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Master of Arts in Liberal Arts

The aim of the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts is to help students formulate and respond to fundamental questions about themselves and their world by reading and discussing with others the great books of the Western tradition. Whether you are right out of college, concluding a successful career, or somewhere in the middle, this program welcomes sustained engagement, reflection, and interaction with a community of enthusiastic peers.

About the Program

Students at St. John’s encounter the great books through intense reading and discussion.

What We Read

From Plato to Nietzsche, portions of the Bible to David Hume, the curriculum at the Graduate Institute is wide-ranging and varied. View what you will read.

Liberal Arts Curriculum

The readings are organized into five segments: Literature, Politics & Society, Philosophy & Theology, Mathematics & Natural Science, and History. Students must complete four of the five segments—36 semester credit hours—to earn the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. Students may attend either campus, Annapolis or Santa Fe. Schedule a visit.

Small, Discussion-Based Classes

All classes are 20 or fewer students in order to nurture a collaborative learning environment, creating space for every voice around the table to listen and be heard. Each semester contains three classes.

Seminar

The heart of the curriculum is the seminar, in which a group of students engages in a discussion initiated by a tutor’s opening question about the assigned reading. From Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in Literature to Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War in History to the Gospel of John in Philosophy & Theology, the seminar spans the Western tradition.

Tutorial

In the tutorial, students focus more intensively on smaller assignments, from mathematical proofs to short literary texts to dense arguments of philosophy or political theory. The tutorial interacts with and enhances the reading in the seminar. In the Politics & Society segment, for instance, students will read Hobbes’s Leviathan alongside their seminar reading of Aristotle’s Politics. The two classes together allow for deep and meaningful reflection on these books.

Preceptorial

The preceptorial engages in the study of a single book or topic and requires students to write a substantial paper. Preceptorial topics range from a close and sustained reading of a Platonic dialogue to an examination of a Dostoevsky novel to the study and translation of ancient Greek. They are designed to complement the work in the seminar and tutorial.

Request Information

Do you have a question about the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts? Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions in Annapolis or Santa Fe.

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