Liberal Arts Program
“Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! 'Have courage to use your own understanding!' - that is the motto of enlightenment.” -- Immanuel Kant
The aim of the program is to help students to formulate and respond to fundamental questions about themselves and their world by reading and discussing with others the great books of the Western tradition. The readings are organized into five segments: Literature, Politics and Society, Philosophy and Theology, Mathematics and Natural Science, and History. Students must complete four of these five segments to earn the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts degree (36 semester credit hours). These segments taken together constitute a closely integrated program of study.
All classes are small and based on discussion of classic texts, but differ in significant ways. The heart of the curriculum is the seminar in which 17-21 students engage in a discussion initiated by a tutor's question about the assigned reading. In the tutorial, a slightly smaller group of students (12-16) focus more intensively on smaller assignments, either mathematical proofs, short literary texts, or dense arguments of philosophy or political theory. The preceptorial, with an even smaller number of students (6-12), engages in the study of a single book or topic and requires that students write a substantial paper.
At least two segments are offered in the 16 week fall and spring terms, and usually four are offered in the 8 week summer term. During the fall and spring term, classes meet only two days a week, in the late afternoons and evenings, making it possible for students who work to participate. During the summer, classes meet twice as often. Schedules vary somewhat between the two campuses. Students may matriculate in any of the three sessions, and take segments in any order compatible with the sequence of offerings. An optional master's essay may be written by students who have completed at least two terms. In recent years, approximately 60-80 students have been enrolled on each campus during each session.
The program leading to the Masters of Arts in Liberal Arts is accredited by the North Central and the Middle States Associations of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
We welcome your interest and questions regarding the Graduate Institute in Liberal Education, and we would gladly answer any questions you may have. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions in Santa Fe or Annapolis.