12 December 2022: Young Australian leaders have a unique new scholarship pathway to the world-renowned ‘Great Books’ program at St John’s College, thanks to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.
St John’s is situated in Annapolis, a seaside city in Maryland founded in 1649, from where the call was issued to form the Constitutional Convention, leading to the foundation of modern America.
The St John’s College, Annapolis, Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship, worth up to AUD$75,000 p.a., is part of a suite of Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships, first offered in 2021. The new scholarships, which support young Australian leaders to study at the world’s best universities, are the most generous on offer for postgraduate study overseas.
The St John’s scholarship covers tuition and some living expenses for the College’s Master of Arts in Liberal Arts: a two-year Great Books course exploring some of the most profound and foundational texts in history. The course includes an exciting opportunity to work in Washington, DC.
Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation CEO, Professor Simon Haines, says the St John’s scholarship is the only Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarship to specify a study destination, “recognising the truly exceptional education St John’s provides, offered by very few other institutions world-wide.”
“While the St John’s program may be a new concept for some Australians, it is well-known the world over for offering the original, and many would argue the best of the Great Books courses,” Professor Haines says. “And in the US, the College is recognised in higher education circles as a premium offering.”
Indeed, this year, in The Princeton Review’s The Best 388 Colleges: 2023 Edition, St John’s outranked every US Ivy League school in the ‘Professors Get High Marks’ and ‘Best Classroom Experience’ categories, where it ranked 6th and 7th respectively. The College also ranked highly in the ‘Most Accessible Professors’ category.
In the 2023 US News and World Report Best Colleges, St John’s was third among US liberal arts colleges for smallest classes and lowest student-to-faculty ratio.
St John’s is the third oldest college in the US and its students have been reading the Great Books since the College’s famed ‘New Program’ commenced in 1937. From Aristotle to Aquinas, Wordsworth to Woolf, Herodotus to Hegel, ‘Johnnies’ explore the greatest thinkers of all time in a challenging, interdisciplinary program.
The College stays true to its curriculum and small class open inquiry teaching, offering an alternative to modern education trends in the Humanities. In 2018, The New York Times noted that the College continued to produce exceptional graduates, schooled in the classics, and taught to critique everything, listen to other perspectives, and be expert communicators.
St John’s alumni span several fields, and include a Deputy Attorney General in California, a CNN White House Correspondent, a Senator for Nebraska, a Chargé d’Affaires to the Republic of the Sudan, a Vice-President at IBM, and a director for clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.
At St John’s, no class has more than 20 students and each session begins “with a question formulated to foster a genuine investigation into the meaning of a text, not to elicit a ready-made answer. Where that discussion may travel during the class is unpredictable. It all depends on the moment-to-moment dynamism of human conversation in an encounter with a text of inexhaustible richness.”
Annapolis is bursting with history, charming boutiques and cafes, and a thriving art and music scene. It is home to the US Naval Academy and just 30 minutes from Washington, DC.
While DC has always attracted politically engaged students, it is also a major cultural and artistic centre with endless internship options, whether in business, politics, law, think tanks, embassies, museums, cultural institutions, defence, or security.
A distinguished College mentor is assigned to assist Ramsay Scholars secure work and internship opportunities in Washington, DC, which students may complete during summers, or in their second year of residency.
St John’s College, Annapolis President Nora Demleitner says it is a joy to welcome Ramsay Scholars.
“I have been impressed with the Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars,” she says. “As Australian scholars they offer a unique perspective which enriches conversations, and that is what St John’s is about after all.”
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