Shimer College


Academics at a Small Liberal Arts College



Liberal Arts Education in the noblest sense.

At Shimer, you won’t touch a textbook. Our curriculum is built entirely on primary sources, and there are no lectures: only student-driven conversation. Shimer is the only Great Books school to include in its curriculum major contemporary, feminist, and subaltern figures like Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, and Frederick Douglass. 

If you love to read and write, if you’re curious and interested in ideas, Shimer might be the place for you. Here, we’ll teach you not what to think, but how to think.

Our Programs

A Shimer education will benefit anyone who is ready for it.

Our 4-year program welcomes transfers, early entrants, home-schoolers, and non-traditional students of every stripe. We also offer a 2-year program for qualifying transfer students.

We  offer several options for students with more specific needs and goals.

Homeschooled and occasional students interested in completing college-level coursework at Shimer, contact the Admissions Office for more information.

The Context of Everything

Immerse yourself in the original works of history’s most dangerous thinkers, from Socrates to St. Augustine, Simone de Beauvoir to Samuel Beckett. In small classes, you and your peers will together grapple with challenging—and critical—ideas. You’ll come to simultaneously understand subconscious desire, quantum mechanics, and Dante’s Inferno, and the thinking that produced them.

The Great Books are more than outstanding literature, they are historical artifacts and cultural symbols that reveal hidden truths about the world. If we are to change the world, we must first understand it.