Seek Truth and Transcend Meaning: Patrick Henry College’s Literature Minor

Do you love to read the great books, write stories, and study famous authors? No need to change your major, simply add a Literature Minor. Part of what makes Patrick Henry College (PHC) distinct is its ability to provide students with a broad liberal arts education that allows them flexibility in what they can study.

Literature Program

The Literature minor at Patrick Henry College touches on a variety of historical, philosophical, and artistic perspectives. It has a flexible 15-credit requirement that is divided between nine credits of Literature Electives, Genre, and Major Author classes as well as six chosen credits from the courses Literary Theory & Criticism, American Literature, and English Literature I and II.

The objectives of a minor in Literature at Patrick Henry College are to be able to identify great works of European and American Literature, apply important statements of literary theory and criticism in the Western tradition, enhance writing skills through critical and imaginative responses to literary texts, and integrate the aesthetic, moral, and philosophical principles of literary works into a Biblical worldview.

Why Do a Minor at Patrick Henry College?

Patrick Henry College’s minor in literature presents a lot more flexibility of credits and subject material than a major is able to afford. Because of PHC’s classical christian liberal arts education, students can study a wide variety of subjects that provide them flexibility in their chosen areas of interest.

Students in the Government major might love politics and policy, but also have an interest in C.S. Lewis. By adding a literature minor, students are able to have the unique benefits of taking an in-depth class on specific authors while getting credit for it and learning in their subject area of interest.

Patrick Henry College uniquely designs its educational model to give students in-depth knowledge on a broad range of topics and allow them flexibility in specializing in their respective fields of interest. This is a key component of PHC’s tradition of a high-quality liberal arts education.

Learn to Seek Truth

Why is studying literature important? The answer is tied to Patrick Henry College’s philosophy of education. As articulated by Robert Littlejohn and Charles Evans: The purpose of Christian education is always twofold…We want our students to grow spiritually, intellectually, and socially, and we want them to foster similar growth in society.

But what is the most conducive environment for growth? The narrative of history points to wisdom and knowledge as pillars of human flourishing. But how does one acquire these? Patrick Henry College believes that knowledge can be found in reading the Great Books of Western Civilization in order to understand truth from varying perspectives and better support one’s understanding of the world. According to Littlejohn and Evans:

To be of any earthly good, a person must understand the world around him and recognize what it needs. He must be capable of discerning between what is true and good and beautiful in society and what is not, and he must be empowered to make a difference through perpetuating the former. In short, he requires wisdom and eloquence. Our activist must understand himself to be the inheritor of a dependable tradition of wisdom (rooted in a transcendent, authoritative source) that he has the responsibility to steward and to articulate to his contemporary world.

Literature transcends meaning. The goal of reading a book is not to be merely entertained, but enriched. The Great Books are designed to take the reader on a journey—by the end of which their perception of the world will be more complete. If books are read merely for entertainment, their purpose is diminished into a test of boredom. If meaning is an ocean, literature is how one navigates it.

Patrick Henry College seeks to raise-up individuals who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding. Thus, literature is crucial to the education of students because of its relevance and vital impact on informing one’s mind, body, and soul. Through its rigorous liberal arts curriculum, PHC seeks to provide academically excellent baccalaureate-level higher education with a biblical worldview.

A Unique Perspective to Patrick Henry College

Literature minors are not solely unique to Patrick Henry College. While other schools tend to lean toward Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) career paths, nearly every college and university offers a Literature program.

There are even some high-ranking schools that pursue the classical liberal arts model that Patrick Henry College seeks to imitate. The University of Chicago, which is famed for its liberal arts core, has a 45-credit core. The National Endowment for the Humanities, in a project designed to promote liberal education, proposed 50.

Patrick Henry College has an extensive core curriculum of 63 credits, this is what makes it distinct.

