Welcome to the St. John’s College Graduate Institute



The Graduate Institute (GI) offers master’s programs for students of all ages who hold bachelor’s degrees and wish to pursue the fundamental questions of the human experience. What can encountering history’s greatest minds teach us about our world and ourselves? The road to that discovery is wide open, as boundless as imagination.

At St. John’s College, we read the original works of thinkers like Plato, Lucretius, Euclid, Descartes, Shakespeare, and Nietzsche in our Western Liberal Arts program, and such works as the Bhagavadgita, the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching, and Kalidasa in our Eastern Classics program. We read these works together in small seminar-style groups, not to learn about the books and their authors but to learn from them. Our students come to deeply grasp the foundations of the modern world while simultaneously becoming more intellectually nimble and creative in their approach to new ideas.

Program Structure

There are no lecture classes at St. John’s. All classes are conversations because everyone at the table has something valuable to contribute. We rely on original works rather than textbooks because engaging with other people’s thoughts is more useful than stuffing ourselves with facts. Instead of taking exams, you meet one-on-one with faculty members—whom we call tutors—to talk at length and depth about ideas of particular interest that have come up in the readings and larger class discussions.

The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA) program, offered at the Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses, is a four-term program in which you read and discuss classic works of the Western tradition, choosing from five term-long thematic segments: Philosophy & Theology, Politics & Society, Literature, Mathematics & Natural Science, and History. Because the MALA program is divided into segments, you can start in any term, take the segments in several orders, and take time off between segments. In Annapolis, MALA students have the opportunity to take a Greek language preceptorial. The Santa Fe campus offers an intensive eight-week Summer Greek Institute.

All MALA classes meet twice a week during the fall and spring terms, in the late afternoons and evenings. Classes meet twice as often during the summer. An optional master’s essay may be written by students who have completed at least two terms.

The Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (MAEC) program, only offered at the Santa Fe campus, is a three-term program in which you read and discuss literary, philosophical, and theological classics from the Indian, Chinese, and Japanese traditions. All MAEC students begin their studies in the fall term, continue in the spring, and complete the program in the summer. To develop a basic grasp of how ideas are expressed in the original languages of the Eastern tradition, all MAEC students choose to study either Chinese or Sanskrit.

MAEC students are in class four days a week in the spring and fall, and three days a week in the summer

Why Faculty are Called Tutors

St. John’s faculty members are referred to as tutors rather than professors to signify that it isn’t their chief role to profess or lecture—but to guide students through the program of study. Most hold doctorates in particular fields, but all teach across the curriculum. Tutors shape discussion by asking questions, supplying examples, and encouraging students to explore the implications of their own statements. You work your way through difficult texts and ideas with the support of tutors, but you ultimately arrive at the answers for yourself.


The St. John’s Graduate Institute was founded in 1967 at the Santa Fe campus and now flourishes as well in Annapolis. The Master of Arts in Eastern Classics program was established in 1994. St. John’s College, founded in Maryland in 1696 as King William’s School, is a community of learning dedicated to offering the very best in liberal education. Graduate Institute students become lifetime members of the St. John’s College community and can take part in study groups, formal and informal lectures, and other aspects of the life of the mind that our community cultivates and protects.

For more information about the program(s) on either campus, contact:

Santa Fe

The Graduate Institute in Liberal Education
Susan Olmsted, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
St. John's College
1160 Camino Cruz Blanca
Santa Fe, NM 87505-4599
Phone: 505-984-6083 | Fax: 505-984-6064


The Graduate Institute in Liberal Education
W. Thomas Crouse, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
St. John's College
60 College Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-626-2541 | Fax: 410-626-2880