The following is a list of works read in whole or in part in the curriculum of Thomas Aquinas College. They are not all of equal weight. Some are regarded as masterworks, while others serve as source of opinions that either lead students to the truth or make the truth more evident by opposition to it. In 2010 College then-Dean Brian T. Kelly began a series of presentations to the Board of Governors about why the curriculum includes particular authors and subjects.


Freshman Year |  Sophomore Year |  Junior Year | Senior Year


Freshman Year   
Theology  The Holy Bible  
Philosophy Plato  Meno, Protagoras, Gorgias, Apology, Crito, Phaedo
  Porphyry On the Predicaments (Isagoge)
  Aristotle Categories, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Posterior AnalyticsTopics
  St. Thomas Aquinas Proemium to the Commentary on the Posterior Analytics
Natural Sciences Aristotle  Parts of Animals
  DeKoninck The Lifeless World of Biology
  Fabre Souvenirs Entomologiques
  Galen  On the Natural Faculties


On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  Linnaeus Systema Naturae
  Pascal On the Equilibrium of Liquids
  Archimedes On Floating Bodies
  Mendel Plant Hybridization
  Various Authors Scientific papers of Driesch, Gould and Marler, Tinbergen, Goethe, Virchow, von Frisch, et alia
  Measurements Manual  
Mathematics Euclid Elements
Language Nesfield Aids to the Study and Composition of English

A Primer in Latin Morphology According to the "Stem Method"

Latin Readings According to the "Stem Method"

Seminar Homer Iliad, Odyssey
  Plato  Ion, Symposium, Republic
  Aeschylus Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides
  Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone
  Herodotus Histories
  Plutarch Lives (Lycurgus, Pericles, Aristides, Alcibiades, Alexander)
  Aristotle Poetics, Rhetoric
  Euripides Hippolytus
  Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War
  Aristophanes The Birds, The Clouds


Sophomore Year   
Theology  St. Augustine On Christian Doctrine, On the Spirit and the Letter, On Nature and Grace, On the Predestination of the Saints, On the Gift of Perseverance, City of God
  Council of Orange Canons
  St. Athanasius On the Incarnation
  Gaunilo On Behalf of the Fool
  St. Anselm Proslogion, Reply to Gaunilo
  St. John Damascene An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith
Philosophy Pre-Socratic Philosophers Fragments
  Aristotle Physics, De Anima
Natural Science Aristotle On Generation and Corruption
  St. Thomas Aquinas On the Principles of Nature, On the Combination of the Elements
  Lavoisier Elements of Chemistry
  Avogadro Masses and Proportions of Elementary Molecules
  Dalton Proportion of Gases in the Atmosphere
  Gay-Lussac Combination of Gaseous Substances
  Pascal Treatise on the Weight of the Mass of Air
  Various Authors Scientific papers of Berthollet, Couper, Lavoisier, Mendeleev, Richter, Wollaston, Cannizzaroet alia
    Atomic Theory Manual
Mathematics Plato  Timaeus
  Ptolemy Almagest
  Copernicus Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
  Apollonius On Conic Sections
  Kepler Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, Astronomia Nova
  Archimedes On Conoids and Spheroids
Language   Latin Readings According to the “Stem Method”—Sophomore Year
  Martin of Denmark Tractas De Modis Significandi
  Horace, Cicero Selections
  St. Thomas Aquinas Selections
    Canon of the Mass
Seminar Virgil Aeneid
  Lucretius On the Nature of Things
  Livy The Rise of Rome
  Plutarch Lives (Marcellus, Caius Marius, Sylla, Tiberius Gracchus, Caius Gracchus, Caesar, Cato the Younger, Marcus Brutus, Comparison of Dion and Brutus)
  Cicero On Duties
  Tacitus Annals
  Epictetus Manual
  St. Augustine Confessions, On the Teacher
  Boethius Consolation of Philosophy
  Dante Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise
  Chaucer Canterbury Tales
  The Pearl Poet Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  Spenser Faerie Queen
  St. Thomas Aquinas On the Teacher
Junior Year   
Theology St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae: On Sacred Doctrine, On God, On Law
Philosophy Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics, Politics
Natural Science Descartes Principles of Philosophy
  Galileo Two New Sciences
  Newton Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Mathematics Viete Standard Enumeration of Geometric Results, Introduction to the Analytic Art
  Descartes Geometry
  Archimedes Quadrature of the Parabola
  Various Authors Hippocrates, Archimedes, Cavalieri, Pascal, Leibniz, Bernoulli, Newton, Berkeley, Balzano,et alia
Music Zuckerkandl The Sense of Music
  Boethius On Music
  Mozart Sonatas
  Gustin Tonality
  Kalkavage On the Measurement of Tones
Seminar Cervantes Don Quixote
  St. Thomas Aquinas On Kingship, Summa Theologiae I-II, Q. 105, Art. 1
  Machiavelli The Prince, Discourses
  Shakespeare Julius Caesar, King Richard the Second, King Henry the Fourth: Part One, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Sonnets
  Luther The Freedom of a Christian
  Cajetan On Faith and Works — Against the Lutherans
  The Council of Trent “Decree Concerning Justification”
  Bacon The New Organon
  Descartes Discourse on Method, Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Meditations
  Pascal Pensées
  Hobbes Leviathan
  Spinoza Theologico-Political Treatise
  Milton Paradise Lost
  Corneille Le Cid
  Racine Phaedre
  Locke Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Second Treatise of Government
  Berkeley Treatise Concerning Human Knowledge
  Hume An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  Swift Gulliver’s Travels
  Gibbon Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  Leibniz Discourse on Metaphysics
  Rousseau Social Contract, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
  Kant Critique of Pure Reason
    Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Senior Year  
Theology St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae: On the Trinity, On the Sacraments, On the Passion of Christ
Philosophy Aristotle Physics, Metaphysics
  St. Thomas Aquinas On Being and Essence
Natural Science  Newton Optics and Principia
  Huygens Treatise on Light
  Young “On Light and Color”
  Gilbert De Magnete
  Faraday Experimental Researches in Electricity
  Maxwell Various papers and essays
  Darwin On the Origin of the Species
  Jenkins Review of the Origin of the Species
  Mivart On the Genesis of Species
  Mendel Experiments in Plant Hybridization
  Schrödinger What is Life
  Mayr One Long Argument
  Watson & Crick “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids”, Monod, Chance and Necessity
  Jonas “Philosophical Aspects of Darwinism”
  Eldredge & Gould “Punctuated Equilibria”
  Harold The Way of the Cell
  Polanyi “Life’s Irreducible Structure”
  Kass “The Permanent Limitation of Biology”
  St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles, In metaphysicam Aristotelis commentaria, Questiones disputationae de  potentia
  Aristotle Metaphysics
  St. Augustine Literal Interpretation of Genesis
    Manual of readings from other scientists (Oersted, Ampere, et alia)
Mathematics Dedekind Essay on the Theory of Numbers
  Lobachevski Geometrical Researches on the Theory of Parallels
  Einstein Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
  Various Authors Oersted, Ampere, et alia
Seminar Tolstoy War and Peace
  Smith Wealth of Nations
  Kant Critique of Pure Reason, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals
  Goethe Faust
  Hegel Philosophy of History, Phenomenology of the Spirit
  Feuerbach Essence of Christianity
  Austen Emma
  Tocqueville Democracy in America, The Old Regime and the Revolution
  Twain Huckleberry Finn
  Marx Capital, Communist Manifesto, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, German Ideology
  Engels Quantity and Quality, Negation of the Negation
  Ibsen A Doll's House
  Dostoyevski Brothers Karamazov
  Nietzsche On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History, Beyond Good & Evil
  Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling, Philosophical Fragments
  Cather My Ántonia
  Flaubert Three Tales
  St. John Henry Newman An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
  Conrad Heart of Darkness
  Keats, Hopkins, and Stevens Selected poems 
  Eliot The Waste Land, Journey of the Magi
  Joyce Dubliners (four selections: Eveline, A Little Cloud, A Painful Case, The Dead)
  Freud Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis
  Jung Analytical Psychology
  Heidegger Introduction to Metaphysics, Lecture 1
  Faulkner The Bear
  St. Thomas Aquinas The Division and Methods of the Sciences
  Pope St. Pius X Pascendi Dominici Gregis
  Leo XIII Aeterni Patris, Rerum Novarum
  Pius XII Humani Generis
  Pius XI Quadragesimo Anno
  O’Connor A Good Man is Hard to Find, The Enduring Chill
  Plato Phaedrus
  Pope St. John
Paul II
Veritatis Splendor



