will read the primary texts of mathematicians and philosophers, learn fundamental mathematical skills, explore the ways in which mathematical thought has interacted with the broader tradition of liberal arts education, and will come to see mathematics as the study of the harmony built in to the created order.

Fine Arts

HONR 103 Templeton Choral Ensemble (1 credit fall, 1 credit spring)

An ensemble class specifically tailored to teach Templeton students how to sing in a choral ensemble. Students will learn notation, correct breathing, posture and singing technics, as well as specific strategies to competently participate in fine choral singing. Classic choral repertoire will be studied, analyzed and performed by the students. Upon completion of this course, students will have the ability to sing in any choral ensemble, to understand the basic choral repertoire of the Western musical canon, and to appreciate the art of choral music and literature.

HONR 280 Beauty and the Arts (3 credits)

Beauty and the arts are central to the well-lived human life.They bring refreshing delight to our often weary souls, whether their end is decorative, functional, liturgical, or simply aesthetic contemplation. This course offers students the opportunity to reflect on classic and contemporary descriptions of beauty and the arts and their integral role in our individual and social lives. 


Cultural Perspectives

Cultural Perspectives (3 credits)

Students select one course from the list of offerings within Eastern University (below) which offer sustained engagement with one or more of the world's cultures. The purpose of these courses is to help students cultivate knowledge and skills necessary to appreciate and interact productively amid the diversity that characterizes our increasingly integrated world. 

  • Any ANTH course 100-level or above
  • Any modern language course 100-level or above
  • ECON 350 Economic Development of Third World Countries
  • EDUC 417 Multicultural Education
  • ENGL 225 Post-colonial Women's Novels
  • ENGL 235 World Fiction
  • HIST 330G Native American History
  • HIST 352 Russian History
  • HIST 353 History of the Middle East
  • HIST 354 History of Latin America
  • HIST 371 The Byzantine Empire
  • HIST 372 Eastern Orthodox History and Theology
  • HIST 373 History and Culture of Arab Christianity
  • INST 213 Heritage of India
  • INST 214 Africa’s Triple Heritage and the Modern World
  • INST 218 The Heritage of Islam
  • POLI 324 Politics of the Middle East
  • POLI 325 Politics of Africa
  • POLI 326 Politics of Latin America
  • THEO 315 Theological Foundations of World Religions

Study Abroad (recommended; credit varies based on program)

All Templeton students are strongly encouraged to complete a study abroad or study away experience, typically for one full semester. Rather than just being an “add-on,” the Templeton semester abroad is seen as an integral part of the overall curriculum. Being removed from familiar surroundings and immersed in a different cultural context helps students develop broader perspectives, listen to and better understand differing points of view, empathize with ”strangers” in their home setting, and deepen their commitment to justice in a global context.

“The kind of conversation I’m interested in is one which you start with a willingness to emerge a slightly different person. It is always an experiment, whose results are never guaranteed. It involves risk. It’s an adventure in which we agree to cook the world together and make it taste less bitter.”

Theodore Zeldin