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Jefferson Scholar Lounge

A Message from the Directors

Welcome to the Jefferson Scholars Program! Our program is just a few years old, but what it contains is something that has provoked, challenged, and inspired many generations of students seeking a liberal education: a first-hand, rigorous encounter with the great books that helped to make our world what it is, and that can equip you to face new challenges well.

The Jefferson Scholars Program will educate you as leaders and as citizens, but first of all, as human beings. Prepare to be startled, puzzled, and disturbed. Prepare to question what you think you know, but, also perhaps, to discover in your own minds the first stirrings of wisdom about things you may have thought no one could know. Prepare to listen, to take risks, and to enter into debates with your classmates, your professors, your books, and, not least of all, with yourselves.

There is a great deal of talk these days about the economic value of an education. You have perhaps also heard that UT Austin is a great party school. Learning how to think is always useful, and college should certainly be fun. But most of all, college should be a time to enjoy a precious kind of freedom, rare in human history, rare even or especially in modern day America, with all of our incredible busy-ness and networking and multi-tasking and start-ups and connectivity—and that is the freedom of true leisure. The ancient Greeks asked themselves what was most worthwhile in life, after we set aside the work we must do out of necessity and the play we need in order to relax from work, and their answer was: serious leisure, at the heart of which they put the pursuit of learning.

You will soon be arriving on the campus of a great university, a place where you can follow your curiosity about almost anything in the world, study it at the highest level, and discuss it with like-minded students. You have probably never been so free as you soon will find yourselves. Once all life’s responsibilities begin to crowd in on you after graduation, you may never be so free again. Make the most of it!

Our best,

Lorraine Pangle & Thomas Pangle

Fall 2022 Jefferson Scholars Activities and Events


Jefferson Scholars Program Fall Opening Lecture

“Free Speech and Liberal Education”

Lorraine Pangle, Co-Director and Professor of Government

Sunday, August 21, 5 pm, location Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302)

Thursday Lunch Seminar Series

Throughout the year we will have professors give short, informal talks over lunch on topics related to your coursework in the program. These will all be on Thursdays from 12:30 to 2, so please keep that time free in your schedule if possible.

Peer Mentors

As part of our effort to create a small-college learning experience within the large university that is UT, we would like to encourage all freshman Jefferson Scholars to take advantage of the opportunity to be paired with a peer mentor. Mentors are current Jefferson Scholars who will have a fund that they can draw on to take you to lunch, coffee, recreational events like hikes, Frisbee, and bowling, and cultural events on and off campus. You can choose your own mentor by visiting our peer mentor page. Click here to request a mentor  or email us at

Jefferson Book Club

The Jefferson Book Club meets approximately every 2 weeks for an informal discussion of a short work or selection from a great book. This fall the meetings will be held on Mondays at 5 pm.

Overview of Jefferson Scholars Coursework


The complete Jefferson Scholars Program consists of six related courses, leading to the Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. This sequence of courses, which can be completed in your first three semesters or spread out over as many semesters as necessary to accommodate the needs of your major, will serve several functions in your academic program.

First, the program gives you the foundation for a rich liberal education with an in-depth exploration of major questions, ideas, and books that have shaped the modern world. The program includes one course in each of these four areas:

  • ancient Greek philosophy and literature
  • the Bible and its various interpreters
  • the history of political philosophy
  • the founding principles of the United States and their subsequent development

Two electives on other great books of the Western and Eastern traditions complete the program.

Second, these same course will give you a coherent path through the UT core curriculum. Depending on your selections, you can satisfy the following UT Core requirements with your JSP coursework:

  • Signature Course
  • Social Science
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • US History
  • US Government

And you can fulfill the following flags requirements::

  • Writing
  • Global Cultures
  • Ethics
  • Cultural Diversity

Third, when you complete the six courses you will earn the Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas, which will satisfy the minor/certificate requirement for majors that require one, and will provide an additional credential for students in other programs. 

You can view the Certificate Plan and list of approved electives here:


Registration Information


Please show the following information to your academic advisor.

Registering for the Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas

When you come for orientation you should tell your advisor you will be working towards the Core Texts and Ideas Certificate. If your major program requires a minor or certificate, this will serve that function. Formal registration for a certificate is possible only after classes have begun, so at that time we will initiate the application for the certificate on your behalf and you will receive a secure academic note (SAN) from the registrar, prompting you to see your advisor to complete the process. Please contact your advisor as soon as your receive that SAN.

