Abbey Premier Scholarship
Education for Virtue
The Saint Thomas More Scholarship Program aims to enrich the academic experience of morally serious, civically-minded, talented students interested in using their broad liberal arts education to engage in the vital moral, ethical and political affairs of the time with courage and wisdom.
The program is a part of Belmont Abbey College’s overall mission to provide an excellent education for the whole person. Designed for students interested in civic and community engagement, and the public exercise of moral courage, the program seeks to complement a student’s education at the Abbey by providing:
- one seminar-style class each year focused on the close study of seminal texts and ideas of the Western intellectual tradition that have influenced and shaped a Christian Humanist defense of the permanent things across the centuries;
- at least 1 Credit Hour Internship, Moot Court, Model UN, or Debate experience;
- the opportunity to participate in a range of stimulating extracurricular activities throughout the academic year, including conferences, social gatherings, hiking, reading groups, and cultural events, with the aim of enhancing the characteristics of fellowship and conversation among our community of scholars.
The program takes inspiration from the life and thought of the great Saint Thomas More. Through a broad classical education in the liberal arts, a resilient character, and a life of prudence informed by faith, Thomas More exemplified the Renaissance tradition of bringing classical learning to bear on political life. In keeping with More’s example, our program seeks young men and women who are themselves looking for a “Renaissance” education that integrates faith, learning, and moral courage, and that promotes the development of virtue and wisdom.
Minimum non-weighted high school grade point average of 3.5 or higher.
Renewable for up to four years. Students must be full-time and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.
A Message from the Director
Watch this video to learn more about the St. Thomas More Scholarship Program from Dr. Ian Crowe, Director of the St. Thomas More Scholarship Program.
About the Experience
Strong students interested in pursuing any academic major offered at Belmont Abbey College may become Thomas More Scholars. Applicants should be keenly interested in taking the four Saint Thomas More seminars and participating in the program activities. Applicants must have a non-weighted high school grade point average of 3.5 or higher and a combined verbal and math (not including the Essay portion of the examination) SAT or ACT equivalent score of 1100. All Thomas More Scholars must reside on campus. Interested applicants should complete the Thomas More Scholarship application in full, and participate in a scholarship interview (as part of the Scholarship Weekend experience).
One Thomas More Seminar per Year (3 credits per year)
In addition to taking their usual schedule of courses at the Abbey, including the core curriculum, students in the Saint Thomas More Scholarship Program take one seminar each spring that focuses on the close reading and discussion of the great books of Western Civilization. Over the course of four years, scholars will draw upon texts from the Greeks to the modern world that shaped the intellectual environment of Thomas More and his contemporaries and that continue to influence our understanding of the meaning of liberty, conscience, and civic duty today.
Year 1 Seminar – Greek Intellectual Tradition
Study and discussion of foundational Greek texts in history, philosophy, and literature.
Authors: Homer, Plato, Thucydides, Aristotle, and Aristophanes
Year 2 Seminar – Roman Intellectual Tradition
Study and discussion of foundational Roman texts in history, philosophy, and literature.
Authors: Virgil, Eutropius, Horace, Appian, Sallust, Cicero, Lucian, and Plutarch
Year 3 Seminar – Medieval Intellectual Tradition
Study and discussion of foundational Medieval texts in history, philosophy, and literature.
Authors: Boethius, St. Augustine, Dante, St. Thomas, Marsilius of Padua, Erasmus, Sir Thomas More, Machiavelli, and Chaucer
Year 4 Seminar – Modern Intellectual Tradition
Study and discussion of foundational Modern texts in history, philosophy, and literature.
Authors: Jane Austen, Tocqueville, Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot, Josef Pieper, Richard Weaver, and Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)
1 Credit Hour Internship, Moot Court, Model UN, or Debate.
Each year students attend a live conversation among invited guests and faculty members on a theme related to the distinctive mission of the Saint Thomas More Scholarship Program.
More Program Salon
Each year members of the program are invited to read and discuss one book outside of class. The selected text will be one not studied in the More Seminars or the Abbey core. This text provides the basis for a cross-cohort reading group [salon] where students and faculty discuss the work in an informal atmosphere. Our most recent selection was The Children of Men, by P.D. James.
Each Spring, a guest speaker delivers our Saint Thomas More Lecture on campus on a theme related to the distinctive mission of the program. As with the Fall Seminar, attendance at this event is required for Saint Thomas More scholars.
Culture & Coffee Evening
Once during the academic year, Saint Thomas More scholars are invited to visit a site of particular cultural interest in Charlotte or the surrounding area, and to join in company and conversation afterwards at a local coffee house.
Other Cultural and Extracurricular Activities
Students in the program will also have the opportunity to attend annual lectures and cultural events, to participate in discussion groups and outdoor activities with the director and faculty members, and to enjoy social gatherings on campus.
Debate Society and Internship Opportunities
A central feature of the Saint Thomas More Scholarship Program is the opportunity scholars have to get involved in debating competitions and internship programs available through Belmont Abbey College. In their junior or senior years, each Saint Thomas More scholar is required to select either a semester with one of the college’s debating teams or to work in an internship position and to contribute to a short, half-day internship workshop to share experiences with other students before graduation.
“I die the King’s good servant, and God’s first.” –Saint Thomas More
Discover your potential
The education at Belmont Abbey College gets so far down into the soul, that you discover who you are. There’s something very important about the education here — pursuing those most human things in us, cultivating our intellectual capacities — that we end up finding and discovering ourselves, in a way that is very unique to the college experience.
ELISA TORRES 2017
Thomas More Scholar, Theology