Great Books

The Literature and Ideas requirement forms the foundation for an Honors education at University of Michigan. Literature and Ideas courses introduce students to a core set of texts from cultural traditions around the globe. These are texts which have proven central to that great conversation known as human civilization. Except in very rare circumstances, every first year Honors student must elect one of the following courses in each semester of the first year:

  • Fall Term, First Year
    Great Books 191 or Classical Civilization 101 (Honors section ONLY)
  • Winter Term, First Year
    Great Books 192 or Classical Civilization 102 (Honors section ONLY) or an approved alternative

The readings for Great Books 191 and Classical Civilization 101 (Honors section) overlap considerably, but the courses have somewhat different emphases. In addition to giving students a solid grounding in the texts that are considered part of the basis of Western Civilization, both Classic Civ 101 and Great Books 191 serve as meeting points that allow first-year Honors students to mingle and exchange ideas with each other and make new friends in the process.

Both courses stress academic writing, and the instructors pay attention to writing techniques and problems. Satisfactory completion of either one of these courses fulfills the introductory composition requirement. Honors students do not take English 124 or 125 for Intro Comp. Neither English Advanced Placement credit nor exemption from introductory composition based on transfer credit will satisfy the Literature and Ideas requirement. If you plan to be in both Honors and the Residential College, please visit our Joint Programs page for more information on how L&I fits with the first-year writing expectations for joint students.

Prior to the registration period for each term, a list of courses which fulfill the second half of the Literature and Ideas requirement is published on the Honors website. This list varies from term to term so you should check the current listing before taking a course for Literature and Ideas credit.