Shimer College

Let us begin by defining our terms.


We’re very small. 

Shimer enrolls fewer than 150 students, with no more than 12 per class.

We believe in the persisting value of the liberal arts. 

Affiliated, for a time, with the University of Chicago, we separated so that we could pursue a more focused Great Books curriculum based entirely on primary sources. We use the same method of learning in all our courses, one based on dialogue, not lecture.

What exactly are the liberal arts and the Great Books? Learn more

College life in the city.

Located minutes from the Loop, we have easy access to public transportation, Lake Michigan, countless reading series and art shows, museums and cultural centers, public protests and rallies, and endless archives of unadulterated information. 

We are an active and engaged community of equals. 

We are a self-governing community that lives by shared accountability and personal responsibility. Every voice is heard, all beliefs respected. We count among us prodigies who left high school early, homeschoolerstransfers, veterans, sci-fi writers, multilinguists, painters, philosophers, contrarians, misfits, and the double-jointed. 

Whether you stumbled upon us by pure fortune or you’ve long known our unique story, as long as you value integrity, equality, and very good books, you’ll feel welcome at Shimer.