THE GREATS HONORS PROGRAM FAQ

Since our founding in A.D. 2000, we have aimed at providing our students with the very best-the most excellent education including: the greatest books, materials, courses, and teachers. This online honors program, utilizing the Great Books Program and the Great Courses, completes that goal, and is an unparalleled educational program.

At the University of Oxford and some other universities, the undergraduate course of study focused on the classics of ancient Greece and Rome is titled Literae Humaniores (human literature – the humanities). It consisted of detailed study contrasting the great works of classical civilization and their great heroes, philosophers, seers and sages with modern ones, so the course was colloquially called simply Greats.

The Academy’s Honors Program combines the same “Greats”: the finest books by the greatest authors with weekly, live, online discussions of those books (the Great Books Program), with the finest lectures taught by many of the world’s greatest teachers (the Great Courses), with weekly written work and assessment.

In this Honors Program students will read the greatest books ever written (selected by scholar-editors led for decades by Britannica’s Great Books Editor-in-Chief, the late Dr. Mortimer J. Adler, and will experience many of the world’s finest teachers (selected to teach the Great Courses Plus online), who lecture at many of the world’s greatest universities and colleges, and will then have the opportunity to discuss these with fellow students for two hours per week in live, Socratic discussions moderated by two of our experienced faculty moderators. It just does not get any better in terms of excellence of books, teachers, lectures and overall presentation including discussions and tutorials (see below).

In the early days the Oxford Greats encompassed mathematics and natural sciences, and theology (i.e. res divinae or Lit Div.) was also taught. Dr. Adler and the Great Books editors added to the Great Books reading list a number of works of the natural sciences and theology. We have followed Dr. Adler’s advice regarding use of the chronological ordering of the Great Books readings: “In choosing a set of readings for a sequence of seminars, no attention at all should be paid to the field of subject matter in which the materials fall. A haphazard chronological ordering of them is much better than any attempt to order the materials so that they cover themes or topics in a particular subject matter.” The Great Books readings are discussed in the weekly, 2-hour, Great Books discussions, which have two faculty moderators and actively engage student participation in the discussions here.

Honors students will have weekly opportunities to meet with our Academy tutors at regularly scheduled times (September-May) called tutorials, to discuss and ask questions about the Great Courses lectures they have watched, with tutors expert in the subject area of the tutorial, and with fellow students. The tutors will have the students’ papers and weekly test results available so that they can privately monitor the students’ academic progress, provide friendly support, direction and encourage students to develop their full potential. These tutorials take place live, online, with fellow students, and will also help ensure students do not fall behind and are given some help if needed. At the University of Oxford these meetings are called “tutorials,” at Cambridge they are called “supervisions.” Both terms convey something of their purpose, which treat of individual subjects in more detail than in the interdisciplinary Great Books courses.

One benefit of the tutorial system is that students may receive direct feedback on their weekly work in a discussion setting. As a pedagogic model, the tutorial system has great value because it creates learning and assessment opportunities which are highly authentic and difficult to fake. This relieves parents and administrators of the difficulty of attempting to monitor and assess their student’s studies. An example of an Oxford tutorial (in this example with just one student –Oxford has multiple-student tutorials as well) may be viewed here. Individual mentors are discussed below.

No – it’s the materials, the books, the lectures, the teachers, that need to be the best, in order to bring out the best in all of our students. The educational culture in which students are immersed strongly influences their subsequent intellectual growth and development. This was Dr. Adler’s point in the quotation first cited above: the best education is not just best for some students, it is best for all students.

“In the early 1930s, University of Chicago President Robert Hutchins was asked whether Great Books seminars, then open only to a picked handful of students, should be accessible to all the students in our colleges. His brief reply was crisp and clear. He said that the Great Books seminars in our public schools and in our colleges should be open to all the students there, not only to the few who select them or are  specially selected.” – Mortimer J.Adler

“Honors” in education is used in a fairly wide variety of ways as some indication of educational excellence. In our program it refers to the curriculum and the students. The courses in the curriculum are higher level courses not typically available in high schools. These are not merely college preparatory level, but are actually college-level courses, taught by college and university professors, selected for their outstanding teaching ability. One half of the Honors course credits are available for college credit, having been recommended for such by the American Council for Education (ACE CREDIT) after review, including the Great Books courses (48 credits), and the theology courses by Fr. Fessio (12 credits). The  Honors curriculum includes the full range of intellectual pursuits offered in liberal arts colleges and prepares students for a lifetime of intellectual curiosity. “Honors” here also refers to the Honors student community of intellectually-motivated students, pursuing their interests in liberal education as a part of a community of like-minded learners, including in lively, weekly discussions about the great ideas in the Great Books, supported and encouraged in that pursuit in tutorials and individual mentoring.

