The Templeton Honors College

The Templeton Honors College is designed to challenge and prepare 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 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 cultural history of Western Civilization. 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, special lectures, and other events.

The Templeton Honors College accepts up to 36 new students each year through a competitive application and interview process. Though students do not “major” or “minor” in the Honors College, participation in it becomes part of the student’s academic record. The most popular majors among Honors College students include Mathematical Sciences, Biology, History, Philosophy, and

The Templeton Honors College has been made possible through the generosity of Drs. John, Jr. and Josephine Templeton.

Admission Requirements

  1. Acceptance to Eastern University.
  2. Templeton students are usually in the top 10% of their high school graduating class and have SAT scores averaging 1200/1800 or ACT scores of 28 and above, along with leadership abilities with other academic or personal achievements.
  3. A deep desire to read great books, have great conversations, and live great lives.

Templeton Honors College Courses

The Templeton curriculum is divided into the following five groups of courses, taken over four years. All of the Eastern University general education goals are addressed through the Templeton curriculum, as is the additional college-specific goal of “Broad Knowledge.”

1. Ethics & Public Thought (The Good)

HONR 101 The Good Life

“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

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

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

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. The Honors Capstone is designed to revisit and, in some cases, recover the richness and coherence of an integrative humanistic, Christian worldview. Designed for fourth-year students preparing for graduation, Honors Capstone: 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. 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. It will draw on readings from the classical to the contemporary eras.

“Cultural Perspectives” Course: any approved course from Eastern’s GE Core or any language course 100-level or above.

2. Mathematical & Scientific Thought (The True)

Choose one of the following:

HONR 201 Cosmology

This course is primarily a science course within a historical timeframe, in which 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. Without a thorough grounding in astronomy and an insight into our ages-long search for comprehending our universe and its origin, one’s conceptual paradigm for understanding God and human history is severely limited and anthropocentric. A firm grounding in cosmology also equips the scholar to intelligently interpret the burgeoning field of current astronomical discoveries, as well lovingly and competently discuss controversial issues related to creation and the age of the universe. This course aims to deepen the way students see themselves, their planet, human history, and most importantly, the triune God. Includes observatory experience.

HONR 204 Mathematics in the Western Tradition 

This course engages in a study of mathematical thought in the Western Tradition from Euclid through modernity to the present. Attention is paid both to the mathematical work of key figures and the relationship between their mathematical systems and the concurrent development of philosophical thought. Students will read the primary texts of mathematicians and philosophers, learn fundamental mathematical skills, and explore the ways in which mathematical thought has influenced, and been influenced by, the broader philosophical and theological tradition.

3. Fine & Performing Arts (The Beautiful)

HONR 103 Templeton Choral Ensemble/HONR 104 Templeton Choral Ensemble

The Templeton Chorale is a two-semester ensemble course tailored to teach students how to sing in a choral ensemble. Students will learn notation, correct breathing, posture, and singing techniques, as well as specific strategies to participate competently in fine choral singing. Students will study, analyze, and perform some of the classic choral repertoire of the Western Christian Tradition. Upon completion of this course sequence students will have the ability to sing in a 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 & the Arts

What does beauty have to do with human life and meaning? Why are the arts such a vital part of cultures around the world throughout history? How might art shape us morally and socially? By what criteria should we assess or regulate creative excellence and license? Can artists help revitalize cities, heal trauma, bridge social divides, and cast a prophetic vision for the good society? These are some of the questions that will arise in this course as we will explore the theme of beauty in western thought and art. Our focus will be on the traditional visual arts—sculpture, painting, and architecture—as well as more contemporary media, such as film and photography. We will look at, read about, and discuss a wide range of art forms, while engaging theological and philosophical aesthetics, from antiquity to the present. We will also interact with literary works that thematize beauty and visual art.

4. Christian Thought (The Holy)

HONR 140 Old Testament

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 New Testament

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

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.

5. The Western Tradition

HONR 160 Western Civilization 1: Greece and Rome

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

This course builds on the story that began in HONR 160 Western Civilization 1: Greece and Rome, tracing how the traditions of Christian, Greek, and Roman thought and culture formed the Christian culture of late antiquity, including  monasticism, feudalism, scholasticism, and humanism. 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 according to the divine order set forth in Holy Scripture and the revelation in God’s creation, including the creative efforts of God’s highest creation, the human soul. The course’s main emphasis is on the place of love ordering one’s soul to God, and how this theme is inescapably present throughout this period.

HONR 260 West Civ III: Modernity

This concludes the Western Civilization sequence by providing students with an understanding of distinctly modern theories of society generated within the 17th–20th centuries and the American context. The course utilizes sociological, theological, philosophical, and literary texts in order to make sense of the modern world. It explores the evolution and development of “modernity” less as an idea or epoch and more as a set of institutional transformations and practices that emerge from the older tradition, but modify them in fundamental ways. Modernity’s legitimating ideologies of emancipation and progress are examined through its key institutional carriers: industrial capitalism, the modern state, 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.

HONR 300 Honors Seminar

Honors seminars are designed to provide students an opportunity to consider specific texts, authors, and subjects in a more focused, extended, and intensive way than a typical course affords. 

General Education and the Templeton Honors College Core Curriculum

The Templeton Honors College maintains its own General Education core that is distinct from but related to the university’s General Education core and competencies. All Honors College students complete their general education requirements within the Honors College, but major in one of the other five colleges: Health and Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Education, Business and Leadership, or Palmer Theological.

Templeton Course Sequence

Because the general education curriculum is designed to provide students with foundational skills and knowledge which are reinforced and applied through major coursework, it is critical that students complete their core courses in a particular sequence and as much as possible by the end of their third year of study.

The following general education course sequence is recommended for entering first-year Templeton students.

Year 1 Courses

Plan of Study Grid
Semester 1Credit Hours
HONR 101 The Good Life 3
HONR 103 Templeton Choral Ensemble 1
HONR 140 Old Testament 3
HONR 160 Western Civilization 1: Greece and Rome 3
 Credit Hours10
Semester 2
HONR 104 Templeton Choral Ensemble 1
HONR 120 The Art of Rhetoric 3
HONR 141 New Testament 3
HONR 161 Western Civilization 2: Medieval and Renaissance Europe 3
 Credit Hours10
 Total Credit Hours20

Year 2 Courses

To complete by the end of the 2nd year:

HONR 102Justice and the Common Good3
HONR 240Introduction to Christian Theology3
HONR 280Beauty & the Arts3
HONR 260West Civ III: Modernity3
HONR 201Cosmology3
or HONR 204 Mathematics in the Western Tradition
Total Credit Hours15

Year 3 Requirements

HONR 260West Civ III: Modernity3
Cultural Perspectives Course3
Total Credit Hours6

Year 4 Course

HONR 480Senior Capstone: the Ordinary Life2
Total Credit Hours2

In the event that a major course is required in a semester that differs from this sequence, students should follow the recommendation of the major for that course.

Continuation Requirements

To remain in good standing in the College, Templeton students must earn a minimum grade of C in every honors (HONR) course. Additionally, they must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 after the first year, 3.3 after the second year, and 3.4 in subsequent years through graduation. Templeton students are also expected to attend Honors Forum and participate in other aspects of community life.