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Kansas State University
122 Anderson Hall
Manhattan, KS  66506


785-532-6108 fax

DAS 300: The Great Conversation – Primary Texts Core Course

Primary Text Flyer (PDF)

  • each Fall in class
  • each Spring Online
  • 3 credit hrs
  • Multiple Instructors

(The Division of Continuing Education will list the Spring Online Course soon)

Course Information

The Primary Texts program invites new and transfer students to "The Great Conversation." Students not in the program can take this course, and it is the required core course for students in the program - take the class and decide whether you want to complete the Certificate!

This course provides students with the intellectual equipment needed to access primary texts throughout the curriculum in Arts and Sciences, including instruction on techniques of careful reading of complex and multidimensional works. Students will come away with a better ability to read and appreciate the significance of primary texts they will encounter in other classes and throughout their lives. This course counts for Honors credit for honors students, "Western Heritage" and "General Education".

Participating Instructors

  • Dr. Laurie Johnson, Lead Instructor, Political Science
  • Dr. Michael Donnelly, English
  • Dr. Marsha Frey, History
  • Dr. Jim Franke, Political Science
  • Dr. Chris Sorensen, Physics

Read selections from texts such as

  • Aristotle, selections from Ethics and Politics
  • Burke, Letters on the Regicide Peace
  • Chaucer, "The Knight's Tale", from The Tales of Canterbury
  • Copernicus, de Revolutionibus
  • Darwin, Descent of Man
  • Federalist 10, 51
  • Galileo, Dialogues and The Siderial Messenger
  • Hawking, The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants
  • Homer, selections from the Iliad and Odyssey
  • Newton, Principia

See the syllabus and program information. For more information, contact Dr. Laurie Johnson,

Requirements for the Primary Texts Certificate

  • The Certificate is an 18 hour program of study which students can tailor to their interests and needs.
  • Students enrolling in the program must take the core course, DAS 300: The Great Conversation, as part of these 18 hours, preferably near the beginning of their participation in the program.
  • Selected courses must cover at least two disciplines.
  • At least nine hours must be at the 400 level or above.
  • Students must submit a capstone essay to complete the program.
  • At least half the courses (9 hours) must be completed at K-State. Transfer courses that can be documented to have substantial primary texts content may be accepted for the program.
  • Students must have a minimum of 2.75 GPA in the program at the time they graduate.

To receive credit toward the certificate, students must register for the program by contacting Dr. Laurie Johnson, Director, Primary Texts Certificate (, 532-0441).