If you’re going to focus on the liberal arts in college, you might as well do it right.

St. John’s College in Annapolis and Santa Fe is one of those places where you can “do it right.” They offer a program that “immerses students in reading great books and in lively and unmediated conversation with one another and with the books themselves.” By the time students graduate, “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.”

Many college liberal arts programs today feel like ships without rudders. They lack a clearly defined ethos, and their curricula consist of a hodgepodge of books whose selection is driven by professors’ personal whims and whatever social issues happen to be trending in the news media.

St. John’s, on the other hand, strives for “a coherent program of study” based on “the most important books and ideas of Western civilization.” Their curriculum—which I have included below—is closely aligned in spirit with the curricula of most colleges prior to the twentieth century:


Sure, this curriculum includes more classics than you would find in most liberal arts colleges today. But sometimes, I wonder if that immersion in the past better prepares students to engage the present.