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Published by tacweb, 2020-01-09 18:59:43



Thomas Aquinas College, New England

s Aquinas CThoma Thomas Aquinas College

des Quaerens Intellectu m An Introduction


At Thomas Aquinas College, there are
no majors or minors, no textbooks or
classroom lectures.
So how do we learn?

Through careful reading and rigorous discussion of the
Great Books, our students engage firsthand with the
greatest scientific and mathematical discoveries, the
most moving poetry and prose, the deepest political
and spiritual insights, and the most profound works of
philosophy and theology.
Choosing Thomas Aquinas College means choosing an
educational program like no other.

A Liberating Education

Throughout the course of their studies at Thomas Aquinas College, students read, analyze, and grapple
with the greatest works of Western civilization, both ancient and modern.

Every student directly encounters thinkers such as Plato, Einstein, Shakespeare, Aristotle, Galileo, St. Au-
gustine, Freud, Austen, Locke, and St. Thomas Aquinas in a single, integrated curriculum.

While these authors have thought deeply about the great questions, some of them are partly — or even seri-
ously — in error. Many of them offer contradictory answers to the most fundamental questions. A student
left alone to decipher these persuasive works could end up doubting the possibility of discovering the truth
at all. But illumined by the wisdom of the Church, our students have a sure guide along the path to truth.

Faith Seeking Understanding

Christ tells us that He is “The Way, the Truth, and the “Saint Thomas Aquinas is an authentic
Life,” and assures us that the truth will set us free; for model for all who seek the truth. In his
only in light of the truth can we judge what is good, thinking, the demands of reason and the
and direct our desires and activities accordingly. For power of faith found the most elevated
this reason Thomas Aquinas College holds that a synthesis ever attained by human thought.”
Catholic college fulfills its essential purpose when it
helps to order the minds and hearts of its students Pope St. John Paul II
to truth.

The College’s program of traditional liberal education is designed to help students develop the habits of
reasoning and judgment by which they may clearly direct their path toward knowledge of things both hu-
man and divine. In particular, we look to St. Thomas Aquinas, the Universal Doctor of the Church, whose
extensive writings testify to the natural harmony between faith and reason.

A Lecture-Free Pursuit of Truth

In place of classroom lectures, students at Thomas Aquinas College meet in small seminars of 14-18 stu-
dents, where they seek answers to the questions raised by the authors of the Great Books. Everything from
the smallest details of nature (such as the geometric structure of a beehive) to the most profound and uni-
versal considerations (like the influence of virtue on human happiness) is matter for discussion.

And discussion, because it is an activity, engages the student’s mind far more than do lectures. At best
one might remember certain ideas from a lecture, whereas in a seminar discussion ideas are proposed,
challenged, and defended, until, through productive argumentation, the students discern the meaning of a
given text and its veracity or error. The truth is found by way of the conversation.

Over their four years, students “It’s wonderful how you’ll be reading one thing in language
develop the intellectual habits of class, and then it will come up again in philosophy, and
inquiry, argument, and transla- goes on to affect everything you
tion — in critically reading and read from then on. You get a deeper
analyzing texts, in mathematical understanding of each discipline by
demonstration, and in labora- seeing how they connect with the
tory investigation. And having others.”
thought — and fought — their
way through the foundational Thomas Esser (‘18)
questions, they make the truth Chino Hills, California
their own.

Guided in

At Thomas Aquinas College, the teaching facul-
ty, known here as tutors, do not profess, lecture, or
impart their own learning. Rather, they guide class-
room conversations so that students can come to
knowledge for themselves.

Focused solely on leading students and learning
along with them, the tutors take a personal interest
in seeing their students advance in intellectual and
moral virtue.

“The real teachers...are the
authors of the Great Books”

The tutors have advanced degrees in a wide range
of disciplines — biology, literature, philosophy, and
theology, among others. More importantly, they are
themselves competent in all of the liberal arts and
are able to teach across the disciplines.

The real teachers in the classroom are the authors
of the Great Books, before whom both student and
tutor stand in a partnership of learning. The ideas
contained in the Great Books are inexhaustible;
a person hungry for wisdom can go back to them
again and again, each time gaining new insights.

“I was pleasantly
surprised by how
welcoming, amiable,
and focused on the
curriculum everyone
is. Thomas Aquinas
College is the only
school I’ve seen where students and faculty
alike are extremely approachable and
always eager to have a good conversation.”

