1819-1860 Courses

The Western University of Pennsylvania organized a seven-year course of study divided into two parts: the classical, comprising four years of study, and the collegiate, accessible after the student passed the required examinations. In their first year, students studied grammar, Greek, Latin, and English; in the second, biography, the Old and New Testaments, mythology and geography; in the third, rhetoric, belles lettres and the history of “England and modern days”; and, in the fourth, belles lettres and English composition, Ovid, Vergil, the Greek poets and the “writings of English and American orators and poets.”

In the more advanced collegiate curriculum (four parts over three years), first-year students studied Cicero, Demosthenes, Xenophon, Vergil, Lucian, Homer and Horace, as well as geometry, trigonometry and surveying, the latter “laying the foundation for higher mathematics.” In the second and third years, courses included “intensified reading in classic authors,” declamation in ancient and modern languages, English composition and belles-lettres, and readings in English literature.