Here is what the NACAC writes about that:  “College Board: The National Association of College Admission Counseling’s annual State of College Admissions survey consistently finds that student performance in college preparatory classes is the most important factor in the admission decision. With this in mind, encourage enrollments in honors courses…even if your student has the impression that only ‘top’ students should take these courses or the fear that taking a challenging course might result in a lower GPA. Advanced level courses are worth the extra effort.”

9th grade (age 14), and up. Do not let the fact that it includes college-level lectures mislead you into thinking it is not for high-school-age students beginning in 9th grade–it is. Dr. Mortimer Adler long ago (beginning in the 1920’s) noted the decline in American education, and proposed a return to the study of the Great Books and the Socratic (conversational) method of studying them as the major part of the remedy. He also noted, over many decades of observation and experiment, that teenagers, after the substantial completion of their education in the learning/liberal arts in elementary/primary school through 8th grade (learning reading, writing, speaking, listening, calculating, problem-solving, observing, measuring, estimating and exercising critical judgement), are thereafter able to use those skills to study and profit from the study of the greatest books and ideas contained in them.  We have an extensive article on this point HERE. This clearly holds for excellent, well-prepared lectures, such as the Great Courses lectures, as well–lectures taught by great teachers can obviously add much to a student’s learning experience.

The corollary in that it is a waste of the time and minds of teens not to expose them–not to familiarize and acquaint them–with the greatest works and most profound ideas. “Learning, neglected in youth, loses the past and is dead to the future” – Euripides.

Our online Great Books Program (the required reading is of course done individually) is common to both our Homeschool program and our Greats Honors program, however except for a few optional online courses, most courses in our Homeschool program are offline (i.e, not online), whereas all courses are online in our Greats Honors program. So apart from the Great Books Program, the difference is mainly about taking courses offline, or, online with weekly lectures and tutorials, and individual mentoring.

Many high-school-age students enroll in our online, Great Books Program, which is fully described on this website under the tab of that title.  Though the Great Books Program is interdisciplinary (and the books include     much literature, philosophy, theology, history and political science-often contained in the same book), they do not include specific, systematized courses in math, the natural sciences, English language arts, music, art, or foreign languages. To take those specific courses students may either enroll in our Homeschool program, which is not online, but is done at home, offline, in the homeschool manner (with some optional online courses available), or, now they may enroll in the Greats Honors Program, which provides all of those specific courses online. Both approaches offer all courses that are required for an Academy diploma (the complete courses list is below). Greats allows students to view specific online course lectures in categories of math, science, philosophy, history, English language arts, art, music and philosophy, theology, foreign languages. See curriculum chart HERE. The diploma for the Greats Honors program identifies the graduate as a Greats Honors Program graduate, sealed with the GHP seal.

The tutorials run weekly, September-May each year (with the normal holidays). Most of the Great Courses include 36 lectures (a few have 24 or some other variant), so we assume students will typically watch at least one lecture per week in each of main areas: Math/Science; English Language Arts/Literature; Philosophy/Theology and Art/Music, for which we have tutorials. So students will have the opportunity to attend at least three to four tutorials per week. If they did well on the weekly assessment, and have no questions or difficulties, they are not obliged to attend all the tutorials. We will provide students with simple guidelines about that. There are no tutorials for courses not part of our curriculum nor which a student may be allowed to substitute for a required course, from the other Great Courses Plus. Greats students may watch the Great Courses Plus lectures at their own pace, provided it is not slower than one lecture per week per course (w/exceptions for illness, etc.), unless the course has fewer than 36 lectures.  The Great Books Program live discussions take place regularly, once per week for two hours, also September-May.

Keep in mind that most high schools require about 6 hours of class time per day, plus at least some minimal homework. It may be partly wasted time, but it takes a lot of time nonetheless: 30 hours or so of classroom time per week. If you view our curriculum charts HERE, you will observe that Greats students have 7-10 hours of classroom time per week (including the weekly Great Books discussion, lectures and tutorials).

To view this in terms of college-level work: the typical college student takes 15 credit hours per semester, so 30 per year, 120 for a four-year bachelor’s degree.  Our Great Books Program was reviewed and recommended by the American Council for Education for 6 credits per semester, so 12 credits per year. Taking six Great Courses (for example, one each in math, science, philosophy, language arts, a language, and art) of 36 lectures, each equal to a 3-credit hour course, is another 18 credits per year, and the total comes to 30 credits per year, 120 over four years.