Sofia Barrantes (’20)
San Jose, Costa Rica

A Catholic Life

By reading and discussing both Sacred Scripture and the works of
some of the Church’s greatest theologians — St. Augustine, St. Thom-
as Aquinas, St. John Henry Newman, Pope St. John Paul II — students
deepen their understanding and love for the central mysteries of the
Catholic faith.

With the graces of the sacraments, the truths our students learn in the
classroom take root in their souls. Thomas Aquinas College strives
to foster a community that aspires to holiness in all things. Full-time
chaplains reside on campus, offering Mass and Eucharistic Adoration
daily. They also hear confessions before and after each Mass, and they
are available for spiritual direction throughout the week. These devo-
tions and others, though not mandatory, are nevertheless very well
attended by the students.

Beyond the Chapel walls, students seek to answer the universal call to
holiness in their everyday lives, whether they are in the classroom, on
the athletic field, in the residence halls, or serving the broader com-

On campus, there are food drives, blood drives, and charitable fund-
raisers each year. Students regularly go off campus to teach catechism
classes, assist in community-service events, and attend yearly pro-life

In addition, each year Thomas Aquinas College hosts representatives
of religious orders and dioceses to offer reflections, lead retreats, and
encourage vocations.

This yearning to serve both Church and society continues after gradu-
ation. Since Thomas Aquinas College’s inception, a steady 10 percent
of alumni have pursued vocations to the priesthood or the religious
life. Likewise, many alumni marry and raise strong, Catholic families
that serve as a beacon of hope to their communities.

“Being in such a trusting, Catholic
environment has made it so easy for me
to grow in faith, knowledge, and virtue.”

Joseph Poznecki (’21)
Anthem, Arizona

One Program...

Thomas Aquinas College gives students the opportunity
to choose between two locations to pursue its one
unique program of Catholic liberal education —
California or New England.


At the California campus, students live in one of six on-campus, single-sex residential halls. Described by
The Princeton Review as “dorms like palaces,” the residence halls are designed with beauty, contemplation,
and community in mind. Each offers lounges, study areas, free laundry facilities, and exercise rooms, as well
as a courtyard, which serves both as a social venue and an outdoor study space.
The majestic chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity sits at the head of the academic quadrangle. With
its dome, signifying the College’s fidelity to Rome, and its bell tower, evocative of the Spanish missions,

the Chapel draws upon the Church’s rich tradition of sacred architecture to reflect the beauty, grandeur, and
permanence of the Catholic faith.

The California campus is located in the foothills of the Topatopa mountain range, within a short drive of
Ventura’s beaches; the Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles; historic
Santa Barbara; the scenic Ojai Valley; and the Rose Bowl and art museums of Pasadena.

As the students live, learn, and pray together, they carry on the great discussions that are the lifeblood of the
College’s academic program and its vibrant community.

...Two Coasts

New England

From its very beginnings, the founders of Thomas Aquinas College
intended to form a close-knit community of learners, intentionally
limiting the total number of students on campus. Since reaching
full enrollment on the California campus some years ago, the Col-
lege has had to turn away increasing numbers of applicants each

With the addition of the New England campus in 2019, Thomas
Aquinas College is able to accommodate all who desire to partici-
pate in its unique program of Catholic liberal education.

Nestled in the Connecticut River Valley 90 miles west of Boston,
the New England campus offers students a classic collegiate set-
ting. The expansive campus, first established as a seminary for girls
in 1879, boasts four magnificent seasons, red-brick colonial build-
ings, and a location rich in American history.

At the New England campus, students live in single-sex residential
halls that feature lounges, free laundry facilities, and shared kitchen
spaces. The newly restored gymnasium includes a swimming pool,
basketball courts, and a dance studio, as well as workout facilities
and equipment.

Students at the New England campus enjoy easy access to the Con-
necticut River for kayaking and canoeing, and close proximity to
Mt. Monadnock, famously featured in the writings of Ralph Wal-
do Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The campus is also within
driving distance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tangle-
wood Music Center and, of course, historic Boston and all of its

While each campus has its own distinct features, both have the
same mission of Catholic liberal education, employing the same
curriculum and pedagogy, and sharing the same noble pursuit,
expressed by the College’s motto, Fides Quaerens Intellectum, Faith
Seeking Understanding.

