Classical Christian Studies (CCS) - New Saint Andrews College

Classical Christian Studies

Low-Residency Graduate Program Designed with Teachers in Mind

Designed to accommodate busy professionals, students in the Classical Christian Studies program learn the essentials of the Western Tradition. Graduates leave ready to teach the next generation, and ready to dialogue about the legacy of the West—its languages, thinkers, great works, and historical contexts.

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Additional Programs of Interest

Course Offerings

Western Culture

Courses in Western culture provide scholarly introductions to primary texts that exemplify one of the following eras of Western civilization: ancient Greece, ancient Rome, medieval Europe, or early modern Europe. Each course will concentrate on a particular theme, author, discipline, or field of inquiry (e.g., history, theology, philosophy, mathematics, science, music, literature). Courses in Western culture require students to read and interrogate the primary texts; identify their authors’ contexts, concerns, and insights; and form their own assessment of the authors’ achievements. These courses position the primary texts within the Western intellectual tradition, compare them to other literatures, and relate them to our contemporary world. The courses deepen a student’s understanding of the primary texts in one of two ways: by either proposing how to teach these texts to others; or by conversing meaningfully with leading scholars or schools of thought and their interpretive approaches to these texts, and also by expressing their own voice in this conversation. Students in these courses will be required to communicate their engagement with the primary texts in writing. Courses in Western culture offered during summer residency will also require students to assert their presence as scholars through spoken interaction in a seminar.

Specific texts and topics are unique to each course. Courses are scheduled on a cycle that moves chronologically through four eras of Western civilization: ancient Greece, ancient Rome, medieval Europe, and early modern Europe. Our schedule allots two consecutive terms to each era; thus, an entire cycle spans eight terms in all.

Languages

Courses in language offer an intensive introduction to a classical language. These courses provide a foundation for continuing study in the language and the basic tools for applying the language to teaching or scholarship.

Latin and Pedagogy

This course introduces the basics of the Latin language while also addressing principles and problems of language pedagogy that educators encounter in their capacity as administrators, teachers, or parents. At the end of this course, students will have a foundation sufficient for further Latin study including an ability to read adapted passages from a Latin translation of the Bible. The readings, discussion, and class exercises will also provide a solid foundation in pedagogy, equipping students to better their classrooms, schools, and homeschools.

Hebrew

This course takes a student from not knowing the Hebrew alphabet to reading biblical texts using the BibleMesh online curriculum. Lessons incorporate various media and the most up-to-date vocabulary learning software to immerse the student into the biblical text in the original language and learn the grammar of that language in that context. Grammar ceases to be an abstract concept unattached to anything real and becomes embedded in the text that the students are reading. Students will be tested regularly on each grammar topic and are required to have an active knowledge in each language as they are asked to type answers in Hebrew.

Greek

This course takes a student from not knowing the Greek alphabet to reading biblical texts using the BibleMesh online curriculum. Lessons incorporate various media and the most up-to-date vocabulary learning software to immerse the student into the biblical text in the original language and learn the grammar of that language in that context. Grammar ceases to be an abstract concept unattached to anything real and becomes embedded in the text that the students are reading. Students will be tested regularly on each grammar topic and are required to have an active knowledge in each language as they are asked to type answers in Greek.

Integrative Essay

Integrative Essay is the capstone assignment of the M.St. degree. Students work under the supervision of a faculty mentor to compose a 25-35 page essay that examines texts, issues, and/or events they have studied in the CCS program, integrating them around a select theme or thesis. Students defend their integrative essay before a panel of faculty.

Overview

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Master of Studies (M.St.) Degree

Candidates for the M.St. degree must pass a total of 32 credits with a minimum grade of MCH (B-), including each of the following curricular requirements:

  1. a minimum of 5 residence credits
  2. a minimum of 2 credits in Language
  3. one integrative essay (2 credits)

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate

Candidates for the Graduate Certificate must pass a total of 16 credits with a minimum grade of MCH (B-).

Mission Statement

The mission of New Saint Andrews College’s CCS program is to provide the highest quality graduate education attainable through low-residence instruction. Our program is comprised of a faculty of scholars, committed to instructional excellence and a distinctively Christian and Reformed perspective, who deliver this education to men and women who are taking up the mantle of cultural leadership. We prepare our students to draw upon the Western liberal arts tradition as they shape culture in the twenty-first century.

NSA’s Statement on Online Education

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the CCS programs for?

