Community Seminars at St. John's College
Great Books – Great Minds – Great Discussions
St. John’s College invites communities to awaken their intellect by engaging in mindful exploration. Modeled after the college’s distinctive undergraduate curriculum, the discussion-based classes provide a joyful path to enrichment.
What is a St. John's seminar?
St. John’s community seminars explore fundamental questions of the human condition through open discussion of great, timeless texts. Moderated by faculty members, called tutors, participants build dialogue together as they share their love of wisdom. No previous knowledge of author, text, or subject is needed. The seminar is exploratory.
Some find their seminars form a small, friendly republic, or seem at their best to be making music together, as if an American jazz improvisation group. Conversation rises to pursue the timeless questions of the good, the true, and the beautiful, inclusive of all views and free from rigidity, dogma, or doctrine.
We offer a range of seminars:
- A Year of Classics: Once-a-month seminars from September–May, meeting for 90 minutes in-person or online;
- Summer Classics: Weeklong seminars in July, meeting Monday–Friday for two hours a day on the St. John’s College campus in Santa Fe, NM or online.
- Winter Classics: Online weeklong seminars in January, meeting Monday–Friday for two hours a day.
You are invited to join us for as many of these seminars as you wish and as your schedule permits. You need not have a previous connection with St. John’s College, although those who do are wholeheartedly welcome.
Summer seminars and in-depth programs are open to the public and provide lifelong learners opportunities to study the great books with St. John’s College tutors. Online and in-person seminars are available to read and discuss great books.Learn more about Summer Classics
This winter, read and discuss great books—online—no travel required. From the Ancient to the Modern, the Theatric to the Philosophic—the choices of seminars are as varied as the human intellect.Learn about Winter Classics
A Year of Classics
Explore a single theme through a variety of readings. Sessions available online and in the Annapolis area.Discover a Year of Classics
The Teachers Institute
Our Teachers Institute provides opportunities for educators to read great books, experience the collaborative discussion-based learning at St. John’s, and exchange ideas with a network of educators who value the life of the mind as much as you.Learn about the Teachers Institute
The Role of the Tutor
At St. John’s, members of the faculty are called tutors. A tutor opens the seminar conversation by asking a question based on the reading. From then on, the tutor keeps the conversation moving, clarifies issues when necessary, and raises questions helpful to the conversation.
The Size of the Seminar
Seminars are made up of 12 to 18 participants, including one or two tutors.
How to Prepare
Read the assigned text in advance. No previous knowledge of the subject or author is required. Outside research is not expected. It is your own ideas that are important in the seminar. If you have time to reread the text, you will find that more ideas present themselves and that ideas from your first reading become clearer.
A 75 percent refund is provided should you cancel by the deadline stated for each program and no refund is available after the deadline.
Please see the seminar program page for more details on policies.
Should we need to postpone a seminar, you will be notified by email and the seminar will be rescheduled.
We reserve the right to cancel a seminar due to low enrollment.