An Unrivaled Intellectual Retreat: Spend a week at Summer Classics at St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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This summer, explore enduring works of literature, science and art in the high desert mountains of Santa Fe, where St. John’s College’s Summer Classics offers an unrivaled intellectual retreat, guided by the second-highest rated faculty in the nation (Princeton Review, 2016).

“I greatly enjoyed the combination of being in Santa Fe and the intellectual stimulation of the Summer Classics. The afternoons and evenings were free to enjoy field trips, hiking, museums, eating, walking and relaxing!" Lynne Davidson

This summer, explore enduring works of literature, science, and art at Summer Classics, a series of weeklong seminars running July 1-20, 2018 at St. John’s College. Experience St. John’s lively and renowned discussion-based approach to timeless texts, guided by the second-highest rated faculty in the nation (Princeton Review, 2016). Spend your evenings outside the classroom exploring Santa Fe’s world-famous arts, opera, fine dining, and outdoor adventure offerings.

This year’s theme, A Time of Contrasts, considers approximately 30 works and topics that include Tolstoy's War and Peace and Dante's Purgatory, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Jane Austen’s Emma, film noir and neo-noir, the Yogavasistha and the Book of Exodus, quantum theory and the origins of calculus, as well as New Mexico icon Georgia O'Keeffe and her art. New this year is East Meets West: Lessons in Leadership from the Classics. Registration opens February 1, 2018 at

For over 25 years, Summer Classics at St. John’s College in Santa Fe has hosted participants from around the world for weeklong seminars in the best literature, science, history, philosophy and opera that the East and West have to offer. In 2018, three weeks of themed seminars run July 1-6, July 8-13, and July 15-20, and participants choose one, two or all three weeks - an unrivaled intellectual retreat. For a complete list of readings and a schedule for each week, visit

The East Meets West: Lessons in Leadership from the Classics track offers participants a rare opportunity to examine leadership lessons from the past in the context of the present via readings from Plutarch (The Life of Alexander the Great), Confucius (Analects), Sun Tzu (The Art of War), and Machiavelli (The Prince). Participants then apply lessons in leadership to real-world situations through a variety of exercises and activities. Throughout, participants consider the historical and critical contexts that shaped the life and thought of our four authors.

For cinephiles, the Film at Summer Classics track explores the Time of Contrasts theme by surveying film noir over a 60-year period, charting its evolution from its beginnings in the 1940s and 1950s to the neo-noir style it engendered into the 21st century. Students may participate in one, two, or three of the weeks offered.

The Science Institute track draws on St. John’s tradition of teaching science through the discussion of original texts and hands-on experimentation, and requires an acquaintance with high school math and science. Each weeklong session is an intensive immersion in landmark topics and texts. This year’s topics include quantum theory; the origins of calculus; and mind, complexity and society.

Teens are invited to experience the St. John’s program through Summer Academy, a pre-college residential program for high school students modeled after St. John’s discussion-based, interdisciplinary method of teaching the great books. If desired, teens may attend Summer Academy while parents, grandparents or guardians are enrolled in Summer Classics. For information on Summer Academy, visit or contact Anne Young at, 800-331-5232.

Praise from Past Participants

“I greatly enjoyed the combination of being in Santa Fe and the intellectual stimulation of the Summer Classics. The afternoons and evenings were free to enjoy field trips, hiking, museums, eating, walking and relaxing! We also hosted family members and our children in our rented house, so the week had many benefits. Highly recommended!”
-Lynne Davidson

“This was a rich experience. I met interesting, thoughtful people, and the seminars went deep into the text. Both the content and the method of approaching it made a significant difference in my view of the world and how to live in it.”
-Tim Ogburn

“It is a fantastic event for people who love learning. The true love shines – and the professors were wonderful. The fellow students were diverse with varied intentions… but the professors made every conversation illuminating… and included all people. Expertly conducted.”
-Gwylym Cano

Summer Classics Tuition
Tuition for Summer Classics and Film at Summer Classics tracks is $1,300 per individual seminar. Tuition for the East Meets West and Science Institute tracks is $1,900 per week. A seminar includes a morning series of classes or an afternoon series of classes in a given week. East Meets West and Science Institute seminars include two sessions daily. Individuals registering for two seminars receive a $100 discount on the total cost, and those registering for three or more seminars receive a $250 discount.

Teacher/College Counselor Tuition Assistance
St. John’s College offers a 50 percent tuition discount to a limited number of full-time licensed teachers (K-12). There are also a limited number of college counselor scholarships to introduce St. John’s College to professionals who inform young people about college opportunities.

About the Summer Classics Program and Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Summer Classics program at St. John’s College presents the opportunity to engage in rigorous intellectual conversations on timeless literary, scientific, and artistic works. Princeton Review rated our faculty the second finest in the nation, and these weeklong seminars follow the lauded St. John's seminar approach, with two tutors acting as guides—not experts—for groups of 18 or fewer participants. Specialized knowledge of any given work or topic is not required; a passion for learning is.

Because the backgrounds of Summer Classics attendees span regions, cultures, interests, and ages, each seminar—regardless of individual focus—incorporates contrasting points of view. Everyone is, however, united by a collective commitment to the texts and a respect for the value of conversation.

In keeping with this year’s theme, St. John’s Santa Fe campus is located in a city of contrasts. Here, a rugged landscape coexists with world-renowned culture, and magnificent light casts bold shadows onto the high desert and its architecture. Santa Fe, the nation's oldest state capital and its second-largest art market, is a vibrant city that consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the United States. An amalgam of the three cultures present and celebrated in New Mexico—Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo—the city is a magnet for those engaged in creative arts, for intellectuals, and for lovers of outdoor recreation. St. John’s is located minutes from Santa Fe’s historic downtown plaza and within walking distance of four major museums and the famous Canyon Road art galleries. As in the past, all participants are given the opportunity explore the history, art, culture and world-class dining in Santa Fe, including purchasing group-rate tickets for the Santa Fe Opera, with transportation available from campus.

For more information visit, email or call 505-984-6105.

About St. John’s College
St. John’s College holds a distinctive position among American colleges and universities. Its strong commitment to collaborative inquiry and to the study of original texts makes it a particularly vibrant community of learning where close engagement with many of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers — from Homer, Plato, and Euclid to Nietzsche, Einstein, and Woolf — inspire students to grapple with the most fundamental, and essential, of human questions. Located on two campuses in two historic state capitals – Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico – St. John’s boasts being the third oldest college in America; has the second highest rated faculty in the nation (Princeton Review); is in the top two percent of all colleges and universities in the nation whose graduates go on to earn PhDs; has been hailed for being the “most future-proof college in America” by Quartz and for having the “courage to be distinct” by David Brooks of the New York Times.

St. John’s College offers BA and MA degrees in the liberal arts on both campuses; the Santa Fe campus also offers an MA in the Eastern Classics. More info at

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