Harrison Middleton University offers a curriculum that engages students with the greatest books, ideas, authors, and events of western civilization. Students acquire knowledge from the wisdom of thirty centuries contained in the works by world famous authors in imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social science. All degree programs at the university are discussion based, using the principles of Shared Inquiry. It is as if the students and Tutors are participating with the great authors in a conversation on ideas and issues that have concerned people in every epoch and cover a whole range of humanities inquiries and interests.

At Harrison Middleton University, with the guidance of an Instructional Team, students are able to design a degree program by developing the courses that meet their personal interests. Students enrolled in distance education programs tend to be self-directed, independent learners, dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, and find developing their own program of study exciting and rewarding.

Ideas, Topics, and Subtopics

Studying particular ideas, topics, and subtopics in depth is not only the best way for a student to develop a sophisticated knowledge of the subject matter, but also the best way to become conversant with the systems of analysis common to other bodies of subject matter and many different endeavors. Students look back in history to find the most enlightening ideas, topics, and subtopics that interest them, and, with the guidance of an Instructional Team, design a program of study that will incorporate those ideas into an education that will yield a lifetime of benefit.

The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course

All students are required to take The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course. This course is specially designed to ensure the student's success at Harrison Middleton University. As a result of this course, the student will gain a better understanding of the degree program and the concept of self-directed learning needed to be successful. The student will develop the skills needed to create the individualized program of study and learn how to best approach classic texts. Also, the student will learn to write questions and identify passages for textual analysis which help evaluate his or her learning experience during the in-depth discussions with Tutors. At the completion of The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course, with the aid of an Instructional Team, the student will carefully design a program of study for the chosen degree program, focusing on a combination of ideas, topics, and subtopics.

Discussion (Shared Inquiry)

At Harrison Middleton University, the heart of the curriculum is discussion. Discussion creates the most active of learning environments. Students participate in focused in-depth discussions on the selections, ideas, topics, and subtopics outlined in their degree program with Tutors, the teaching members at the university. All participants, students and Tutors alike, prepare for the discussions by bringing their own thought-provoking, interpretive questions. What ensues is a lively, demanding conversation that begins with a single question and continues on with increasingly insightful questions. With each interpretive question, opinion falls away, knowledge surfaces, and answers emerge. In this way, students and tutors join together to promote thoughtful inquiry and productive exchange of ideas in order to reach a deeper, more informed understanding of the great books and great ideas of the western world.

Writing Assignments

Writing is a natural extension of the interpretive process and enables the student to synthesize, evaluate, and apply knowledge they have acquired. Writing assignments allow the student to reflect on the discussions and provide an opportunity to articulate points of view carefully and thoroughly.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
~ Aristotle