In order to receive the full extent of religious-liberty protections under
Massachusetts law, the College may admit only Catholic students to the
New England campus. Religious devotions, however, are voluntary. The
California campus remains open to students of all faiths.

What can you do with a liberal arts

Students at Thomas Aquinas College cultivate habits of reasoning which allow them to make critical judg-
ments in any discipline. Through daily practice of the Discussion Method, they learn to articulate their
thoughts coherently, to listen well, and to work collaboratively with their peers.

These habits, strengthened across the academ-
ic disciplines, are sought after by employers,
as they enable graduates to earn their way into
leadership roles in all walks of life.

Graduates of Thomas Aquinas College are en-
gaged in diverse occupations and vocations,
entering fields such as education, law, medicine
and nursing, architecture, engineering, software
development, music, business, and the priest-
hood and religious life.

While the College does equip its students to be
productive members of society, the ultimate goal of liberal education is more fundamental and enduring:
the perfection of each student’s natural intelligence through the study of nature, man, and God. In an intel-
lectual and moral atmosphere informed by the Catholic faith, students develop a holistic understanding of
the reality at the core of human experience — a reality that, regardless of time or place, remains unchanged.

“Although the Navy is a very technical service, I found the Thomas Aquinas
College curriculum to be more than adequate preparation to work alongside
my colleagues with conventional engineering degrees.”
Lieutenant Commander Josh Bergen (’05)
Foreign Area Officer, Latin America
United States Navy

“I have spent the last three years helping to lead the conversation about what
is going on in AI [artificial intelligence], especially on ethics and bigger-picture
ideas. We need people like my fellow TAC graduates, who are well formed
in philosophy, math, logic, and music, and all of the courses in the broad
education at the College. They are absolutely fundamental.”
Jane Nemcova (’98)
Managing Director of Lionbridge, AI

“The College offers one of the finest educations in all of academia, and from it
I acquired six traits essential for the practice of law: integrity, good listening,
problem-solving, good judgment, effective advocacy, and resilience.”
Andrew Emrich (’93)
Holland & Hart LLP

“The College’s academic program is excellent preparation for architecture
because of its analytical approach to geometry and logic, as well as its
willingness to study and understand the past as a way of building for the future.”

Anthony Grumbine, AIA (’00)
Principal, Harrison Design

“The diverse and in-depth education I received at Thomas Aquinas College
was extremely valuable, first and foremost, for my soul; but it also proved to
be more beneficial for my vocation as a physician than all the ‘hard sciences’
combined, perfectly blending the practical with the philosophical, and allowing
me to see Christ in all whom I treat.”
Caroline Johnson, M.D. (’97)
Transplant Nephrologist
Baylor Scott & White Health

Beyond the Classroom

While the classroom is the heart of the College, much of what defines Thomas Aquinas College happens
outside the classroom.

Lively intramural sports thrive on both campuses — volleyball, basketball, soccer, and football, to name
a few. Many students also enjoy running, hiking, and camping, whether in the Los Padres National Forest
surrounding the California campus or the Connecticut River Valley in New England.

Students have numerous opportunities to share their musical talents in choirs and small orchestral groups
that perform for formal and informal events on campus. From sacred choirs, to classical concerts, to open-
mic nights, there is truly something for everyone.

Dancing is a pastime enjoyed by many at Thomas Aquinas College. Each year, four formal dances are held,
and there are informal dances throughout the year, as well. Students can learn anything from swing to salsa,
waltz to foxtrot, during their four years at the College.

Those with a flair for the dramatic take part in student-produced plays and performances each year. Past
productions have ranged from Gilbert & Sullivan musicals to Greek tragedies and Shakespearean comedies.

The College’s integrated curriculum and community life provide an opportunity for students to develop
deep friendships that enrich their lives long after graduation.

High School
Great Books Program

at Thomas Aquinas College

For two weeks each summer, students from around the coun-
try and abroad delight in spirited conversation, engaging
firsthand with some of the best works of the past 2,500 years.
They read and discuss texts selected from the masters of the
Western intellectual tradition, including Plato, Euclid, Pascal,
Flannery O’Connor, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Though the California and New England programs feature
attractions and outings specific to their locales, both give par-
ticipants a taste of the College’s unique program of Catholic
liberal education.

