Education by the books

Check out Maryland schools: No. 7 of a nine-part series

Check out Maryland schools: No. 7 of a nine-part series

August 15, 2006|by SARAH JOHNSTON

ANNAPOLIS - Aristotle might have died more than a millennium ago, but at St. John's College, the ancient Greek philosopher is still very much alive. Cited as one of the 40 schools in "Colleges that Change Lives" by Loren Pope, this unique institution introduces its students to superlative scholars, from Tacitus to Twain, through the Great Books program, an extensive reading list that is the backbone of the four-year curriculum.

A few moments spent on the Annapolis campus are enough to see that St. John's College is no ordinary educational experience. It caters to a select group of self-motivated individuals. St. John's students, known as "Johnnies," relish discussion and debate. They attend seminars, where, seated around a large table, they exchange ideas and insights with classmates. Professors, referred to as tutors, preside over the seminars and guide the conversation, but offer more questions than answers.

At the end of any academic year, students may transfer to the Santa Fe, N.M., campus, which shares an identical curriculum.


Because only one degree is offered by St. John's College - a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts - nearly 75 percent of its students go on to graduate school to specialize in their chosen fields of study.

At a glance

Type: private

Environment: urban

Affiliation: none

2006-07 tuition: $34,306

2006-07 total yearly cost (including room and board, textbooks and fees): $43,056

Popular majors: liberal arts and sciences

Student population: 470 undergraduate students (Annapolis campus), 160 graduate students (Annapolis and Santa Fe campuses combined)

Student body (2005-06): 51 percent male, 49 percent female

Student/faculty ratio: 8:1

Average class size: 14

Clubs and organizations: many, including a vibrant film and theater societies and various student publications

Greek life: no

Athletics: three intercollegiate sports, extensive intramural sports program

Famous alumnus: Francis Scott Key, American lawyer who penned "The Star-Spangled Banner"

- Sources:;; brochures from St. John's College

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