In our experience at the Academy–nearly two decades now–we have found that teens 14 and up are perfectly capable of such study, and in our nation’s history did so. Dr. Mortimer Adler’s experience over 80 years led him to conclude likewise. To summarize: Greats students will be engaged in two-hours of Great Books discussions per week, plus 7-10 lectures (usually ½ hour), and perhaps three tutorials, each up to 1 hour per week (one in each of the three-four areas mentioned above). That comes to 7-10 hours of weekly class time, plus the Great Books reading and any homework or testing. That is not an unreasonable load at all, for any teen, but it is a serious academic program of study, of the very highest caliber using the very finest materials and teachers, meriting the name Honors Program. It is neither too easy, and hence boring; nor too difficult, and hence discouraging.

Yes, they may contact them by email any time with any questions or to arrange phone or internet time related to their studies. Normally this would first be routed through the main Academy email address. See the next question regarding mentors.

The words are nearly synonymous; however we use them to distinguish two proper functions. Our tutors are teachers we assign to be responsible for discussing the material, addressing difficulties, answering questions and supervising students’ progress in particular subject areas (such as Math and Science), typically in small groups of Honors students studying those particular subjects in various courses, meeting weekly during the academic year. Tutorials are therefor subject-based learning activities.  Tutorials relieve parents and administrators of the difficulty of attempting to monitor and assess their student’s academic progress in particular subject areas, which are sometimes subjects either not studied by the parents or studied many years earlier and perhaps partially forgotten.
 
Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed him in charge of his son, Telemachus, when he went off to the Trojan war.  Our mentors are teachers who meet Honors students online for individualized educational consultation and advice, at mutually agreed upon times during the academic year, either using our software or Skype or the like. Parents are welcome to attend such online sessions and are notified of them in advance to afford them the opportunity to do so. Mentors are selected by the student from our available list of mentors, and students may change them at will. Mentor sessions are individual-student-based, and are intended to assist students with individual learning difficulties, improving study habits, offering individual encouragement, support and occasional help with their studies, and with achieving individual educational goals.

Normally it takes four years to complete the whole Greats program as the Great Books component of the GHP is normally a four-year program.  Most students begin in 9th grade and complete the program in four years, however our oldest student was 87, and we have had students of nearly all ages, from about 40 countries, though the great majority are Americans homeschooling or in high school. A few students have taken two years of the Great Books Program simultaneously (e.g. Greeks and Romans, or Middle Ages and Moderns), in order to enable them to complete the program in three or even two years. However, that involves a very considerable amount of reading, study and commitment, so while we allow it we do not recommend it; it also loses some of the benefits of a chronological sequence of readings.

The Great Courses may be viewed at any time as they are asynchronous (recorded), however we recommend students view them according to the schedule suggested below, partly so that their tutors, who are available September-May, can keep track of their progress, answer their questions and help guide them to achieve their greatest benefit. However, if a student wishes to binge-watch a Great Courses Plus course in a single week or so, he or she is welcome to do so. The quizzes and tests prepared and graded by the Academy for the Great Courses Plus required in Greats will be posted in a student’s Online Learning Center (OLC) page after their enrollment, and may also be taken at any time or pace thereafter.

If a student begins the Greats program, and for whatever reason decides not to complete some of it, that portion/course not completed will, of course, not be posted on their transcript (or, after 1 year may be posted as incomplete “I”). They may then wish to complete the study needed to earn an Academy diploma in the Homeschool program, or they may move on to some other program, to which we will be happy to provide a transcript for any studies completed.   When a student withdraws, once they notify the Academy (with 72 hours notice–email notification is fine), they have no further financial obligation–no more payments.

Ordinarily, no, unless you received permission to substitute courses you did complete. However, you may still qualify to earn the Academy Homeschool program diploma (see those requirements).

Yes, just give us 72 hours notice to terminate the automated payments. After that, there are no further financial obligations. Any payments already received, or received in the 72 hour notice period, are nonrefundable.

Students enrolled in the Greats may view any of the Great Courses Plus – there are over 300 Great Courses Plus offered at this time. However only a select few (24-26) are required in the Greats Honors Program. Please see the GHP curriculum charts #3 HERE to view the list of courses required for the GHP Academy diploma.

Yes. The Greats Honors Program is open to all, 9th grade (14) and above, including college students and adults.

Yes. The Academy requires 4 years of English, 4 of religion or theology, 3 of math, 3 of science and 3 of social studies. The Great Books Program satisfies the English and social studies requirements. The rest are satisfied by taking the Greats courses required in those subjects.

Yes. Provided they are high school level or higher. However the Great Courses may not be transferred in as merely watching the lectures does not provide any means of testing and assessing educational outcomes – these need to be taken within the Greats Honors Program for that reason.

