New England: July 7-20, 2024
California: June 23-30 or July 14-27, 2024
The pursuit of wisdom begins with wonder — wonder about the causes and principles of man and the natural world, and wonder about God, Who is the first cause and principle of all things.
Through serious consideration of questions which deeply concern every person, the Summer Programs at Thomas Aquinas College encourage wonder and lead participants toward wisdom.
Thomas Aquinas College’s High School Great Books programs are offered in two locations — at the College’s California campus, and at its New England campus.
At each location, students from around the country and abroad delight in spirited conversation, engaging firsthand some of the best works of the past 2,500 years. They read and discuss texts selected from the masters of the Western intellectual tradition, including Plato, Euclid, Sophocles, Pascal, St. Thomas Aquinas. Although the different venues feature attractions and outings particular to their locales, both are centered around the College’s unique program of Catholic liberal education.
Whether on the West Coast or East, the High School Summer Programs are a time for forging new friendships, for enjoying the give and take of rational argument, and for pursuing the truth, which civilizes, ennobles, and liberates.
California: June 23-30, July 14-27
The California Summer Programs take place on Thomas Aquinas College’s Santa Paula campus, 70 miles north of Los Angeles in the foothills of the Topatopa mountain range. When the students are not in the classroom, they take full advantage of all the natural beauty that the region has to offer. There are daily sports in the new athletic center and on the campus athletic field, as well as swimming in the pool and hiking along the hillside trails surrounding campus.
Other on-campus activities include an open-mic night; soccer, basketball, and volleyball tournaments; and a dance on the last night. Over the course of the programs, the group also ventures off campus to experience the best of Southern California. Depending on the program, students tour the J. Paul Getty Museum*, enjoy a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl*, take an afternoon trip to the beach, or spend an evening in historic Santa Barbara.
Thomas Aquinas College is a genuinely Catholic school with a rich sacramental life. Mass is offered twice daily in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and a chaplain is available on campus at all times. Religious activities are not mandatory, however, and non-Catholic students are welcome on the California programs.
*Two-week program only.
New England: July 7-20
Just 90 miles west of Boston, in Northfield, Massachusetts, students at the New England Summer Program can get a taste of life on Thomas Aquinas College’s recently opened second campus. Among its century-old buildings is a newly restored gymnasium that includes a swimming pool, basketball courts, and a dance studio, as well as workout facilities and equipment.
On-campus activities mirror those of the California programs, including swing-dance classes in the Bl. Frassati Student Center and evening gatherings in the residence halls. Students travel off campus to explore historic Boston and the Freedom Trail, kayak on the nearby Connecticut River, and enjoy a concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood Music Center.
Just as on the California program, a full-time chaplain will be available throughout the New England program, and Mass will be offered twice daily in Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel.
In order to receive the full extent of religious-liberty protections under Massachusetts law, the College may admit only Catholic students to the New England Program. Religious devotions, however, are voluntary. The California Programs remain open to students of all faiths.
The Great Books are the seminal works in all the major areas of learning, including mathematics, science, literature, philosophy, and theology. In studying and discussing these works, rather than textbooks, students encounter the greatest minds of Western civilization. The great books open up for the student the truth about reality. Studied carefully under the light of the Faith, they animate the minds and hearts of students, satisfying the hunger for the truth that makes men free.
Discussions include questions concerning the sometimes-conflicting obligations to honor and obey parents, political leaders, and the Divinity — questions raised by Sophocles in Antigone and by Plato in the Euthyphro. The Biblical account of creation and the fall of man in Genesis prompts a discussion about man’s nature and free will. The French naturalist J. Henri Fabre’s argument for purpose and order in nature is contrasted with that of some of the pre-Socratic philosophers, who subscribe to the idea of a godless universe, purely material and existing by chance. St. Thomas Aquinas’s proofs for the existence of God occasion consideration of the right relation between faith and reason.
Those attending the two-week program will continue discussing these great questions with works such as Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, Pascal’s famous essay on “The Wager,” a reading of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, and one of Flannery O’Connor’s short stories. The French naturalist J. Henri Fabre’s argument for purpose and order in nature is contrasted with that of some of the pre-Socratic philosophers who subscribe to the idea of a godless universe, purely material and existing by chance.
Students will also have an opportunity to study the roots of mathematics in Euclid’s Elements, which demonstrates the intelligibility, order, and accessibility of mathematical concepts when understood from their first principles.
Each year when the various High School Summer Programs are in session, the College publishes the Summer Program Blog, a running account of what’s going on in the classroom and beyond. For parents, the blog offers a glimpse into what your students are experiencing. For prospective students, previous years’ posts can give you a wonderful insight into the great joys that lie ahead!
Eligible students who have completed three years of high school by summer 2024.
Note: In order to receive the full extent of religious-liberty protections under Massachusetts law, the College may admit only Catholic students to the New England Summer Program. The California program remains open, as always, to students of all faiths and religious traditions.
California: Sunday, June 23 – Sunday, June 30 (New in 2024!)
New England: Sunday, July 7 – Saturday, July 20
California: Sunday, July 14 – Saturday, July 27
California: On the Thomas Aquinas College campus just outside of Santa Paula, California, adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest and only 20 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. Out-of-town students will be met by College staff when they arrive at Los Angeles International Airport.
New England: On the Thomas Aquinas College campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, just south of the New Hampshire and Vermont borders, in the historic Connecticut River Valley. Out-of-town students will be met by College staff when they arrive at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
- Tuition for the two-week programs is $975 and tuition for the one-week program is $600. Tuition includes housing, meals, books, organized activities on and off campus, and transportation to and from the Boston or Los Angeles airport.
How do I get there?
- California: By car or air. Out-of-town students will be met at and returned to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by College staff.
- New England: By car or air. Out-of-town students will be met at and returned to Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS) by College staff.
How do I apply?
The application process is simple: Just submit a letter of reference, a high school transcript, and a complete application.
To ask the big questions, explore their answers, and forge new friendships.
For more information, call 800-634-9797 or send an email.