Selecting Courses

The Jefferson Scholars Program begins with a fall course on ancient Greek philosophy and literature and, for those with room in their schedule, a second course on the founding principles of the United States and their subsequent development. These courses are designed to complement one another, exploring the theme of liberty in the ancient and modern worlds, the character of human thriving,  and the place of reason or enlightenment in guiding human life. Since the courses address common themes from different perspectives, you are encouraged to take both together if you are able to.

All Jefferson Scholars should begin with a course on Ancient Greece. Unless you are in a special program that requires its own Signature (UGS) Course, you should choose the following course, preferably one of these sections that have been reserved for Jefferson Scholars:

63620   UGS 303          The Challenge of the Greeks               T Th 2-3:30, F 4-5       Stauffer


Or, if you are in the CNS JSP FIG, you will be registered for this section:


63595   UGS 303          The Challenge of the Greeks               T Th 2-3:30, F 11-12   Stauffer


If you are in a special program that requires its own Signature (UGS) Course or cannot fit the above into your schedule, you should register for one of the following small sections of our other introductory course, in which seats have also been reserved for you:

29790   CTI 301G        Introduction to Ancient Greece           TTH    9:30-11am        Fallis

29795   CTI 301G        Introduction to Ancient Greece           TTH    11-12:30pm     Fallis


If you cannot fit any of the above into your schedule, you may register for the large lecture lecture section of the same course:

29785   CTI 301G        Introduction to Ancient Greece           MWF   10-11am          Rabinowitz


If your schedule permits a second JSP course, please enroll in one of the following, all of which have seats reserved for you:

38365   GOV 312P      Constitutional Principles: Core Texts   TTH    8-9:30am          Brennan

29810    CTI 304          The Bible and Its Interpreters               TTH     2-3:30pm         Schofer

In choosing your courses, please keep Thursdays from 12:30 – 2 free in your schedule if possible, since we often schedule events for Jefferson Scholars then.



A Message from Academic Advisor Megan Mckay

Hello Jefferson Scholars!!  Congratulations on being accepted into the Jefferson Scholars Program, and welcome to the University of Texas at Austin. We look forward to having you this fall.

To reserve space in the courses you have selected, please fill out the Google form that I will email you a link to the week before your orientation session—and please let me know if you have any questions at all.

Megan Mckay, Academic Advising Coordinator
Department of Government and Jefferson Center
1 University Station A1800, BAT 2.102
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas, 78712

Course Descriptions


CTI 301G Introduction to Ancient Greece

This course introduces students to the history, the culture, the religion, and above all the thought of the ancient Greeks. The material for this course will consist almost entirely of primary sources. We will begin with a unit on Greek history in which we will use passages from Thucydides and Herodotus to try to see what was unique about the Greeks and what they saw as unique about themselves. We will then study closely some of the chief literary and philosophic works of ancient Greece, including Homeric Epic, tragedies, and Platonic dialogues.

UGS 302 Classical Philosophy and Literature

An introduction to the philosophy and literature of ancient Greece and Rome, including Homer's Iliad, some of Plato's dialogues (including the Republic), Aristophanes' Clouds, selections from Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, Cicero's On Obligations and On the Laws, and selections from Virgil's Aeneid and Plutarch's Lives. The course will include two historical simulations from Reacting to the Past, one set in ancient Athens at the time of Socrates' trial, and the other in ancient Rome in the aftermath of Julius Caesar's assassination.

UGS 303 The Challenge of the Greeks

This course will study works of ancient Greek historians, statesmen, tragic and comic dramatists, and philosophers to explore abiding questions and issues of human existence as they first emerged in the brilliant, tumultuous world of ancient republicanism. We will focus especially on the challenge that philosophic rationalism and science posed to traditional conceptions of justice and religious belief, and the ways in which philosophic thinkers defended their claim to provide the best guidance for life.

CTI 304 The Bible and Its Interpreters

A study of basic religious texts, this course includes both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, examined from various perspectives (including comparative, historical, philosophical, and literary), with emphasis on the fundamental questions and ideas raised in those texts. The course seeks to develop a wide-ranging familiarity with the Jewish and Christian Bibles and with the dominant modes of ancient, medieval, and early modern biblical interpretation. Readings include an extensive range of primary sources, including both the Scriptures themselves and some of their most influential exegetes.

GOV 312P Constitutional Principles: Core Texts

This class is a study of the basic principles of American political life: democracy, equality, and liberty. Through a close reading of core texts of the American political tradition, we will attempt to see how these ideals took hold in the US, what arguments were made on their behalf, and what possible pitfalls there are for a society dedicated to those ideals. In exploring the theme of equality in America, a substantial unit will study the theme of slavery and race in America and the writings of African-American thinkers.

