Humane Letters Diploma Program

The Humane Letters Diploma Program allows students to earn Scriptorium’s Humane Letters Diploma upon successful completion of their humanities courses (writing, the four-year history and literature sequence, government, and fine arts) through Scriptorium Hall. The required courses are:

  • Writing I: Grammar & Writing II: Logic — Unless students can demonstrate strong writing skills, these foundational writing courses are required as pre-requisites or co-requisites for all other full-credit Scriptorium courses. Together, they include formal instruction in writing essays using classical rhetorical forms and in grammar, logic, and close reading skills. The courses are open to students in grades 6-12 and fifth-grade students with strong reading abilities.
  • The four-year history and literature sequence (see below) covers Western Civilization and American history. History and literature courses cover the same time period so that students form an understanding of historical events and cultural developments in their historical context. Students are strongly encouraged to begin with Ancients and progress through to Medievals, United States, and Moderns in that order; chronology is fundamental to the understanding of history, and all subsequent courses are based on knowledge acquired in the previous courses. No textbooks are used — all readings are primary sources  written by people who lived during the time being studied. All history and literature courses strengthen students’ writing skills.
  • Fine Arts provides a survey of the art and music of Western Civilization.
  • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics provides a survey of the political and economic ideas developed throughout Western Civilization.
  • Graduating seniors take Writing III: Rhetoric & Senior Thesis.

NOTES

  • NB: This program is developed only by Scriptorium Hall. It is not associated with or approved by any external organization. The Humane Letters Diploma Program is simply intended to provide students a clear and thorough course of study in the humanities and to recognize their work for completing it.
  • The Diploma Program is open to any student willing to study its curriculum diligently. The primary benefits of the program are intangible. Students not willing to apply themselves and to think deeply about complex ideas are not suited for the program.
  • Students can begin the program as early as 6th grade – though they may wish to retake some courses in high school; however, the latest a student can begin the program is during his 10th-grade academic year. All Diploma Program students must take Writing III: Rhetoric and Senior Thesis during the year they intend to graduate from high school. They receive their Diploma Program plaques and honors cords at their Scriptorium graduation.
  • Unless students can demonstrate strong skills in writing persuasive essays, Writing I and II are required as pre-requisites or co-requisites for all other Diploma Program courses and may be taken in grades 5-8 by students with strong reading abilities.
  • History and literature courses are offered in rotation: not every course is offered every year.
  • Beyond regular tuition, there is no additional cost to participate in the Diploma Program. Please see Tuition, Terms, and Conditions for information about regular tuition.
  • For families following the Tennessee state requirements for high school credits, the Diploma Program covers a total of 11 credits: 4 English credits, 3 Social Studies credits, 3 elective credits, and 1 Fine Arts credit. Please note that Philosophy, Politics & Economics does not include the state-required personal finance 0.5 credit, although information covered in the course will be useful for personal finance.
  • **Students can only be deemed to have completed the Diploma Program if they have earned a satis or better for each course. A student receiving a grade of non satis for a course has not completed the course successfully and may not count that course toward completion of the Diploma Program.**
  • Every student who completes the Humane Letters Diploma Program with average marks of cum laude or better receives the Humane Letters Diploma Prize. Graduates also receive the Humane Letters Diploma plaque and honors cords.
  • Please contact the tutor if you are interested.

EXAMPLE SCHEDULES FOR COMPLETING THE DIPLOMA PROGRAM

Beginning in middle school:

  • 7th & 8th grade
    • Writing I and II
  • 9th grade
    • Ancient History
    • Ancient Literature
  • 10th grade
    • Medieval History
    • Medieval Literature
    • Fine Arts (in the following summer)
  • 11th grade
    • United States History
    • United States Literature
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • 12th grade
    • Modern History
    • Modern Literature
    • Writing III: Rhetoric and Senior Thesis

Beginning in high school:

  • 9th grade
    • Writing I: Grammar
    • Ancient History
    • Ancient Literature
  • 10th grade
    • Writing II: Logic
    • Medieval History
    • Medieval Literature
    • Fine Arts (in the following summer)
  • 11th grade
    • United States History
    • United States Literature
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • 12th grade
    • Modern History
    • Modern Literature
    • Writing III: Rhetoric and Senior Thesis

Beginning in 10th grade (Prerequisite: Writing II skills):

  • 10th grade
    • Ancient OR US History
    • Ancient OR US Literature
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics OR Fine Arts
  • Summer following 10th grade
    • Medieval History
    • Medieval Literature
  • 11th grade
    • United States History OR Ancient History
    • United States OR Ancient Literature
    • Fine Arts OR Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • 12th grade
    • Modern History
    • Modern Literature
    • Writing III: Rhetoric and Senior Thesis

Beginning in the summer following 10th grade (Prerequisite: Writing II skills):

  • Summer following 10th grade
    • Ancient History (abbreviated)
    • Ancient Literature (abbreviated)
  • 11th grade
    • Medieval History
    • Medieval Literature
    • Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Summer following 11th grade
    • United States History (abbreviated) – group class or by tutorial
    • United States Literature (abbreviated) – group class or by tutorial
    • Fine Arts
  • 12th grade
    • Modern History
    • Modern Literature
    • Writing III: Rhetoric and Senior Thesis