Whether on the East Coast or West, the Summer Program is a time for enjoying the give and take of rational
argument, for forming new friendships, and for pursuing the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

The High School Great Books Program at Thomas Aquinas College encourages wonder and leads partici-
pants toward wisdom.

Experience a slice of life at TAC.

In addition to daily sports and hikes, open-mic nights, and a small theatrical production, the program in-
cludes excursions to local attractions. In California, students tour the Getty Museum, enjoy a concert at the
Hollywood Bowl, relax at a local beach, and spend an evening in beautiful Santa Barbara. Students in New
England explore historic Boston and the Freedom Trail, take a kayak trip on the Connecticut River, and
enjoy a concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


The High School Great Books Program is open to rising high school seniors.


July 12-25 in California
July 26-August 8 in New England


To ask the big questions and explore the answers, forging new friendships to last a lifetime.

How much?

Tuition is $975 and includes housing, meals, books, and organized off-campus activities.

How do I apply?

Head to to fill out an application today!

Liberate Your Future:
Exceptional Financial Aid

Thomas Aquinas College welcomes every accepted student, regardless of financial need. We are proud to be
able to meet 100 percent of students’ demonstrated financial need, awarding need-based aid to an average
of 70 percent of students each year.

Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we are able to offer one of the lowest tuition and room &
board rates of any top liberal arts college. In 2019, Thomas Aquinas College ranked first in the country on
Kiplinger’s list of Best College Values.

The College also makes every effort to ensure its graduates are free to pursue their careers and vocations by
not burdening them with unwieldy debt upon graduation. It, therefore, asks students to take no more than
$18,000 in student loans over four years — significantly less than the national average student-loan debt of
$30,000 in 2019.

Financial aid packages vary, but the first component in nearly all packages is a Service Scholarship job,
whereby students work 13 hours per week on campus during the academic year. The Service Scholarship
Program provides students with a unique opportunity to care for the campus and carry out essential tasks
that support the community.

For more information, including a financial aid calculator, please visit

Begin Your Application Today!

If you can picture yourself debating how the structure of the beehive can help prove the existence of God,
or whether civil laws ought to lead one to virtue, Thomas Aquinas College may be just the place for you!

It is never too early for high school seniors to begin an application. There is no application fee, and we
accept applications on a rolling basis.

The Admissions Committee typically acts upon completed applications within two to four weeks. After the
incoming freshman class has been filled, all other accepted students are placed on a waitlist.

To apply, head to or give us a call at 805–525–4417.

Thomas Aquinas College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in
its programs and activities.

“At Thomas Aquinas College we learned from experience that it is possible to
think in a disciplined way about questions that matter. We came to believe in
the truth and also in ourselves. It’s a gift for which I’m grateful every day.”
Sean Kelsey (‘92)
Rev. John A. O’Brien
Associate Professor of Philosophy,
University of Notre Dame

Thomas Aquinas College, New England

Quick Facts

Thomas Aquinas College is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college with Roman Catholic religious
affiliation and lay administration.

• The College was founded in 1971 in Calabasas, California, and relocated to its permanent home in
Santa Paula, California in 1978.

• A second campus opened in 2019 in Northfield, Massachusetts.

Degree Awarded Rankings & Reviews

• Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Liberal Arts • #1 Best Value for all private and public col-
• 146 credit units over 4 years leges and universities and #1 Best Value for
• Equivalent to a double major in philosophy liberal arts colleges
— Kiplinger, 2019
& theology and a minor in mathematics

Financial Aid

• Meets 100% of demonstrated financial need
• Need-based aid awarded to 70% of students
• Student loan debt capped at $18,000 total

over four years

Standardized Tests • “Impressive intellectual rigor” and “ortho-
dox Catholicism”
• Average SAT Math: 630 — Newman Guide, 2019

• Average SAT Evidence-Based Reading &
Writing: 670

• Average ACT Composite: 28

Tuition, Room & Board • Top Rankings for “Best Classroom Experi-
(2019–2020) ence,” “Great Financial Aid,” and “Professors
Get High Marks”
• Tuition: $26,000 — The Princeton Review, 2020

• Room & Board: $9,400

• No additional fees or costs.
All books are included in tuition.

Thomas Aquinas College, California

Thomas Aquinas College

10,000 Ojai Road 231 Main Street
Santa Paula, CA 93060 Northfield, MA 01360


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