Writing requires both greater completeness and greater precision than does speech. On the one hand, the writer cannot make assumptions about the unknown reader; on the other hand, his prose must be efficient. The College helps students develop their writing skills through the essays they write periodically each year. Five essays are written in  freshman year, four sophomore year, and two lengthier essays are written in junior year. These essays are reviewed carefully by tutors for content as well as for grammar, style, and arrangement and development of ideas. Seniors write a more substantial “Senior Thesis.”

Senior Thesis

The Senior Thesis is an integral part of the curriculum. As compared with the other parts, it requires a greater independence on the part of the student. He frames a question of the sort the authors in the program themselves frame and, under the direction of a tutor, refines, explores, and answers that question. The student’s answer need not be ultimate, but it must not be superficial or simply the repetition of authority. The thesis is of greater length than the other compositions in the program and is defended before a committee of faculty examiners in a session open to all.

The ability to carry out such an investigation and reasonably to account for and defend its conclusions is an important aim of the program, and a successful Senior Thesis may be seen as a formal and public display that the student has begun to have such an ability in his own right.

The following titles are representative of Senior Theses:

  • The True Method of Procedure in Biological Science
  • Obedience and Its Relationship to Charity
  • The View of Human Nature Underlying the United States Constitution
  • The Role of Suffering in Redemption
  • A Defense of the Legitimacy of the Calculus
  • The Effect of Philosophy on Language: A Consideration of the Poetry of T. S. Eliot
  • Why Should Music Be Studied Mathematically?
  • A Consideration of the Difficulties of the Special Theory of Relativity
  • The Difference between Grammar and Logic
  • The Atomic Theory in View of the Physics of Aristotle
  • Whether Men Can Be Good without Grace
  • A Consideration of the Ways in Which Galileo and Newton Use the Infinite in Understanding Motion
  • An Analysis and Critique of John Locke’s Theory of the End of Government
  • Is Tonal Music Natural?
  • When Is the Rational Soul Present in Man’s Generation?
  • The Natural Law in the Declaration of Independence: A Classical Interpretation