St John’s College: A unique US liberal arts education

Studying at St. John’s College is a learning experience like no other. Spread across two attractive campuses in Maryland and New Mexico, this is liberal arts education in the truest sense. Students are challenged to think for themselves here, and delve deeper into complex issues that confront us all as human beings.

Integral to the curriculum taught at both campuses are the comprehensive reading lists provided to students at the beginning of each semester. Each year, undergraduate students work together as they study the ideas of some of Western civilization’s greatest writers and thinkers, including Homer, Plato, Einstein, Dubois, and Milton.

“I think the quality of the work we read at St. John’s had a profound effect on my demands on myself when I write,” says St. John’s alumnus Bob Tzudiker, who went on to become a successful screenwriter after graduation. “If I had to choose training for what I do, there really is nothing better than St. John’s.”


Student reading books


Key to St. John’s success is its intimate learning environment. Each campus is home to fewer than 500 undergraduate students, allowing for small class sizes (13 to19 students) and close-knit interaction with faculty that is difficult to find anywhere else.

All classes are conducted seminar-style, with lecturers leading lively discussion on a wide range of issues. Students will be asked to learn, listen and speak about a range of diverse issues from philosophy and literature to politics, economics, psychology and economics.

Crucially, students will be expected to come up with their own ideas on these subjects. Faculty at St. John’s favor intellectual engagement over rigid expertise, and place a strong focus on developing students’ ability to think critically and independently.

“What St. John’s gave me was, I think, an inherent fearlessness about tackling something new. A willingness to try something without going through training or getting a particular degree in it,” adds Bob Tzudiker. “…I think that St. John’s has continued to make me more flexible in what I can do and what I’m willing to look at.”

St. John’s alumni have gone on to succeed in a wide range of careers. They become authors, winemakers, musicians, filmmakers, teachers – basically, whatever they wish. St. John’s doesn’t teach its students how to succeed in a particular profession; it teaches them to succeed in whatever profession they choose.


St. John College classroom


“The education here left me with a lot of the insights and underpinnings I needed to go into my chosen career,” says professional astronomist and academic Daryl Haggard. “Some elements of the St. John’s curriculum continue to be very lively and active for me.”

St. John’s academic prowess isn’t just recognized by its past students – the statistics speak for themselves. Almost 70 percent of graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees—many enter the nation’s leading humanities, science, business, law, and medical programs. St. John’s is also in the top 2 percent of all colleges in the U.S. for alumni earning PhDs in the humanities, and in the top 4 percent for earning them in science or engineering.

The Princeton Review’s 2017 guide to the best colleges in the U.S. ranked St. John’s Santa Fe faculty No. 2 among all national liberal arts colleges for the “Professors Get High Marks” category, and No. 12 among national peers for “Most Accessible Professors.” The Annapolis faculty was ranked 16th and sixth for the same categories, respectively.

St. John’s College is also unique in that it has two distinct campuses – St. John’s Annapolis in the East and St. John’s Santa Fe in the West. Both offer the same inderdisciplinary academic program, allowing students to easily transfer to the other campus. Many students opt to transfer for a full year.

Both locations offer historic and beautiful study environments, providing a broad range of opportunities both on and off campus. Small class sizes mean that St. John’s students tend to form strong bonds that last long beyond graduation, while there are boundless opportunities for travel and adventure beyond campus.



“Impromptu trips off campus are frequent,” says one student. “Students come from across the country and around the world, from all religious, political and economic backgrounds… the diversity of personalities is astounding.”

Both Annapolis and Santa Fe have been ranked among the best college towns in the U.S. in a number of major college rankings.

St. John’s College’s focus on the intense study and open-minded discussion of the ideas that shape our world offers domestic and international students a unique liberal arts education. Their graduates emerge with the ability to think independently, and are able to apply their knowledge to a wide range of fields to succeed in their careers.


This article is sponsored by St. John’s College. Tracing its origins as far back as 1696, St. John’s has gained a reputation as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the United States. Its focus on reading and discussing the Great Books of Western Civilization sets it apart from other liberal arts colleges. Small class sizes, a highly regarded faculty and high acceptance rates continue to make St. John’s a popular choice among students looking for a challenging and unique education environment.

You can connect with St. John’s College on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and you can visit their International page to request more information.

Feature image courtesy of St. John’s College

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