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The Liberal Arts

St. John’s has one academic program: reading and discussing the great books of Western civilization. Alongside names such as Plato, Shakespeare, Euclid, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Austen, Johnnies wrestle with ideas in interdisciplinary classes with fewer than 20 students. The shared academic experience includes no required lectures, majors, or back rows. Johnnies are original and unconventional, love big questions and discussion, and debate the thinkers, authors, scientists, philosophers, musicians, mathematicians, politicians, and more who changed our world.

Explore the Academic Program

St. John’s Academic Program Glossary
Tutor Faculty at St. John’s are called "tutors." Professors "profess," but at St. John’s the faculty facilitate conversation in the classroom.
Seminar The heart of the academic program, seminar meets Mondays and Thursdays in the evenings. In seminar, Johnnies discuss interdisciplinary texts from across the curriculum with two tutors and fewer than 21 students.
Tutorial Tutorials focus on three disciplines: mathematics, language, and music. There are four years of mathematics, two years of ancient Greek, two years of French, and two years of music.
Laboratory For three years, students study the sciences in a hands-on laboratory. The sciences at St. John’s include biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and genetics. The laboratory work is still rooted in original texts, reading (and recreating) the theories and experiments of people like Archimedes, Newton, and Einstein.
Lecture Every Friday evening students are encouraged to attend a lecture. This is the only lecture in the St. John’s curriculum.
Preceptorial For seven weeks in junior and senior years, seminar is suspended so that students may choose elective classes called preceptorials.
Don Rag Instead of receiving grades, Johnnies meet with their tutors at a "Don Rag" to receive an oral report of their progress.