Quick Facts about St. John’s College

ABOUT ST. JOHN’S: St. John's is a coeducational, liberal arts college. It has no religious affiliation. 

BRIEF HISTORY: The college was founded in Annapolis, Maryland in 1696 as King William's School and chartered in 1784 as St. John's College. In 1937 it adopted a unified curriculum based on the study of great works in the humanities and sciences and premised on the belief that inquiry and discussion are at the heart of learning. A second campus dedicated to the same educational vision was opened in 1964 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1967 the Santa Fe campus added the college’s first graduate program: St. John’s Graduate Institute in Liberal Education now offers a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts on both campuses. Since 1992 the Graduate Institute in Santa Fe has also offered a Master of Arts in Eastern Classics. 


Undergraduate: B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degree.

GraduateM.A. degree — Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (both campuses) and Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (Santa Fe campus only)

UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM: All undergraduates follow an interdisciplinary curriculum in the humanities and sciences based on reading and discussing seminal works of western civilization. St. John’s students develop strong skills of critical analysis and collaborative inquiry by studying challenging texts and engaging in lively, small, discussion-based classes. They refine their ability to think, write, and speak across all disciplines through written assignments in all classes, as well as by writing substantial annual seminar essays and having oral examinations on them.

Seminar: 4 years — Seminar is considered the heart of the undergraduate curriculum. Students participate in far-reaching and free but disciplined conversations about major works of literature, philosophy, political theory, theology, history, economics, and psychology from Homer and the Greek historians, playwrights, and philosophers in the freshman year, through the Renaissance in the sophomore year and the Enlightenment in the junior year, to the contemporary world in the senior year. 

Mathematics: 4 years — Beginning with Euclid and Ptolemy in the freshman year and ending with Lobachevski and Einstein in the senior year, the mathematics tutorials take a reflective approach, focusing on proofs, logic, the nature of mathematical objects, and what it is we are doing when we do math. Over the four years, students move from geometry and astronomy, to algebra, calculus, and relativity.

Language: 4 years — Freshmen and sophomores study Ancient Greek, while upperclassmen study modern French. The aim is not to acquire fluent speaking abilities but subtle and robust translation skills, while also reflecting on questions of language itself. In addition to developing their understanding of Greek and French, students devote two semesters to English poetry and prose.

Laboratory: 3 years — Experiments and observations driven by the original scientists' research lead to conversations about natural phenomena and what can be known about the physical world. Over the three years of the laboratory curriculum, students study biology, chemistry, atomic theory, and physics.

Music: 2 years – Freshmen sing together in the Freshman Chorus, laying the groundwork for the exploration of the phenomena of music in the sophomore year, through a close study of musical theory and analysis of works of musical literature.


Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA): This is a four-term program. Students choose from five term-long segments: Philosophy & Theology, Politics & Society, Literature, Mathematics & Natural Science, and History. Students can start in any term, take the segments in various orders, and take time off between segments.

Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (MAEC): This is a three-term program. In addition to studying classics from the Indian, Chinese, and Japanese traditions in translation, all MAEC students study a language, either Chinese or Sanskrit. 


CLASS SIZE: Seminars have between 17 to 19 students, led by two faculty members. Tutorials (mathematics, language, and music) and laboratory sessions have 12 to 16 students, led by one faculty member.

St. John’s Annapolis is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, www.msche.org; St. John’s Santa Fe is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org. St. John’s College in Santa Fe also has State approval by the New Mexico Higher Education Department, www.hed.state.nm.us.

Students or prospective students who wish to view St. John’s College accreditation and State approval documentation may do so by contacting the President’s office and making an appointment.

Students or prospective students who wish to file a complaint related to accreditation may submit a formal complaint to Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools or the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools at their respective websites.

Students or prospective students who have filed a complaint with St. John’s College, using the procedures stated in the student handbook, but have been unable to resolve the complaint at the institutional level may submit a complaint to the appropriate St. John’s College state approval entity: 

LIBRARY FACILITIES: The libraries in Annapolis and Santa Fe contain over 100,000 and 60,000 volumes respectively. Each library houses a number of special collections, and each campus has a music library.

