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Program of Studies

Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Liberal Studies with majors in Literature, Philosophy, History, and Theology. In addition to their major, students may also choose to concentrate in the fine arts. The college also awards its Apostolic Catechetical Diploma to students who complete the six-semester sequence of theological studies with at least a grade of C or better in each course and who pledge to teach Catholic doctrine in communion with the Holy See. All students complete a core Program of Studies in the classical liberal arts.

Our Program of Studies is grounded in four key commitments:

  • the belief that truth, goodness, and beauty are realities that can be discovered,
  • the primacy of enquiry embodied in the perennial questions,
  • the conversation engaged by the greatest books and culture artifacts,
  • the traditional liberal arts education as a pathway to true freedom and human flourishing.

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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.

Theology

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.

Majors

Majors

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.

Honors

Honors

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.

Faculty

Faculty

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.

In the Bleak Midwinter:
Announcing the Polyphony Choir’s December 2022 Tour

In five different states & seven cities, Magdalen’s acclaimed 20-voice Polyphony Choir will present a concert of sacred music for Advent and Christmastide. It features the works of Byrd, Palestrina, Victoria, Joubert, Darke, Todd, and others. Join us for a feast of sacred music capped off by familiar carols for all present to join in...

Writing the Light:
Studying Iconography in Greece

The Orthodox tradition speaks of “writing” rather than “painting” icons. Several Magdalen students and graduates recently enjoyed a fascinating opportunity to “Write the Light” in Greece. The occasion was the Summer Iconography School taught by renowned master iconographer Dr. George Kordis. Mrs. Keri Weidersphan, who teaches iconography at Magdalen, helped organize and run the event....

Magdalen College Sings for Chrism Mass
at Saint Joseph Cathedral

  This past Holy Week, the Magdalen College Polyphony Choir traveled to the Cathedral of Saint Joseph to sing for the diocesan Chrism Mass. The Chrism Mass, occurring once a year as the Church is poised to enter the Sacred  Paschal Triduum, is one of the most solemn rites that takes place in a cathedral....

Cardinal Newman Society Features Prof. Anthony Esolen & President Ryan Messmore

“Magdalen is for those who have an inkling that the world is enchanted with beauty and meaning and want an education that will help them explore it at a deeper level.” So argue Prof. Anthony Esolen and Pres. Ryan Messmore in a recent interview with the Cardinal Newman Society. When asked about the special value...

Polyphony Choir Sings with Composer Paul Jernberg’s Cor Unum Chorale

On a recent Sunday, Magdalen’s polyphony choir traveled to Saint John the Guardian of Our Lady Parish in Clinton, MA, to sing with Cor Unum Chorale under the direction of acclaimed composer and conductor Paul Jernberg. The polyphony choir is Magdalen’s premiere ensemble, auditioned annually and entrusted with singing the finest sacred music in the...

National Catholic Register Interviews President Ryan Messmore

National Catholic Register, a leading news source for faithful Catholics, recently interviewed Magdalen College’s new president, Dr. Ryan Messmore. Since Dr. Messmore began his tenure as the college’s fifth president in July, his zeal for Magdalen’s intentional, Christ-centered approach to liberal education has rippled through the community. The full interview explores his background, highlights what...