As to the spiritual element of PHC’s mission, there are other Christian schools that offer an education taught from a Christian worldview. However, few Christian colleges fully embrace a rigorous study of Western Civilization and what can be classified as “pagan works” to the degree that Patrick Henry College does.

Patrick Henry College was founded specifically to serve the best and the brightest of Christian homeschooled young people. Thus, the classical christian liberal arts education is at the heart of PHC’s educational philosophy and influences how students engage with literature.

Instead of merely reading from the greatest texts in Western Civilization, students can analyze, understand, and engage truth by having the benefit of an intentionally Christian approach to education. To learn how to be a great writer is to have read great writing.

Patrick Henry College seeks to present students with the opportunity to pursue knowledge through a wide variety of disciplines. However, engaging with great literature through a uniquely Christian perspective is the full realization of knowledge of the good, true, and beautiful.

Patrick Henry College’s motto is “for Christ and for Liberty,” and it seeks to embrace both imperatives through its literature minor by providing students with the opportunity to engage important texts with the benefit of a Christian worldview.

The study of literature unites all of Patrick Henry College’s objectives by exposing students to excellent writers, teaching them how to critically analyze works, and then cultivate their talents in a way that glorifies God with their words.



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Understanding the Past to Inform the Future: Patrick Henry College’s History Major

What does it mean to study history at Patrick Henry College?

What does it mean to study history? It means unraveling the narrative of humanity to understand who we are, where we have been, and where we are going. In order to understand anything about the current era, it is important to understand the significant events and figures of the past.

But what does it mean to study history from a Christian perspective? Patrick Henry College’s history program provides an answer. Students are challenged to master the tools of first-class scholarship to analyze historical topics in depth and to defend their conclusions with rigor and intellectual honesty.

Patrick Henry College seeks to equip students to lead the world for Christ and for Liberty through a classical, Christian, liberal arts education. The History major provides students with a thorough understanding of western civilization through an unwavering biblical worldview.

Patrick Henry Major Requirements

All History majors at Patrick Henry College are required to take core courses in U.S. history, the history of Western civilization, and the philosophy and methodology of history. For students interested in historical topics outside of the U.S. and the West, there are electives in the history of Russia, China and the Middle East. Patrick Henry College also offers history electives on thematic topics like Islam. In the senior year, a major project caps a History major’s curriculum:  a year-long senior thesis based upon primary source research.

In addition to major-specific courses, Patrick Henry College students are required to complete an extensive 63-credit core that demands high academic rigor. The core consists of courses in logic, rhetoric, mathematics, geometry, music, science, history, literature, theology, apologetics, economics, foreign languages, constitutional law, and political theory. It is designed with the purpose of laying a common foundation for advanced learning in each major.

Having a 63-credit core can be seen as a disadvantage because it would lead to more broad courses and less specialized major courses. However, since Patrick Henry College includes rigorous academic programs and employs an intense apprenticeship methodology, this is not the case.

The goal of studying history is to learn about significant cultural movements, study the greatest minds of Western civilization, and understand one’s place in it today. Students with this depth of knowledge are able to go into a wide variety of successful career paths.

Why Study History at Patrick Henry College?

History is an underrated area of society today. The common misconception is that the only career path for historians are museum curators or half-broke writers. But having the depth of knowledge that Patrick Henry College’s History major provides gives students so much more—it prepares them for life after college and beyond by giving them a look at history from a uniquely Christian perspective.

“If you do what I do for a living—if you’re a Christian and a college professor—PHC is the Promised Land. My students are smart, but more than that they are curious and want to learn. They make it possible for me to teach via Socratic Method; I couldn’t do that at my previous college positions. My students are also fabulously kind to me, so much so that I end up regarding them as both friends and partners in the academic process,” Professor of History Dr. Robert Spinney said.

If you are looking for a place to learn about the foundations of Western civilization from a Christian perspective and be prepared to teach, write, or a wide variety of other careers after graduation, Patrick Henry College is the ideal school.