Jefferson Scholars Information


For incoming freshmen accepted into the Jefferson Scholars Program and students who are certified as Pursuing the CTI Certificate we will have space reserved for you in courses that fulfill the four required areas of the Core Texts and Ideas certificate.

Remember that in addition to the four areas you need two electives to complete the certificate, and two of your courses need to be upper division.

Required Courses Offered in Fall 2023


Area 1

CTI 301G and CC 301               Introduction to Ancient Greece (carries GC flag)

29995              MWF     11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.     Face-to-face                  WEL 1.316      White

29990              TTH       9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.        Face-to-face                 GDC  6.202     Fallis 

30000              TTH       11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.      Face-to-face                 GDC  2.502     Fallis 

All seats in this course are reserved for CTI students.

UGS 302                                 Classical Philosophy and Literature (carries WR flag)

62370               TTH        9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.       Face-to-face                  MAI 220D      Koons

UGS 303                                 The Challenge of the Greeks   (carries GC flag)

63920   TTH  2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., F 11 a.m.-12p.m   Face-to-face   MEZ B.0.306, MAI 220E   Stauffer

63925   TTH  2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., F 12 p.m.-1p.m   Face-to-face   MEZ B.0.306, MAI 220E   Stauffer

63930  TTH  2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., F 1 p.m.- 2 p.m   Face-to-face   MEZ B.0.306, MAI 220E   Stauffer

63935 TTH  2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., F 2 p.m.- 3 p.m   Face-to-face   MEZ B.0.306, MAI 220E   Stauffer

63940 TTH  2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., F 3 p.m.- 4 p.m   Face-to-face   MEZ B.0.306, MAI 220E   Stauffer

63945 TTH  2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m., F 4 p.m.- 5 p.m   Face-to-face   MEZ B.0.306, MAI 220E   Stauffer

Seats in UGS 302 and 303 are reserved for incoming freshmen in Jefferson Scholars only.


Area 2

CTI 304 and R S 315                 Bible and Its Interpreters   (carries GC and WR flags)                 

30020               MWF    12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.      Face-to-face                  MEZ 1.102         Jones   

30015               TTH     11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.     Face-to-face                  PAR 1                 Landau

All seats in this course are reserved for  CTI students.

CTI 355C                                     Law, Liberty, and Faith      (carries WR flag)

30105               MWF    2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.        Face-to-face                   MEZ  2.122       Dempsey

This course is open to rising CTI sophmores and above.


Area 3

CTI 302 and GOV 314E           Classics of Social and Political Thought

30005               TTH     09:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.      Face-to-face                  CBA  4.328         Viroli

All seats in this course are reserved for  CTI students.


Area 4

GOV 312P                      Constitutional Principles: Core Texts (fulfills half of core govt. requirement when paired with GOV 310L, carries E and CD flags)

38230              TTH       2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.         Face-to-Face                 MEZ  1.216       Gee

38215              MWF      9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.       Face-to-face                 GAR  0.128       Vassiliou 

38220              MWF      10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.     Face-to-face                 PAR   303          Anderson

38225              MWF       1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.        Face-to-face                 MEZ  1.216       Kitch

38210              TTH        9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.        Face-to-face                 MEZ  1.212      Mead

Seats in this course are reserved for CTI students.


Elective Courses

Please contact Cassadie Charlesworth if you are interested in petitioning a course to count as a CTI qualifying elective. Note that all proposed courses must be based on Core Texts to be approved. More information on what constitutes a “Core Text” can be found here. For your two CTI electives you may choose any other courses in the CTI field of study or any courses on the CTI qualifying list. We would especially like to call to your attention to the following course offerings:  


CTI 375 Science and Religion from Newton to the Present (carries WR Flag) 

30120       TTH 2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.       MEZ 1.210           Face-to-face           Lisle 

This course will analyze controversies about the mechanical philosophy, natural theology, evolution, the Big Bang, free will, selfish genes, and miracles, as well as the societal impacts of these controversies. Major questions that will be discussed include: What are the differences between science and religion? How have science and religion been used to justify each other? What kinds of arguments are persuasive? How do people respond when reality contradicts their beliefs? This course will emphasize primary source readings from many of the major figures who stood at the crossroads between science and religion, including Franklin, Paley, Darwin, Einstein, Dawkins, Collins, and others. This course will also emphasize writing, discussion, and critical thinking skills. 


