A Mind of Your Own


Those who agree great minds think alike neither knew a great mind, nor possessed one. Take yours for example: a mind that invites new ideas and embraces challenges; that recognizes brilliance forging a unique path; that's eager to address the problems of the present by drawing upon the wisdom of the past. 

The journey to further develop your mind starts here, with the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College.


Pursue wisdom


Here you will study the thoughts and findings of the world's first scientists, composers, and philosophers, and gain a more holistic view of the world through their many lenses. By studying original sources, you will learn not only from the conclusions of these authors, but from their journey of discovery. 

Find Guidance


At Shimer, every class is a conversation. The entire curriculum follows the Socratic Method; because we know that active learning thrives in small-class discussions. Professors do not lecture from a podium. Instead, they act as facilitators, encouraging discussion and posing thought-provoking questions, recognizing that some of the greatest teachers you could ever learn from are the authors of books that have proven valuable to countless generations of thinkers.

Gain perspective


Here you will find a community of those who question and seek deeper understanding - people who are not intimidated by controversy but invigorated by fresh perspectives; who see each other as fellow learners and teachers, each equipped with valuable insights and unique opinions. Within this community, you will complete a curriculum that covers both broad and specialized knowledge. 


Join the great conversation

Does evil exist? What is light? Is the world becoming a better place?

Questions like these—that demand to be asked but seem to defy final answers—are the living heart of traditions of study and debate as old as recorded history. These traditions form the unique curriculum at the Shimer Great Books School. The “books” are the products of humanity’s search for answers—and sharper questions. Certainly, as a great books program, we read many books. But we also examine paintings and sculptures, listen to symphonies and songs, watch films and explore buildings, and perform experiments that lead to new discoveries

We arrange these inquiries into four majors: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and liberal studies. Regardless of which major you choose you will take courses that span disciplines and learn to integrate questions and insights from multiple areas of classical liberal arts.

book shelf full of books at the Shimer Great Books School
Shimer: Humanities

Shimer: Humanities Major

Shimer: Social Sciences

Shimer: Social Sciences Major

Shimer: Natural Sciences

Shimer: Natural Sciences Major

Shimer: Liberal Studies

Shimer: Liberal Studies Major

The ideal Shimer Great Books School student

Cherry trees in front of Old Main.

Shimer Great Books Curriculum

Students and faculty talking about great books.

The Conversation: The Shimer Great Books Blog