St. John's College - Graduate Institute

    Emily H. Brooker Langston, Associate Dean for the Graduate Program, Annapolis
    Ryan Johnson, Associate Director, Graduate Admissions, Annapolis
    David McDonald, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Santa Fe
    Susan Olmsted, Associate Director, Graduate Admissions, Santa Fe

    Dedicated to Liberal Education
    St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, is a small, non-denominational liberal arts college. Its Graduate Institute is a community committed to the principles of liberal education: an education that seeks to develop in us the arts of understanding, an intelligent and critical appreciation of our intellectual heritage, an awareness of our social and moral obligations, and a lifelong commitment to thoughtful inquiry into fundamental human questions. The program of study is based on the belief that such an education requires the study of great books because they express most originally and most deeply the ideas that have shaped our civilization. Through active discussion in small classes, students clarify these ideas, analyze supporting arguments, and test their own conclusions. Such an education aims to enable students to make intelligent, free choices concerning the ends and means of both public and private life.

    Join A Diverse Student Body
    St. John's students include primary and secondary school teachers, former armed forces personnel, recent college graduates with a wide variety of majors, and mid-career or retired professionals, including business executives, attorneys, physicians, and writers. Their common characteristic is a desire to rekindle their passion for serious reading and inquiry. They seek to develop more fully their faculties of intelligence and imagination by actively engaging with the timeless and timely claims of authors such as Plato, Homer, Euclid, Descartes, Shakespeare, Darwin, and Hegel. A common curriculum provides the basis for a shared intellectual community; discussion with fellow students and faculty is the mode of learning both inside and outside the classroom.

    Structured for Exploration
    The graduate program consists of five segments: Politics & Society, Philosophy & Theology, Literature, Mathematics & Natural Science, and History. These divisions reflect practical considerations regarding flexibility of enrollment rather than any assumption about the validity of the categories of knowledge embodied in the usual academic departments. There are no departments at St. John’s. The aim of all the classes is the same: to explore the most important questions facing us as heirs of the Western tradition. In the process, students have the opportunity not only to appreciate the interdisciplinary breadth of the issues raised by the readings, but also to refine their own interests in those cases where they plan to continue more specialized studies later on.

    Flexibility to Fit Your Life
    Students must complete four of the five segments to earn a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. Classes, consisting of seminar, tutorial, and preceptorial formats, meet in the late afternoon and evening during the fall and spring terms to accommodate those who work part time or full time. An intensive summer term is also offered. A number of options provide for flexibility: students may begin the program in the fall, spring, or summer term, may take the segments in a number of different sequences, and may take time off between segments. Preceptorial classes introduce additional flexibility, providing selections of topics each term, and supplementing the fixed curriculum with additional readings. Students admitted to the Annapolis campus may attend the Santa Fe campus for one or more of the segments.

    Financial Aid
    Financial aid for the Graduate Institute is need-based, with grants generally covering up to one-half the cost of tuition for those who qualify. While current students come from all walks of life, the Graduate Institute was originally designed particularly for teachers and seeks to preserve a significant commitment to their education. The Graduate Institute therefore offers special consideration for teachers in the packaging of financial aid.

    A Community of Learning
    The Graduate Institute is an integral part of a larger community of similarly committed undergraduates and alumni, who, along with local friends of the college, build on their shared interests to enrich the experiences and opportunities available here. Formal classroom programs are supplemented by informal study groups that greatly extend the range of texts students and faculty are able to engage together; intramural sports programs, community chorus and orchestra, art exhibitions, concerts, and a Friday Lecture series further supplement the academic core of the program, while fostering the social aspects of the community.


    M.A.: Liberal Arts (Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses)

    M.A.: Eastern Classics (Santa Fe campus only)

    DUAL DEGREE: J.D./M.A. with the University of Maryland School of Law (Annapolis Only)

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