General Information About Shimer College
Founded in 1853, Shimer College, The Great Books College of Chicago, is an independent, nonsectarian institution whose mission is liberal education. The word “liberal” in “liberal education” has the same root as the word “liberty.” Liberal education at Shimer is an education for and through liberty. Agreeing with Socrates that the “unexamined life is not worth living,” Shimer finds the highest liberty to consist in the freedom of the mind; that is, in freedom from unexamined assumptions, for example, swings in intellectual fashion, partisan politics, and ideology. Liberty at its peak is thus identical with the pursuit of truth. To this end, Shimer students and faculty engage in close study of the Great Books of Western Civilization conducted through the Socratic Method. By the term, Great Books, Shimer refers to those works of world-historical significance in the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities. Included in the Core Curriculum are the seminal works of Plato, Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare, John Locke, Adam Smith, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Alexis de Tocqueville, Karl Marx, and Albert Einstein, among many others. The Shimer community recognizes that the intellectual liberty it pursues depends on its being situated in a system of political liberty. That is, Shimer’s cultivation of free minds simultaneously transcends and depends on the political freedom enshrined in the American Constitution. This dependence, along with the College’s commitment to enhancing its students’ self-knowledge, leads it to require of all students the serious study of the Founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and The Federalist—as well as the other original sources that both informed the Founding and reacted to it.
Institutional statistical data was gathered from the U.S. Department of Education - Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2009-2010.
- 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Special Learning Opportunities
- Study abroad
- Weekend/evening college
- Remedial services
- Academic/career counseling service
- Employment services for students
- Institution does not accept dual, credit for life, or AP credits
- Not applicable
- Eligible students may receive Pell Grants and other federal aid (e.g. Direct Loans).
- Bachelor's degree
- City: Large
Disability Services Student
- 3% or Less
Admission Total Applicants Full Time Retention Rate 73%
Student Demographics Total Enrolled 107 Native American 1 Asian 5 African American 4 Hispanic 3 Enrolled FullTime Undergraduates 97 Enrolled FullTime Graduates