St John’s College is truly unique. It traces its history to King William’s school founded in 1696 and received its collegiate charter in 1784, making it the third oldest college in the country. Instead of expanding the Annapolis, MD campus for growth in 1964, the school added a second campus in Sante Fe, NM. The small Annapolis campus is located in the heart of Maryland’s capital city, across the street from the US Naval Academy. The Santa Fe campus is located outside the city at the foot of Monte Sol and enjoys quiet seclusion (in contrast to the Annapolis campus’ central location). St John’s College has produce many noted scholars and statesmen, as well as Francis Scott Key.
Academic ProgramsSt John’s College (Annapolis) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the American Academy for Liberal Education; the Santa Fe campus is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission and offers a single Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and two Master’s Degrees in Liberal Arts and Eastern Classics. The unique program is the “Great Books” program – students read and discuss the works of many of Western civilization’s most prominent contributors to philosophy, theology, mathematics, science, music, poetry, and literature. According to the school, “St. John’s College is a community dedicated to liberal education. Liberally educated persons, the college believes, acquire a lifelong commitment to the pursuit of fundamental knowledge and to the search for unifying ideas. They are intelligently and critically appreciative of their common heritage and conscious of their social and moral obligations. They are well equipped to master the specific skills of any calling, and they possess the means and the will to become free and responsible citizens. St. John’s College is persuaded thata genuine liberal education requires the study of great books — texts of words, symbols, notes, and pictures — because they are both timeless and timely. These books are the most important teachers.”
Student LifeThere are under 1000 students between the 2 campuses; there are 6 residence halls in Annapolis and 16 in Santa Fe. Athletics in Annapolis include sailing, crew (rowing), fencing and croquet – the annual match against the Naval Academy is legendary. Also, in Annapolis, a time-honored tradition is the pealing of the bell in McDowell Hall’s tower after turning in their Senior Essay (due by midnight) – this occurs between 12:30 and 1:30 am! “The aim of the education offered by St. John’s College is the liberation of the human intellect. This is an education for all, regardless of a person’s race, ethnicity, sex, religious beliefs, country of origin, economic background, age, disability or sexual orientation. By reading great books and struggling together with the fundamental questions that they raise, students and their teachers learn from their differences and discover more deeply their shared humanity. In this and other ways, a diversity of background and experience enriches our community of learning. Because it offers an education for all, St. John’s College has sought and continues to seek to make its program of study known and available to people of diverse backgrounds.”
NOTE: St. John’s College made national news in 2018 by taking the highly unusual step of slashing its tuition rate from $52,000 to $35,000. In an era of prestige pricing and aggressively inflating tuition, the move has earned St. John’s the distinction of “Most Contrarian College in America” by the New York Times.