Fidelity to the Spirit of the American Founding

Part of what makes Patrick Henry College unique is that it focuses on three important distinctives where most schools only have one of two. These distinctives are high academic rigor, fidelity to the spirit of the American founding, and a commitment to an unwavering biblical worldview. Patrick Henry College is the only college in the nation dedicated to all three distinctives.

The founders of Patrick Henry College recognized a significant lack of biblical principles in higher education as well as an underdeveloped knowledge of the important values of America’s founding. They decided that this was an unacceptable status quo in higher education and desired to fill the void. Patrick Henry College was their solution.

As a Christian, liberal arts institution, Patrick Henry College endeavors to not only preserve the important values of freedom and liberty articulated during America’s founding, but it also desires to foster an environment where students are able to learn how to think about the world around them by understanding the past while lifting high both faith and reason.

Unwavering Biblical Worldview

Because of Patrick Henry College’s unwavering biblical worldview, it would seem that a study of Western civilization’s roots or America’s founding would present moral conflicts. After all, what is Christian about the pagan literature of the Greeks and Romans who were polytheists, or the trends of humanism prevalent throughout numerous civilizations?

Patrick Henry College believes that through a complete and comprehensive study of Greek and Roman culture is crucial to understanding Christianity in its entirety. Understanding other contexts and important philosophical ideas is a vital part of strengthening one’s faith.

Patrick Henry College seeks to provide a classical, Christian, liberal arts education that gives students a complete and comprehensive look at history so they are best informed. Understanding the importance of biblical values throughout history is vital to understanding them today.

The focus of Patrick Henry College is to make God the focus and pursuing His truth the end of education, be it spiritual, moral, philosophical, or scientific. Will students encounter dark moments in history, non-Christian thinkers, and man-centered cultures? Yes, but a quality education is not dogmatically focused on one perspective, instead God’s truth can be found in the interwoven threads of history.

The Christian faith and a high-quality liberal arts education cannot be separated. Instead, our Christian faith precedes and informs all that we at Patrick Henry College study, teach, and learn. History is the study of man’s past, but it is also the study of God’s narrative of creation, fall, redemption, restoration.

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The Future of Business is Here: Economics & Business Analytics at Patrick Henry College

(Transcript of Video)

When Patrick Henry College crafted the Economics & Business Analytics (EBA) program we really believe that there was a hole in the higher education world that needed to be filled.  When Patrick Henry College faculty looked at business degrees in general in America, we believe that there was a bit of commoditization that had taken place.   When that happens sometimes the academic rigor becomes less important, it’s just about volume.

The faculty at Patrick Henry College took a close look by talking to business leaders and they told us what they were seeing from traditional business programs.  It was not really what they were looking for in today’s fast be based, technology oriented, and data driven business environment. Where leadership, innovation, good communications skills and thinking quantitatively were highly valued. They weren’t finding those kind of skills coming from the students, from the traditional business programs.  So Patrick Henry College crafted something different to meet those needs.

Economics is the foundation of the program, but if that we’re all we were doing it would be just an economics degree.  We wanted to make sure that our students could handle big data and big data requires some skills that are typically not emphasized in other business programs.  So we made sure that we were giving the application of these two fundamental tools, economics and mathematics, a very strong to focus on Business.

Patrick Henry College has included MBA leveled business courses at the undergraduate level in combination with the foundations of economics and mathematics. That combination gives a strong base to build a career, a future and we think our EBA program is absolutely unique in that regard.

Many business programs are really training middle level managers.  We’d like to think that at Patrick Henry College we training leaders and making sure that they’re a cut above those who are just being trained for middle  level management.

It’s not necessary for student coming to Patrick Henry College for the EBA program to just want to be a business executive.  You’ve got so many opportunities when you graduate with this degree, so many fields that have open to you, so many paths that you can pursue.  Our students are prepared to move in any of those directions with an EBA degree from Patrick Henry College.

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