We have crafted our Classical Christian Studies programs for those who want to secure their footing in Western literature, history, philosophy and theology. We aim to serve mature, busy individuals—teachers, engineers, full-time moms, carpenters, accountants, pastors—who have at least a bachelor’s degree, yet who would like to build up their appreciation for the liberal arts. The liberal arts inform what it means to fulfill these various specific callings—and to do so as human beings who are created in the image of God, and who live in a society that has been shaped by Western expressions of both faithfulness and rebellion toward the triune God. Our CCS programs are ideal for church leaders, parents, educators, and other professionals who are driven to learn.

Will CCS courses fit into my schedule?

We have designed our CCS programs to accommodate students who have busy schedules at home and at work. They involve online courses in the fall and spring, and also summer courses that include a brief residency here at the college in Moscow, Idaho. (The residency portion of our summer courses spans eight weekdays with an intervening weekend.) We offer two CCS programs: a 32-credit Master of Studies degree, which requires three resident summer sessions and a final paper, as well as a 16-credit Graduate Certificate, which can be completed without summer residence sessions. Recipients of the Graduate Certificate can opt to continue their studies and complete the Master of Studies degree.

What background must I have before enrolling? Does NSA require me to enter with a strong record in the liberal arts?

Our instructors presume that our CCS students are mature individuals who have demonstrated the disciplined curiosity required to meet the intellectual challenges of graduate-level work. Our students will have already earned a bachelor’s degree. Yet we understand that the readings and subjects we cover may be entirely new to them. No, then, we do not require our students to enter with a strong record in the liberal arts; in fact, this is what our programs provide to students who lack such a background. Our CCS courses are advanced introductions—introductions in the sense that we presume no prerequisite familiarity with the material, and advanced in the sense that our students are already mature in their capacity to read, analyze and communicate nuances in writing.

How are these graduate-level CCS courses different from undergraduate courses?

We organize most of our CCS courses around close readings of a few primary texts, texts that have shaped Western culture for centuries. These are not survey courses that are common at the undergraduate level, though our courses do equip students with the broad background information they will need to contextualize the primary texts. To complement the central readings, CCS courses acquaint our graduate students with secondary literature representing various perspectives on the primary texts, or with strategies for teaching these texts to others. We expect graduate students to move beyond summarizing characters and plots, and beyond restating the claims and arguments presented by others. We help them develop and communicate their own appreciation and criticism of these primary texts, and to assert their own voice in a conversation among insightful readers across the centuries who have also discussed these same primary texts.

How does NSA bring its confessional perspective to bear upon its CCS courses?

We organize our CCS courses around primary texts that have something important to say about God, people, and things; about past, present and future; or about truth, beauty and goodness. As Christian scholars, we embrace the Bible’s authoritative teaching in all these areas while acknowledging with humility that we can never exhaust its depths. We teach our graduate students to welcome vigorous engagement with seminal writings of Western culture because such engagement raises challenging questions, questions that drive us back again to the word of God, where we search the depths afresh and find answers.

New Saint Andrews is confessionally Trinitarian, Reformed, and evangelical. We do not see ourselves as distinct from other academic institutions in possessing a faith commitment; every coherent institution has a body of ultimate commitments. We believe that true liberal learning is encouraged and academic freedom is advanced when an institution declares its faith openly and honestly rather than by trying to keep it simultaneously operative and hidden.

What are the courses like?

The fall term and spring term courses are delivered online. Students work through assigned readings on a weekly schedule, participate in regular class discussions related to the readings, and submit assignments. Class discussions are usually conducted by posting to online forums or, if the schedule allows, verbally in real-time conferences. The classes are scheduled and paced in a way that allows students the flexibility to organize their study routines around their other obligations. Some students prefer to set aside a little time each day for coursework; others might set aside a couple large blocks of time in a given week. Students have regular deadlines to meet, but how they meet those deadlines is up to them.

Summer courses have an online component and a residence component. For the residence component, students spend up to two weeks at the college in Moscow, Idaho, participating in intensive in-person workshops and seminars.

2019-2020 Calendar

May 27, 2019 — Summer Term Begins

August 23, 2019 — Summer Term Ends

September 9, 2019 — Fall Term Begins

December 19, 2019 — Fall Term Ends

January 13, 2020 — Spring Term Begins

April 17, 2020 — Spring Term Ends

Logistics for Travel and Lodging

Testimonials

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