LOCATIONS: The 36-acre Annapolis campus is in the heart of the historic capital of Maryland, and near the Chesapeake Bay. The 250-acre Santa Fe campus in New Mexico lies 7,300 feet above sea-level in the nation’s oldest capital city. 

  • Annapolis 
— Population: 50,000; Nearest metropolitan areas: Washington, DC (32 miles), Baltimore (27 miles)
  • Santa Fe 
— Population: 62,000; Nearest metropolitan area: Albuquerque (57 miles)

STUDENT ENROLLMENT (undergraduate): Undergraduate student enrollment on each campus is typically between 450-475 students. Students come from all 50 states and about 20 different foreign countries. Our student body is currently about 45% female, 55% male. In the academic year 2013-2014, 13% of the student body identified themselves as Hispanic, Latino, Black, African-American, Asian, or multiracial; 6% chose not to identify with a racial or ethnic group; 11% of the student body identified themselves as international students.

SECOND CAMPUS OPTION: Any student in good academic standing may apply for transfer to the other campus for the upcoming academic year. The student must notify the Registrar’s Office of his or her intention to transfer by the third Monday in February of the previous year. Those students who wish to apply for financial aid must also file their new financial aid forms by March 1. All intercampus transfers must be approved by the deans of both campuses and may be restricted by limitations in various campus resources, such as available space and staffing.

INTERNSHIP AND SUMMER-STUDY OPPORTUNITIES: The Hodson Trust Internship Program in Annapolis and the Ariel Internship Program in Santa Fe provide funding for summer internships for undergraduate students. Students can apply for funding for otherwise unfunded internships, or design their own projects, working directly with mentors in their field. The Pathways Fellowships Program provides funding intended to enable St. John’s students to transition into graduate study or careers that call for special or prerequisite courses. 

RECREATION AND STUDENT LIFE: Both campuses offer extensive intramural sports programs and extracurricular art courses. Each campus has soundproof music practice rooms, an art gallery, and a music library. Major clubs and activities include musical ensembles, student intramurals, special interest groups, student government, a newspaper, a literary magazine, extracurricular study groups, religious groups, a committee dedicated to supporting and critiquing the academic program, and opportunities for community service. The Annapolis campus has easy access to water and students participate on intercollegiate teams in fencing, crew, croquet and sailing, while the Santa Fe campus offers martial arts and yoga along with outdoor activities such as rafting, skiing, and rock climbing.

RESIDENCE HALLS (undergraduate): Annapolis students live in eight dormitories: six historic buildings are arranged around a central quad; two modern dormitories face College Creek. Santa Fe dormitories are small modern units, clustered around central courtyards. About 82 percent of the students live on campus. Freshmen are guaranteed a room on campus. Dormitories are coed by floor. There are no fraternities or sororities.

ADMISSIONS (undergraduate): Applicants are expected to have pursued a college preparatory course of study, including substantial sequences in mathematics, foreign languages, and the physical sciences. Requirements include a short set of reflective essays, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts of all academic work. The GED is accepted. SAT or ACT scores are optional, but applicants are encouraged to submit them. Interviews and campus visits are recommended.

Prospective students may apply through the Common Application, online, or with a paper application.

See Deadlines in the Admissions undergraduate section.

SAT Scores of Freshmen

For the class enrolling in August 2014:

SAT:  Middle 50% of our enrolling students had SAT scores from: Critical Reading: 630 to 750,  Math: 570 to 730, with 55% of applicants reporting

ACT:  The middle 50% of our enrolling students had an ACT Composite Scores from 26 to 31, with 28% of applicants reporting.

FEES: For the Current Academic Year
See Tuition & Fees in the Financial Aid section.

FINANCIAL AID (undergraduate): The college offers need-based and merit financial aid awards. About 92% of students receive some form of assistance, and about 89% receive grant aid from the college in addition to loans, jobs, and grants under federal programs. 

Average Total Aid Package - $38,219

Average Loan - $6,355 ($3,500 freshman, $4,500 sophomore, $5,500 junior & senior)

Average Grant Assistance - $30,344 (college, federal, and state) 

Work Expectation - $2,600

Percent need met through grant aid - 79%

Percent need met through loans/jobs - 21%

STUDENT OUTCOMES: Additional information including student outcomes may be found on the College Navigator page.