Academic Catalog and Handbooks

2023-2024 Edition

Saint John’s University


Saint John's University, founded in 1857 by Benedictine monks who came to serve the needs of German Catholic immigrants, is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the Midwest. From its inception the university has valued the liberal arts as a preparation for careers of leadership in church and society.

Saint John's curriculum is taught by a distinguished faculty, with a diverse educational and religious background. Many members of the faculty excel in research and scholarship, in addition to their primary commitment to teaching. The educational program is enhanced by endowed faculty chairs and professorships:

  • The Michael Blecker Professorship in the Humanities;
  • The Joseph P. Farry Professorship;
  • The Edward P. and Loretta H. Flynn Professorship;
  • The Ralph Gross Chair in Business and the Liberal Arts;
  • The Edward L. Henry Professorship;
  • The John and Elizabeth Myers Chair in Management;
  • The Jay Phillips Center for Jewish Christian Learning;
  • The William and Virginia Clemens Chair in Economics and the Liberal Arts;
  • The University Chair in Critical Thinking;
  • The Nicholas and Bernice Reuter Professorship in Science and Religion; and
  • The Butler Family's Virgil Michel Ecumenical Chair in Rural Social Ministries.

In addition to the undergraduate program offered in cooperation with the College of Saint Benedict, the Saint John's School of Theology offers master's degrees in theology, pastoral ministry, liturgical studies and liturgical music. The faculty, composed of monks in partnership with lay men and women, diocesan and religious priests, women religious and ministers from other traditions, instructs a diverse student body of men and women, committed with the faculty to the search for God in Jesus Christ. The School of Theology operates in conjunction with the Saint John's Seminary which prepares men for priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Saint John's campus is remarkable in both its natural and architectural beauty. The greater campus, designated an arboretum in 1997, is located on a 2,830-acre tract of land. It includes an extensive pine and hardwood forest, an oak savannah and 50 acres of restored prairie, as well as Lake Sagatagan, Stumpf Lake, several smaller lakes and 90 acres of restored wetlands. The buildings at Saint John's date from the 1860s and are arranged in a series of quadrangles and courtyards to the north of Lake Sagatagan. At the center of the Saint John's campus is the Abbey and University Church, one of 10 campus buildings designed by Marcel Breuer. With its towering bell banner and three-story wall of stained glass, the church is among the most striking pieces of 20th- century architecture.

The location of the campus, combined with the Benedictine influence, creates a close community of faculty, staff and students. Over 85 percent of the student body lives on campus. The residential program, an integral part of the Saint John's educational experience, is made distinctive by Benedictine professors and administrators, called faculty residents, who live among students.

Saint John's seeks to foster a complete education which includes physical as well as intellectual development and life-long balance between the two. Saint John's students are active participants in varsity, intramural and club sports. Saint John's teams have excelled in intercollegiate athletics and, in recent years, have earned all-sports awards in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and have competed nationally in football, tennis, track and field, swimming and diving, cross-country, soccer, wrestling, baseball, golf, rugby, hockey and basketball.

Liturgical Press

For thousands of readers across the world, the name “Collegeville” is synonymous with solid and expressive liturgy, the Benedictine monastic life, and publications for both the popular and the academic market produced by Liturgical Press, a publishing house established in 1926. “The Press” consists of forty-five or so monks and lay people who publish four journals, two seasonal Mass guides, a Sunday Bulletin series, and a steady flow of books, compact disks, and CD-ROMs on the liturgy, theology, monastic studies, spirituality, and Scripture. Its four imprints—Liturgical Press Books, Michael Glazier Books, Pueblo Books, and The Saint John's Bible—provide its pastoral readership with liturgical books and parish ministry materials, and its academic readership with textbooks and commentaries on Scripture, theology, and monastic studies, as well as reference works for the seminary and college classroom and the library market. In publishing journals, parish periodicals, approximately seventy new titles each year, and maintaining a catalog of more than a thousand titles, Liturgical Press furthers its mission to “actively proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research

Founded by the monks of Saint John's in 1967 as an independent corporation, the Collegeville Institute links the Benedictine traditions of scholarship and hospitality with the openness of Christians to one another and to the world at large expressed by the World Council of Churches (founded 1948) and the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), as well as my many other subsequent ecumenical initiatives local, regional, national, and international. The Institute, a residential center to which men and women from many religious traditions come to do research and writing for a semester or a year, is committed to supporting careful thought for the sake of mutual understanding and a more widespread, meaningful articulation of faith. Additional information may be obtained at

Pottery Studio

The goal of the Pottery Studio is to educate students and artists in the philosophy and practices of sustainable resource development, to involve them in a totally indigenous artistic environment in an academic setting and to assist local communities with the sustainable development of indigenous resources. Saint John's Pottery operates a variety of programs to achieve these goals including: the Apprenticeship Program for undergraduate and post-graduate art students; the Visiting Artist Program for emerging artists; and research and consulting services for local communities seeking to use indigenous natural resources for economic and community development.

