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Angelicum Great Books Program


Innovations in online learning are announced
every year, but with the Angelicum Great
Books Program and its new network of affili-
ated colleges and universities, Catholic stu-
dents in particular stand to benefit.
To our knowledge, there is nothing quite
like the Angelicum Great Books Program,
Great Books Program
which has educated teenage and young adult
Catholics for nearly 10 years. It offers an en-
tirely online and distance education curricu-
lum that can be studied from home or any-
where else at low cost, while still hewing to
quick facts
a classical approach to education, including
reading directly from the Great Books and Founded: 2000
Socratic discussion groups (via live com- Type of institution: Distance learning under-
graduate program
munications over the Internet). Inspired by
Setting: Online
Thomas Aquinas College (also recommended
Undergraduate enrollment: 105 (2008-09)
in The Newman Guide) and the former Pearson
Undergraduate cost: $3,000 (tuition only
Integrated Humanities Program at Kansas 2009–10)
University, the series of eight courses com- Undergraduate majors: None
bine high academic standards with a strong
and faithful Catholic emphasis. Five Key Points
Angelicum, not to be confused with the
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas 1. Online Catholic Great Books program
including Socratic dialogue.
in Rome also profiled in this Guide, does not
grant degrees; instead it offers a series of un- 2. Earn up to 48 college credit hours
dergraduate-level online courses that can toward an undergraduate degree.
count toward a degree program elsewhere. 3. Start earning college credits as early
The American Council on Education (ACE)— as age 14.
a national association of colleges and univer- 4. Very low cost relative to traditional
sities serving about 80 percent of students colleges.
in the U.S.—has evaluated Angelicum’s pro- 5. College network allows students to
gram and recommended that colleges grant complete degree in as few as two
six credit hours for each course, which are of- years.
fered one per semester.

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Angelicum Great Books Program

Although many colleges accept ACE-rec- manage the affiliated Angelicum Academy,
ommended credits, not all do; students should a nursery-through-high school curriculum
inquire with colleges they may be consider- for homeschoolers. Many of the Angelicum
ing. To address the uncertainty, Angelicum Academy’s high school students take courses
has forged agreements with three colleges to from the Great Books Program, but the two
guarantee acceptance of credits from Angeli- programs are managed separately, and most
cum and, in some cases, the other participat- Great Books Program students are not en-
ing institutions. Two of the colleges—Campi- rolled in the Academy.
on College in Australia and Catholic Distance Because The Newman Guide is equally
University—are in this edition of The Newman concerned about students’ personal and spir-
Guide. In the coming years, Angelicum hopes itual formation as it is about quality liberal
to expand its network of credit-sharing col- arts curricula, we generally recommend insti-
leges, which it has dubbed the Universities of tutions with strong campus ministry, residen-
Western Civilization. tial and extracurricular programs. Although
The result is a solid Catholic program an online college program cannot provide
that offers great flexibility, even allowing these, Catholic families may find much to ad-
ambitious students to get started early with mire in a classical Catholic curriculum that al-
college. High school students can enroll for lows students to stay home at a very low cost.
one Angelicum course per semester as early The 2008-2009 tuition was $1,500 per course
as age 14, earning as many as 48 credit hours or $3,000 per year, and Angelicum offers a 15
toward a bachelor’s degree before graduating percent discount for making early payments.
from high school. This can be part of a home Angelicum hopes to expand the program
school curriculum, or it can be accomplished beyond the current 105 students through its
independently by any high school student. Universities of Western Civilization network,
Angelicum has even worked with schools which was newly launched in 2009. Interest-
that enrolled entire classes in the Angelicum ingly, Angelicum has been promoting its pro-
Great Books Program. gram to Catholic families in poorer countries,
Students who wait to start Angelicum’s resulting in an internationally diverse stu-
program until after high school will need dent body.
four years to complete 48 credit hours, more
than a third of the way toward a degree. But
some colleges—including Catholic Distance
University—will allow students to take Ange-
Angelicum’s chairman and director of the
licum courses at the same time or even after
Great Books Program is Dr. Peter Redpath, a
their own courses; students will simply have
respected philosophy professor at St. John’s
to prove completion of the Angelicum courses
University, New York. He has written numer-
before earning a degree. Other students may
ous articles and books and is the former exec-
be content to spread out their studies over
utive editor of the Value Inquiry Book Series
time, thereby reducing annual costs and si-
for Editions Rodopi, an academic publisher
multaneously getting a head start on a career
based in the Netherlands and New York. He
or exploring a religious vocation.
earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the State
The Angelicum Great Books Program is
University of New York at Buffalo.
the brainchild of philosopher Dr. Peter Red-
Dr. Jude Dougherty, the celebrated dean
path, educator Patrick Carmack and online
emeritus of The Catholic University of Amer-
program director Steve Bertucci. They also
ica’s school of philosophy, has praised Dr.

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Angelicum Great Books Program

Redpath as “a profound thinker… a learned 2008. The conference was presided over by the
and serious philosopher who shows clearly Vatican prefect for Catholic education, Zenon
that ideas have consequences… given the Cardinal Grocholewski. Participants signed a
breath of his historical survey and his ana- declaration in support of Ex corde Ecclesiae in
lytic power, he is reminiscent of Hegel in his contrast to the 1967 Land O’Lakes Statement,
most sweeping” (from the June 1999 issue of by which several U.S. Catholic university lead-
The Review of Metaphysics). ers declared independence from the Catholic
Angelicum’s president, Patrick Carmack, hierarchy. It was during the conference that
J.D., has a varied background as a former Dr. Gerard O’Shea of the John Paul II Institute
administrative law judge at the Oklahoma in Melbourne, Australia, first suggested coor-
State Corporation Commission, member of dination between Angelicum Academy and
the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, former CEO of Campion College, and the concept of a college
an independent petroleum exploration and network rapidly developed from there.
production company, and founder and for- Angelicum intends to network only with
mer chairman of the International Caspian Catholic institutions that have a strong Catho-
Horse Society. He participated in Dr. Mor- lic identity that conforms to Ex corde Ecclesi-
timer Adler’s last several Socratic discussion ae, and with certain non-Catholic institutions
groups in Maryland and California in 1999 that have a clear emphasis on Western civili-
and 2000. zation in the natural sciences and general ed-
The colleges of the Universities of West- ucation. To avoid any possible confusion for
ern Civilization network are each indepen- students seeking a fully Catholic education,
dently governed, accredited institutions. The the secular institutions are clearly identified
partners have formal agreements to ensure as such.
that Angelicum’s credits are accepted.
Public Identity
Angelicum’s leaders view their work as part
Clear about its Catholic identity and fidel- of an educational reform movement, with
ity to Catholic teaching, Angelicum was for- antecedents in the Great Books movement
mally recognized as a Catholic educational presided over for nearly a century by the re-
program by Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colo- nowned Dr. Mortimer Adler. Carmack and
rado Springs, Colorado, in June 2009. Dr. Redpath knew him personally and con-
Angelicum strives to combine “Catholic sulted him about the importance of teaching
wisdom and secular learning.” This provides the Great Books, before his conversion to Ca-
a “grounding in Catholic doctrine that is seen tholicism in 2000 and his death in 2001.
as a great counterpoint to the modern errors Adler believed that conversation (the
of which, due to their overwhelming influ- dialectic) aims at wisdom, as opposed to a
ence on contemporary life, no liberally edu- monologue (such as a lecture), which tends
cated man deserving of that title can remain to result in indoctrination. In Reforming Edu-
ignorant.” cation, written in the 1940s, Adler said that
Dr. Redpath and Carmack say the found- Catholic schools were losing their way and
ing impetus for the new Universities of West- falling into the same traps that had already
ern Civilization network came during their ensnared public institutions.
participation in the World Conference on Students who begin their college stud-
Catholic Education held in Toruń, Poland, in ies with the Angelicum Great Books Program

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Angelicum Great Books Program

start with the ancient Greeks. Throughout The Imitation of Christ, St. Teresa of Avila’s au-
the program, students will be exposed to tobiography, St. John of the Cross’ Dark Night
and discuss works including Sacred Scrip- of the Soul and St. Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of
ture, St. Augustine’s Confessions and City of a Soul.
God, St. Thomas’ Summa Theologiae, Dante’s The readings are accompanied by more
Divine Comedy, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, than 2,300 pages of study guides by Dr.
Cervantes’ Don Quixote, St. Thomas More’s Robert and Suzanne Alexander—edited by
Utopia, Cardinal Newman’s Apologia pro vita the acclaimed author Joseph Pearce and by
sua, Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, and a short Thomist philosophers Dr. Redpath, Dr. Curtis
story by Flannery O’Connor. The program Hancock and Dr. Tom Michaud—to provide
also includes exposure to Catholic ascetical a Catholic understanding and expose their
and mystical theology, including `a Kempis’ errors. Carmack estimates that students will

Message from the President

Dear Parents and Prospective Students:

In our day many doors to authentic Catholic education have been closed
or truncated by the pressures of political correctness and the looming “dic-
tatorship of relativism which does not recognize any thing as certain and
which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires”- Pope
Benedict XVI. The possibility of discovering truth, indeed the very exis-
tence of any absolute truth is widely denied. Not in our program!

The purpose of this online Great Books Program is to open a new door via the internet and
distance learning to reveal anew the treasures of reason and truth, Divine revelation and faith,
and the beauty of the sublime heritage of Western culture through the study and online discus-
sion of great books.

As Mortimer Adler noted, “if we are going to have general human schooling in this country,
it has to be accomplished in the first twelve years of compulsory schooling.” To that end we have
developed a new approach to education – offering the collective wisdom of our civilization’s
sages in a great books program with live Socratic discussions conducted from homes scattered
worldwide, via the internet, to students willing to do the reading and thinking necessary to
profit from it, even as young as 14. We have been doing this for 10 years now. Adler was right: it
works, if the student will. If you are 14 or older (9th grade or higher) and do not want to waste
valuable time waiting for college we invite you to join us.


Patrick S.J. Carmack

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Angelicum Great Books Program

read about 45 minutes a night for four or five Catholic Distance University: Also pro-
nights a week, depending on the reader. filed in The Newman Guide, CDU offers stu-
Although the Angelicum program is on- dents the option of completing a theology
line, there is opportunity for interaction. Stu- degree (the only major offered) entirely on-
dents must complete two hours per week of line. According to its agreement with Ange-
online classroom time, in which Great Books licum, students can earn 48 credits through
are discussed using the Internet and live the Great Books Program online, complete 42
audio communication (allowing speeds as credit hours (about three semesters) online
slow as a dial-up connection). In 2009-10, for with Harrison Middleton University (see be-
instance, first-year classes are scheduled for low), and complete 36 credit hours (about two
Thursdays, 11:00-1:00 p.m. EST, and Fridays, semesters) online with Catholic Distance Uni-
3:30-5:30 p.m. EST. Students meet in the on- versity. The courses from any institution can
line classrooms, may become friends through be taken simultaneously or in any order, as
e-mail exchanges and sometimes meet at the long as specific course prerequisites are met.
end of the academic year or for graduation. Harrison Middleton University: This ac-
As noted earlier, students who complete credited distance-learning university head-
the 48 credit hours with Angelicum can earn quartered in Tempe, Arizona, and Chicago
a degree from an accredited college in one- emphasizes study of the liberal arts and the
and-a-half to two-and-a-half years, assuming Great Books, a good fit with the Angelicum
the Angelicum credits are accepted. As of Au- program. It is not, however, a Catholic uni-
gust 2009 when this edition of The Newman versity, although it has a history of working
Guide went to print, there were three colleges with Catholic Distance University students to
participating in the Universities of Western complete general education requirements. We
Civilization network, thereby guarantee- have not reviewed HMU’s curriculum and
ing acceptance of Angelicum credits toward academic quality; Catholic families should
graduation: consider whether other fully Catholic options
Campion College in Australia: One of in the Universities of Western Civilization
the colleges profiled elsewhere in The New- network and The Newman Guide are a better
man Guide, Campion is faithfully Catholic and fit. HMU’s advantage is that it offers a variety
provides a strong liberal arts education. Be- of majors to Angelicum’s students, including
cause the Campion bachelor’s program is only humanities, imaginative literature, natural
three years, students earning 48 credit hours science, philosophy, social science and edu-
through Angelicum can attend Campion for cation. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree
just one-and-a-half years to earn their degree through HMU with 48 credit hours from An-
in liberal arts (the only major at Campion). gelicum and another 72 credit hours (four to
Students also have the option of taking on- five semesters) from HMU, taken simulta-
line courses for one semester through Catho- neously or in any order, as long as specific
lic Distance University (see below), earning course prerequisites are met.
additional credits accepted by Campion and The total cost for an undergraduate de-
requiring just one year of study at the college. gree depends on the particular mix of insti-
Campion expects that all transferred credits tutions that a student chooses, but in every
will be completed before beginning the Cam- case the options available through the Uni-
pion portion of study, which requires atten- versities of Western Civilization network are
dance in Australia. inexpensive because of the minimal or zero

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Angelicum Great Books Program

time spent living on a college campus. An- Having done that, many students will
gelicum estimates that in addition to its low find Angelicum enticing. It offers something
fees, the total cost for a degree earned from entirely new to Catholic higher education:
Campion College or Catholic Distance Uni- worldwide access to a relatively inexpensive,
versity would be about $18,000, not including authentically Catholic, high-quality, liberal
room, board and travel costs for Campion. arts program that can be accessed from home
The cost for a Harrison Middleton University and commenced during high school.
degree would be about $16,400 in addition to The Angelicum Great Books program
Angelicum’s fees. deserves consideration especially by Catholic
students interested in getting an early start
on college-level work while high-school-age,
The Bottom Line completing a bachelor’s degree quickly or
over an extended period of time, minimizing
Families considering taking advantage of
college costs, or experiencing study abroad in
the Angelicum Great Books Program should
Australia without committing to three addi-
be prepared to do a little extra homework
tional years at a traditional college.
and study the options and institutions. They
should also carefully consider the cost and
time implications of distance learning and
how to provide for a student’s ongoing per-
sonal and spiritual development outside of a
four-year campus experience.

264 The Newman Guide