Yes. Provided you complete the remaining portion of the Great Books Program (a minimum of one year), and take or have taken courses substantially equivalent to the required GHP courses.

Yes. The Great Books Program tracks may be enrolled in separately, HERE, as may the Great Courses w/Academy tutorials and assessment portion HERE.

Yes, however there would ordinarily be no reason to do so. However if a student wishes to take some course(s) offered offline in our Homeschool Program and in some course(s) online in our Greats program, enrollment in both would be necessary. That would be $195 per year for the Homeschool Program, and $99 per month for the Greats, in addition to the cost of the Great Books track selected (see chart above).

Both Ethics and Logic are a part of the Greats Honors Program. The Academy does offer these two special courses live, online. Both Ethics (12 lectures) and Logic (24 lectures) are also offered by Great Courses, which are not live. Greats Honors students may take these two courses either way – live or asynchronously. However the live Ethics and Socratic Logic courses –two of our most lively and popular – meet weekly (on Fridays) for one hour, September-May (30 classes) and being live cost more to offer and so have an additional tuition charge, which may be viewed HERE. Link to tuition page for Ethics and Socratic Logic. There is no additional tuition charge to take the Great Courses Plus Ethics or Logic courses. GHP students who enroll in the live Ethics and/or Socratic Logic courses may also view the Great Courses Plus Ethics and Logic courses without additional tuition.

Yes. However to receive the college credit recommendation for those Theology Online courses a student would need to pay the higher tuition cost [see HERE]. This is much like the Great Books courses tuition – students must select either the Great Books college track or Associate’s degree tracks, to receive the college credit recommendation for those courses – the high school track has no college credit.

In summary, the five Holy Apostle’s online courses required are:

PAS 161 Catechism Pillars I & II
PAS 162 Catechism Pillars III & IV
SCM 101 Mathematics among the Liberal Arts
SCM 201 Physics (Optional virtual physics lab SCM 202 – 1 credit)
SCM 220 Chemistry (Optional virtual chemistry lab SCM 221 – 1 credit)

Associates Degree track students, who take the five HACS courses listed above, would not be required to take the first two theology online courses ordinarily required in the Greats Honors Program, and they would also omit a semester of the math, chemistry and physics courses ordinarily required in the Greats Honors Program. In other words, there would be no duplication of courses required, and the HACS courses listed would all be accepted towards fulfilling the Greats Honors Program requirements. This is true for students pursuing the A.A. in Theology as well. Contact us for details.

[Note for A.A. track students only: Students who plan to (and do) complete two or more of the four Theology Online courses by Fr. Fessio, as a part of their A.A. track, prior to receiving their A.A. degree, will not be required to take the PAS 161 nor the PAS 162 Catechism Pillars courses listed above, as they are substantially equivalent courses. Rather, they will be required to take, in substitution thereof and at the same reduced tuition, two other HACS courses, specifically: ENG 171 Composition and English and SOC 275 Economics; If they complete only one of the Theology Online courses, then they would need to complete only one of the said two courses. Students who take the Theology Online Jesus of Nazareth and/or Liturgy course(s), will be required to complete either Revelation and Christology and the Creed Theology Online courses, or PAS I and PAS II, keeping in mind that they must complete 15 credits of Holy Apostles courses.]

Not at this time. At present, only the Great Books Program and the four Theology Online courses are available for a total of 60 college credits, which is about two years of college where the credits are fully accepted. The Angelicum Academy Great Books Program and Theology Online courses were reviewed and recommended for college credit by the American Council for Education (ACE CREDIT).

Of the 120 credits part of the GHP, 60 were reviewed and recommended for college-level credit by the American Council for Education (ACE CREDIT), and are accepted for transfer credit–in varying amounts, from some to all credits– at various colleges and universities. The remaining courses are taught by Professors, nearly all with PhDs, teaching at various colleges and universities in the US, including MIT, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, Penn State, Notre Dame and other prestigious college and universities, which institutions are themselves accredited. Individual courses are not “accredited, ” only degree-granting institutions are.

The following link will take you to the TADS website, which is a tuition management service we have used for years. You may enroll there. If you have any questions or difficulties, just give us a call and we can take your information on the phone and enter it manually. ENROLL HERE

Once you are enrolled, we will send you a password to access the Great Courses Plus, as part of your enrollment. The user name is your email address, so please be sure and provide the correct one on the TADs enrollment form. Your Great Course Plus membership will be good for 12 months from the date of your GHP enrollment.

[All of the syllabi/assessments for the courses in The Greats Honors Program are scheduled to be completed in August, 2017. A number are already completed. Please contact us for the current list ready to begin now.]

enrollnow1