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Graduate Program Frequently Asked Questions

Information and FAQ

Below are answers to Frequently Asked Questions. If your question is not on this list, we invite you contact us at the Graduate Institute Office.

Can I work while I attend the Graduate Institute?

The Liberal Arts program has been designed to accommodate working adults. All classes during the fall and spring semesters are scheduled on two evenings per week. Some students do find it difficult to balance the requirements of the program with demanding full-time work, and prefer to make some adjustment to their work schedule, either to part-time or to flex-time. Students in the Eastern Classics program have more class meetings per week, and full-time work is not recommended.

Where can I find more information about housing?

Housing in Annapolis

On-Campus Housing is available only during the summer semester in Annapolis. Incoming and current Annapolis students may contact the Graduate Institute office for a copy of recent postings on the Housing & Rides bulletin board in the Barr-Buchanan Center on the Annapolis campus. We also suggest the usual websites such as, to be used with caution and common sense. Students might also consult the Capital Gazette Real Estate page, our Facebook page, and the Graduate Council page.

Housing in Santa Fe

On campus housing is now available to graduate students year round. Many graduate students prefer to live off campus in apartments, condominiums, and private rental homes. Affordable housing in Santa Fe can always be located. The office of Graduate Admissions will prepare and disseminate a monthly housing email that provides rental listings as well as roommate and house-share opportunities. Often new students can arrange house shares with other new students through the housing email and reduce their housing costs substantially. Additionally, we recommend that incoming students pay attention to postings on Santa Fe Craigslist, the Santa Fe New Mexican, and the Santa Fe Reporter.

To learn more about the dorms and the housing email list, contact santafe.giadmissions(at) Also, feel free to check out our Facebook Group to see the latest housing leads and network with other students over house-share opportunities.

Do I need to be considering further graduate study to attend the Graduate Institute?

Although some students who attend the Graduate Institute are considering further graduate or professional study, and although the college is pleased with the recognition that its graduate programs have gained in university circles, the primary intention of the Graduate Institute is not to prepare students for scholarly work. Our students—recent college graduates, teachers, executives, writers, professionals, retirees—come from diverse walks of life and are united by a common desire to deepen their understanding of themselves and their world by reading, pondering, and discussing classic texts, regardless of their subsequent plans.

Do I need to complete the program in consecutive semesters?

Students in the Liberal Arts program must complete four of the five segments offered. They may do so by starting in any semester, and following a number of patterns. Many students attend fall and spring semesters for two years. Others pursue the "fast track" of four consecutive semesters, e.g., summer, fall, spring, summer. Many primary and secondary school teachers attend only during the summers, completing the program over four years. In Eastern Classics, the program sequence is fixed, and students normally enroll for three consecutive semesters: fall, spring, summer.

Is it possible to study a foreign language in the Graduate Institute?

While the Liberal Arts program does not require the study of a foreign language, both campuses make it possible for students to study ancient Greek while enrolled. In Annapolis, a Greek language preceptorial and a follow-up translation preceptorial are regularly offered. In Santa Fe, interested students may participate in the ongoing, non-credit study group or summer Greek Language Institute. The Eastern Classics program requires the study of either Sanskrit or Classical Chinese.

What if I am not good at math and science? Can I still get through the Liberal Arts program?

At St. John’s College mathematics and natural science are regarded as liberal arts that are capable of being understood and questioned by any inquiring mind. For more than 60 years we have been using classic texts to make mathematics and science accessible to non-specialists. Many Graduate Institute students who begin with a fear of math find their tutorial in Euclid and Lobachevsky to be one of their most rewarding experiences.

May I attend both the Liberal Arts program and the Eastern Classics program?

Yes. Each year a few students choose to enter one program after having completed the other. These students wish to explore how questions they have grappled with in one tradition—for example, questions about knowledge, justice, eternity, or wisdom—are dealt with in other traditions.

I will be returning to school after years of doing other things. Will it be difficult to get back to being a student again?

Although it may take time to reclaim the habits of study they once had, many mid-career and non-traditional students find that their greater maturity and experience enhance the excitement and depth of their learning and that their anxieties are soon forgotten.

Do you accept students who have a criminal history?

Consistent with the Maryland Fair Access to Education Act, criminal history does not disqualify an applicant from admission to St. John’s College.