CTI 355C Law, Liberty, Faith (carries WR Flag) 

30105         MWF 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.       MEZ 2.122           Face-to-face          Dempsey 

This course treats the relationship between religion and politics, with emphasis on the origin of the idea of religious freedom. We look at medieval ideas about the proper relation between law, liberty, and faith, and the arguments against them made by modern philosophers and theologians. Readings will likely include The Bible (Old and New Testament); Moses Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed; Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae; Maritn Luther, The Freedom of a Christian and On the Enslaved Will; John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion; Baruch Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise; John Locke, Letters Concerning Toleration. 


CTI 375 Chinese Ethics and Political Philosophy (carries WR Flag) 

30130        MWF 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.       BURR 228          Face-to-face            Lederman 

From 1312 until 1905 the Chinese civil service examinations prominently featured "Confucian" classics and commentaries on them. These ideas embodied the ethical worldview and political ideology of the Chinese imperial state, and an enormous impact on its development. But even read today, outside of this context, the texts offer rich, deep reflections on core ethical and political questions. This course examines the philosophical ideas of this so-called "Confucian" tradition by close attention to five of its major works: the Analects (ascribed to Kongzi/Confucius), the Mengzi (ascribed to Mengzi/Mencius), the Xunzi, Zhu Xi's Commentaries on the Four Books, and Wang Yangming's Questions on the Great Learning. 


GOV 382M Political Philosophy of Aristotle 

30140     MW     1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.            CAL 419         Face-to-Face             Pangle 

Jefferson Scholars with upper division standing are welcome to enroll in this graduate seminar for undergraduate credit by registering for CTI 379 Conference Course. In it we will read the founding work of political science, Aristotle’s Politics, together with parts of his Nicomachean Ethics, to understand Aristotle’s claim that a human being is by nature a political animal, his teaching on justice and natural right, his analysis of the different regimes, and his critique and suggested reforms for democracy. 


Qualifying Courses Offered in Fall 2023

The following count as CTI electives in addition to all cross-listings of the course below.

  • CTI       305G    INTRODUCTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT (carries GC flag)

  • CTI       323        MIGHT AND RIGHT AMONG NATIONS (carries E flag)


  • CTI       327D     THE HISTORY OF ROME: THE REPUBLIC (carries GC flag)
  • CTI       329         THE ANCIENT HISTORIANS
  • CTI       335M      MARX AND MARXIST THEORY (carries WR and GC flags)
  • CTI       340         ANCIENT EPIC (carries GC flag)
  • CTI       350        MASTERWORKS OF WORLD DRAMA (fulfills VAPA, CEHET, carries WR and E flags)
  • CTI       352D     EARLY ITALIAN RENAISSANCE ART TO 1470 (carries GC flag)
  • CTI       363        THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AND NAPOLEON (carries GC flag)
  • CTI       371       EINSTEIN IN THE AGE OF CONFLICT  (carries WR and II flag)
  • CTI       371S      SCIENCE AND RELIGION TO NEWTON (carries WR flag)
  • CTI       373        GREAT WORKS IN MEDICINE (carries WR and E flags)
  • CTI       375        CHINESE ETHICS AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (carries WR flag)
  • CTI       375        ART/CITY IN RENAISSANCE ITALY (carries GC flag)
  • E          321        SHAKESPEARE  (carries GC flag)
  • E          363        MILTON
  • E          363K     CLASSIC TO ROMANTIC
  • EUS     347        EARLY ITALIAN RENAISSANCE ART (carries GC flag)
  • GK       365       PLATO'S SYMPOSIUM (carries WR and II flags)
  • GOV    312P     CONSTITUTNL PRINS: CORE TEXTS (fulfills Core Gov, carries and CD and E flags)
  • HIS      343G    ITAL RENAISSANCE, 1350-1550 (fulfills CEHET, carries WR, E and GC flags)
  • HIS      345J      THE COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR 1829-1861 (fulfills Core History, carries CD flag)
  • ITL       321       INTRO TO ITALIAN LITERATURE (fulfills CEHET, carries GC flag)
  • LAH     350       SHAKESPEARE (carries WR, II and GC flags)
  • MES     342       SHOCK OF MODERNITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST (carries E, GC flags)
  • PHL     301L     EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHY (fulfills CEHET)
  • PHL     322K     HISTORY OF ETHICS (carries WR flag)
  • PHL     329K     HIST OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY (fulfills CEHET, carries GC flag)
  • SOC     379M   SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY (fulfills CEHET)


Updated 5/26/23