Liberal Arts Education Certificate

Teacher education and professional development have been central to the mission of the Graduate Institute of St. John’s College since our founding more than 50 years ago as the “Teachers Institute for Liberal Education.”

Earn a Liberal Arts Education Certificate in Two Semesters on Campus or Online

Our unique program based on reading and discussing the classics has led many teachers to join us around the seminar table; however, we often hear that teachers find it difficult to set aside the four semesters needed to earn the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. In order to make St. John’s education more easily available to all teachers, the Graduate Institute offers an accredited two-semester Liberal Arts Education Certificate. Students will complete the certificate over two summer semesters, either at one or both campuses, or online. In Maryland, the certificate is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Maryland Higher Education Commission. In New Mexico, the certificate is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Credit Hours and Schedule Options

Total number of classes needed = 6 classes

Total credit hours needed = 18 credit hours

Full Time

  • 3 classes per semester (9 credit hours)
  • Complete the program in 2 semesters
  • Can start any semester (fall, spring, summer – but must take one pedagogy course during the summer)

Part Time

  • 1–2 classes per semester (3–6 credit hours)
  • Complete the program in 3–6 semesters
  • Can start any semester (fall, spring, summer—but must take one pedagogy course during the summer)

(Note: Class Schedules in person and online vary so please discuss schedule options with the Graduate Institute)

Complete Your Certificate on Campus or Online

Students can also complete our certificate program online through our low residency option. They will experience a deeply personal education rooted in the St. John’s tradition of great books and thoughtful exploration alongside their fellow students and our experienced tutors, from anywhere in the world. There are no prerecorded lessons, no lectures, no asynchronous instruction, and no overenrolled classes.

While all your coursework can be completed online, our low residency programs also include two required on-campus weekend residencies. Contact Graduate Admissions (gradadmissions(at) for more information.

You can also schedule an online conversation with program leadership or book a class observation.


Teachers enrolled in the Liberal Arts Education Certificate program will participate in classes along with other St. John’s graduate students, reading and discussing foundational texts of the western tradition.

Topic areas offered to certificate students include:

  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Politics and Society
  • Literature
  • Mathematics and Natural Science

In addition to subject-area classes, students each summer will enroll in one “preceptorial.” For one summer, the preceptorial class for certificate students will be devoted to reading and discussing classic works about pedagogy and education. Students in this preceptorial will also have the opportunity to practice and receive feedback as they lead discussions for one another. For the other summer, the student may choose from among the preceptorials being offered, either a class centered on the close reading of a classic text, or introductory Latin.


Teachers completing the two-summer Liberal Arts Education Certificate degree will receive 18 hours of transferable graduate-level credit. They may also return to finish the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree by completing two additional semesters of study any time within eight years of enrolling in the program.


For a complete picture of Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid visit the financial aid webpage. As part of our commitment to educators, the Graduate Institute will make significant financial aid—including some full-tuition fellowships—available to teachers enrolled in this program.


We welcome applications from teachers interested in being a part of the Liberal Arts Education Certificate program. Admission is available on a rolling basis.

Applicants should complete the regular application for the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree, indicating on the application interest in the program.