Program of Studies

The Program of Studies at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts offers a path to joy that can only be found through knowing in its most complete sense.  Aristotle, in recognizing that “all men desire to know,” discerned something in human nature that comes from the created image of God rendered at the deepest core of every human being, something that is universal.

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Sequence of Readings

There is nothing quite like the joy we experience in our direct encounter with the greatest books that have been written, each one serving as a door to another world, a ladder by which we can ascend, or a window to a hidden reality.

Philosophy & Humanities

Philosophy & Humanities

Through the Philosophy and Humanities sequence, we read together the greatest works of the imagination and the intellect in a spirit animated by joy that flows from the classroom to animate all that we do as a college.


Through six semesters of sustained reflection, students engage with the fundamental themes of theology:  God, prayer, the sacraments, Sacred Scripture, first and final things, love, human action, and the hope of heaven.

The Classic Books

Writing Workshop

Deeply integrated with the Humanities sequence, these four courses lead students through an odyssey into the nature of language, writing, and the substance of reality.

Latin and Greek

Students immerse themselves in the languages of Greece or Rome, choosing the path that leads to Troy or the Eternal City.

Arts of the Beautiful

Music and Art

Through our unique “Arts of the Beautiful” Program, students can integrate the practices of music, visual art—including iconography—and drama with sustained reflections on aesthetics, all while experiencing these arts in the museums and concert halls of New England.

Math and Science

Math and Science

In our pursuit of wisdom, we seek the visible and hidden orders of creation. Here the Book of Nature, through which Euclid and the greatest scientific minds serve as our guides, becomes indispensable.



As a complement to the generous core of great books read in common, students take up one of the classic disciplines in the junior and senior year, reading books from within that discipline and developing a vision of reality shaped by that discipline.

Junior Project and Senior Thesis

Junior Project and Senior Thesis

At the beginning of the junior year, when a major discipline has been chosen, each student selects a single author as the subject of an extended exploration of reading and then, as a senior, selects a classic book and related question that become the basis of a senior thesis or portfolio.

Rome, Krakow, Norcia, and Oxford

Through a semester of study in Rome, Krakow, and Norcia, the wisdom of the books we read becomes concrete.  Students also have the opportunity for summer studies in Oxford, England.



In the college’s Honors Program, students and faculty explore—in a seminar setting—classic texts and themes chosen by a senior tutor of the college, while also completing an Honors Thesis during their senior year.



Our faculty have spent their lives joyfully pursuing wisdom through the classic books and the central disciplines, mentoring students who wish to join them in the exploration of the highest and most permanent things. 

Nature of Man

Nature of Man Seminar

“What does it mean to be a human person?” is one of the most important questions we can ask, and the implications of our answers become the central themes taken up by freshmen in this seminar. 

Please click here to download a copy of the Comprehensive Assessment Program.

“Freedom, on a Mountain” – Anthony Esolen Highlights Magdalen College in The Catholic Thing

Anthony Esolen, Professor and Writer-in-residence at Magdalen, recently highlighted the college in The Catholic Thing. He explains how Magdalen provides an education in true freedom that liberates students from the “social manacles” of secular orthodoxy. This approach to education, punctuated by our vantage point atop the slopes of Mount Kearsarge, ripples through every classroom, every liturgy,...

Tristan Smith, Magdalen College’s New Choir Director

Magdalen College is delighted to announce the new Director of Collegiate Choirs, Tristan Smith. Mr. Smith is a graduate of Magdalen College and is well-equipped to continue the beautiful sacred music traditions at the college. His musical background includes providing music for liturgies at parishes in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maryland. In addition to directing...

Finding God on the Quad: Benedict XVI’s Vision for Catholic Higher Education

On this, the ninety-third birthday of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, we offer this essay on his inspiring vision of the ends and means of Catholic education. Today, we are in the midst of a great renewal in Catholic higher education. Colleges and universities founded after the Second Vatican Council with the intention of cultivating a...

Magdalen Students “Writing the Light”

Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts is delighted to announce that students and alumni of the College have been selected to participate in an iconography workshop under the renowned iconographer George Kordis.  This extraordinary program, “Writing the Light,” will be held in Athens and Crete late this summer.   Through generous benefactors, Ms. Keri Wiederspahn, who...

Leo XIII’s “Revolution” and Subsidiarity in Daily Life

The following remarks were offered by one of our theology professors, Karl Cooper, at a recent conference on Wendell Berry. Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) inaugurated the modern economic age and placed the Catholic Church right in the middle of it.  The Church’s answer to the industrial revolution, Rerum Novarum describes two worlds,...

The Heroic Thomas Aquinas

In the very beginning of the Summa theologiae, Thomas explains what it means to be a theologian. He does this in one quaestio, ten articles; the whole presentation takes only seven pages in the edition I use. I predict that someday you will read it. It may not occur until you are old and find you have...