Learning at St. John's

Students and faculty member discussing the Great Books across the liberal arts at St. John's College

A Liberal Arts Education

A true liberal arts college, St. John’s College is first and foremost a community of learning. At its heart is a liberal arts curriculum that is conceived as a coherent program of study, which immerses students in reading great books and in lively and unmediated conversation with one another and with the books themselves. Every part of the program aims to raise essential questions that give rise to sustained and thoughtful discussion and inquiry. The more comprehensive perspective of the seminar is balanced and supported by the more detailed work and technical activities of the tutorials: in these classes, students study language, mathematics, science, and music. Through active involvement in all aspects of their learning, students at St. John’s College discover that the books they study speak not only to one another, but directly and importantly to us and to contemporary concerns.


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The Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate program at St. John’s is designed to foster the collegiality, conversation, and friendship that allow students to develop the intellectual strengths on which true freedom of mind depends. All undergraduates share in a common, four-year, rigorous liberal arts curriculum that calls on them to activate their powers of reasoning and invention to the fullest extent.

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The Graduate Institute

Both the Annapolis and the Santa Fe campuses of St. John’s offer a four-semester Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA) program; the Santa Fe campus also offers a three-semester Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (MAEC) program. These programs seek to promote a critical understanding of our intellectual heritage and to foster serious inquiry through the study of great books. They aim to deepen and focus established habits of learning and to supplement modes of specialized or professional learning.


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“To read [is] an act of creation in which no one can do our work for us..."
—Proust