The largest wood burning kiln in the United States was dedicated on October 12, 1994. Located across the road from the Pottery Studio, the new kiln is unique in size, design and function. Composed of three chambers, the kiln is 87 feet long, 6 feet 8 inches high, 6 feet wide and has a capacity of 1,600 cubic feet.

The Pottery Studio has been directed by Richard Bresnahan, a 1976 graduate of Saint John's University, since 1979. The artist in residence at Saint John's and the College of Saint Benedict, Bresnahan spent four years studying with Nakazato Takashi Pottery in Japan, whereupon he was declared a master potter.

Arca Artium

Arca Artium, “Ark of the Arts,” is a collection of books, artwork and other artifacts that provide both primary and secondary resources for exploring the creative interplay between religious expression and artistic endeavor. It began as the working collection of Frank Kacmarcik, Obl.S.B. [1920-2004], teacher, liturgical designer, graphic artist, typographer and calligrapher. For many years a close associate of Saint John’s, Br. Frank became a claustral oblate of the monastery in 1988 and formally donated his collection to Saint John’s University in 1995. Arca Artium reflects the monastic and liturgical traditions that have inspired Br. Frank’s own work but is not limited by them. As a research collection of Saint John’s University, Arca Artium is a dynamic and evolving witness to the vitality of human creativity.

The core of Arca Artium is a library containing more than 30,000 volumes, concentrating on the book and graphic arts, biblical and liturgical art, architectural and furnishing design especially as they relate to religious ceremony, and monastic history and heritage. Among these volumes are some 4,000 rare books, with particular emphasis on fine printing from the incunable period (pre-1500) to the present. The collection’s extensive section of reference material interprets and supports its holdings of rare books and original works of art.

Arca Artium’s art collection includes more than 4,000 fine art prints, drawings and calligraphic specimens. Among these, the collection has a noteworthy array of works by fine artists of the twentieth century who involved themselves in the production of beautiful books or other projects aimed at setting word and image in fruitful dialogue. Arca Artium also contains significant holdings of folk art, music recordings, pottery, sculpture, furniture and furnishings that help to articulate a culture and context for items that represent its major areas of concentration.

Arca Artium is currently being catalogued and organized; it is intended to serve artists and scholars as part of the research resources available at Saint John’s and to enrich the community through exhibitions and other activities that display and interpret portions of the collection.

Saint John's Abbey Arboretum

Saint John's Abbey Arboretum encompasses the lands and water stewarded by Saint John's Abbey for more than 150 years. More than 2,500 acres surround Saint John's University and contain the highest concentration of native plant communities in the area. Miles of walking and ski trails meander through the oak and maple-basswood forests, tamarack and mixed-hardwood swamps and wet meadows. For generations, the Benedictine monks at Saint John's have placed a high value on preserving, sustaining, and using the land. The mission of Saint John's Abbey Arboretum builds on the traditions of the Benedictine founders: Preserve native plant and wildlife communities of the Arboretum lands; Provide opportunities for education and research; Model practices of sustainable land use; Make accessible a natural environment that invites spiritual renewal.

Saint John's Outdoor University

Saint John's University and the College of Saint Benedict created Saint John's Outdoor University to provide environmental and outdoor education, much of which takes place in Saint John's Abbey Arboretum. Students and community members can participate in a variety of Outdoor U programs designed to help them expand their environmental literacy and their emotional connectedness to the natural world. From the Maple Syrup Festivals to prescribed burns, from educational conferences to moonlight snowshoes, there is a multitude of opportunities to get involved. Saint John's Outdoor U offers a full-time, one-year environmental education fellowship for recent college graduates, and offers a variety of part-time employment opportunities for CSB/SJU students, including: naturalists, naturalist aides, Outdoor Leadership Center staff, Peer Resource Program coordinators, and land stewardship laborers. Additionally, Saint John's Outdoor University provides many opportunities for student research, service-learning, internships, and volunteering-all right here in your "backyard!"

Within Saint John's Outdoor U, there are two student-run initiatives. The Peer Resource Program (PRP) focuses on leadership development and healthy risk-taking through wilderness trips, a low- elements Challenge Course, Collegebound, and a variety of on and off-campus events throughout the year. The Outdoor Leadership Center (OLC) is an outfitting center that has outdoor and recreational equipment available for students to check-out for free. Camping gear, cross country skis, canoes, and the co-sponsored Green Bike Program with CSB, along with educational events and training, are among the many options available to students and the community.

Visit the Outdoor U website to learn more: