Master of Arts in Eastern Classics

Santa Fe Campus

“If you allow your mind to guide you, who then can be seen as being without a teacher?” (The Book of Chuang Tzu) 

In classes that seriously and systematically approach original texts entirely though discussions, students encounter the great works that are central to the philosophical, literary and religious traditions of China, India, and Japan. Students and faculty alike examine the text’s most vital questions—questions that are fundamental to both Eastern thoughts and human nature.


The program consists of three main sections, taken concurrently: the seminar, the preceptorial, and the language tutorial. The seminar, which includes 17-21 students, begins with the texts of classical China, followed by texts from India. The seminar explores the migration of Buddhism from India to China and Japan and concludes with Japanese literature in the summer term. 

The ambitious reach of the seminar is complemented by smaller classes called preceptorials. A small group of students study a single work or theme for an eight-week period, and as each class builds upon the themes addressed in the one before, the preceptorial allows for an especially rich learning experience. 

In the language tutorial students undertake an intensive study of either Sanskrit or Classical Chinese. The goal is not mastery. This study enables students to gain sufficient familiarity with the elements of the language to be able to translate selected short passages from classical texts. Students often report that the language tutorial, while being the most difficult part of their studies, is also the most rewarding. 

The course of study in the Eastern Classics Program consists of 34 credit hours, completed in one calendar year, beginning in the fall and concluding in the summer. It is offered only on the Santa Fe campus. Classes meet in late afternoons and evening to accommodate students who work part-time, but due to the intensive nature of the program, full-time work is not encouraged. 

For additional information, please read the following article published by R.J. Stollar on the difference between his experience in the Eastern Classics Program at St. John's College Santa Fe, and another Great Books college: Chasing After Windmills: A Response to Charley Dewberry’s “Not All Great Books Colleges Are Alike.

We welcome your interest and questions regarding the Eastern Classics Program and we would gladly answer any questions you may have. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions in Santa Fe for more information:


Graduate Institute in Liberal Education


St. John's College
1160 Camino Cruz Blanca
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505-4599
Phone: 505-984-6083
Fax 505-984-6064
E-mail: SantaFe.GIAdmissions(at)