Leaders of tomorrow: The St. John’s College Liberal Arts Experience

Leaders of tomorrow: The St. John’s College Liberal Arts Experience
Image courtesy of St. John's College

The written word has always been one of the most powerful tools for communicating concepts, ideas, cultures and philosophies. Books are creative tools that broaden our horizons, provide new perspectives and open our minds to brand new possibilities. As Alan Bennett once said, “A book is a device to ignite the imagination,” and with world-class schools such as St. John’s College placing increasing emphasis on the value of global literature, it’s not surprising that St. Johns’ cultured alumni go on thrive at prestigious graduate schools, or to forge wildly successful, meaningful careers.

These valuable beliefs that are held dear to the heart of all at St. John’s College, which is why their liberal arts program is regarded as one of the top academic programs in the country. By stating on their website, ‘great books and great discussions are the heart of the college’s distinctive liberal arts program’, it clearly speaks volumes about the importance of reading and how it shapes students to become the future leaders of the world.

As a St. John’s student, or ‘Johnnie’ as they are more commonly known, you’ll learn to reason effectively and think creatively. “Johnnies are here for the unique education and the belief that we are continuing a conversation that has been going on for thousands of years,” says Robert George, Journalist, Editorial Board Member, New York Daily News.

If you believe you share similar values to those of St. John’s, read on to find out how you can become part of this fantastic, inclusive community…

Why study at St. John’s College?

The Undergraduate Program

The college offers a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary curriculum focused on the important books and ideas of Western civilization. Classes are conducted seminar-style, with faculty staff facilitating the discussion. There are several areas of study that include philosophy, literature, history, political theory, theology, mathematics, economics, biology, physics, chemistry, languages, and music.

The humanities, sciences, and arts curriculum offers four years of literature and philosophy that focuses on discussion about great works and ideas. For example, students translate selected texts in Ancient Greek and French, while learning about the nuances of important texts and examining their deeper meaning.

During these four years, there will be language tutorials and foreign language studies (three semesters of Greek and French, and two semesters of English prose and poetry). In addition, you will study the work of great composers like Bach, Mozart, and Wagner by way of sight singing and music theory.

Students are also required to study laboratory science and mathematics. You’ll get to read texts of renowned scientist and mathematicians, and recreate the same experiments and math exercises these masters pioneered. The process happens collaboratively to ensure students learn, analyze, understand, and master complex concepts.

The Graduate School

Students interested in developing their expertise and understanding of the liberal arts can apply to the institution’s world-class Master’s degree program. St. John’s College offers two Master’s degrees: the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Master of Arts in Eastern Classics.

Master of Arts in Liberal ArtsA master’s degree in liberal arts help students formulate and respond to fundamental questions about themselves and the world around them via reading and discussing great books of the Western tradition. From Plato Nietzsche and the Bible, up to David Hume, the curriculum at the Graduate Institute is varied and wide-ranging.

Master of Arts in Eastern Classics (MAEC)Read and learn about the original texts of philosophical, literary and religious traditions in China, India, and Japan. Faculty and students examine  the most vital questions of each text, which they find are fundamental to both Eastern thought and human nature. Your readings throughout the year will include Confucius, Bhagavad Gita, and The Tale of the Heike, just to name a few.

Alumni leaders in their fields

Although St. John’s College provides tertiary education in the liberal arts, their interdisciplinary program allows graduates to find success in diverse fields, from conventional mainstays to cutting-edge, innovative fields. Johnnies thrive in many areas including education, arts, business, communication and more. Its vast network of alumni now hold positions such as U.S. Senator, Chief of Cardiology of the New York Veterans Administration Medical Center, award-winning Novelist, Vice President of America’s Development Foundation, and more.

Graduates from St. John’s College are also known to pursue higher education with nearly 70 percent of students entering some of the nation’s top graduate and professional schools. Since 1990, the college has produced 13 Fulbright scholars, six Rhodes scholars, six Goldwater scholars and five Truman scholars. The college is also ranked number one for the number of alumni who go on to earn PhD’s in humanities, science, and engineering.

The Campus

The college has two lovely campuses, situated in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students can enroll at either campus, and even transfer to the other to spend a year there. Both locations share the same academic courses, while offering plenty of invaluable opportunities and unique experiences.

A St. John’s College education equips you with more than just the knowledge to change the world. As one former alumni says, “My St. John’s education has informed and shaped my entire career, as well as my life. The extraordinary skills I developed at St. John’s to articulate my thoughts and to persuade, rather than demand, have made me an exceptional litigator, leader, and judge.” – Hon. Jean Fitzsimon, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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All images courtesy of St. John’s College

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