Distinctives & Nonnegotiable Principles


Officially opened in a dedication service on September 30, 2000, Patrick Henry College is a distinctly Christian institution of higher education based on a vision for the future which draws on America's past. This includes:

Christian Mission. PHC is committed to higher education as a Christian mission. The institution is non-denominational, but is grounded in all areas on the Lordship of Jesus Christ and a high view of the Word of God. Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and students share this faith commitment. Each and every faculty member is pledged by contract to undergird all of his teaching with a biblical worldview.

Academic Excellence. Patrick Henry College promotes academic excellence through the leadership of highly-qualified faculty; a robust classical liberal arts curriculum with a rigorous common core and upper-division apprenticeships; high-caliber academic facilities; and an outstanding library. Moreover, the College is accredited by a national institutional accrediting agency.

Financial Independence. As a matter of institutional conviction, Patrick Henry College operates on the basis of two guiding financial principles. First, the College aims to avoid debt in connection with its curricular or co-curricular programs, preferring to expand such programs only as funds are raised.   Second, the College is governed by its Board of Trustees according to its Fundamental Statements and will not accept any funding, private or governmental, which includes terms which supersede the Board's authority or conflict with these Fundamental Statements.

Apprenticeship Methodology. In addition to traditional classroom experiences, PHC integrates elements of practical professional experience into its curriculum to prepare graduates for the realities of the contemporary workplace. For example, the Government major's Public Policy track implements apprenticeship methodology through a "directed research" component, which establishes relationships between students and outside work sites (congressional offices, political campaigns, etc.), funneling research and writing assignments through faculty members for hands-on monitoring and mentoring.  Some students in the Classical Liberal Arts major students combine their proficiency in classical language with curriculum development as they write an elementary Latin textbook that they use in teaching 8-to-12-year-old students.

Virtue-Centered Campus Life. Patrick Henry College strives to assist students in reaching their highest and best in their relationships with God, their families, and civil society. Virtue, rather than vice, is the goal of campus life.

Classical Liberal Arts Core Curriculum. Patrick Henry College's general education program emphasizes a classical approach to liberal arts education, including biblical studies, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, ancient and modern foreign languages, science, mathematics, Western civilization, American history, and a study of the great works of Western literature. The majors in the Department of Classical Liberal Arts continue these studies.

Outreach to Home Educators. PHC has designed its programs to resonate with the values of the Christian home-school movement; however, this approach is not meant to exclude students who have attended public or Christian schools. PHC is open to all who share our values and approach to higher education. The independent thought, creativity, and strong work ethic which typically characterize homeschooled students are hallmarks of PHC as well.

Nonnegotiable Principles

  1. Patrick Henry College will remain true to the Word of God, as evidenced by our Statement of Faith, our Statement of Biblical Worldview, and the permeating presence of the biblical worldview in every course.
    Our ultimate test of fidelity is to the Word of God — the Holy Bible. However, the College has wisely determined that it is important to establish certain bedrock interpretations of the Word that are not easily changed over time. These interpretations are found in two documents that are central to the College. The Statement of Faith is the most fundamental document of the College. All those associated with the College are required to sign and adhere to the Statement of Faith — students, faculty, staff, and trustees. The Statement of Faith may not be changed except by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees.

    The Statement of Biblical Worldview is an equally critical document, although the group required to adhere to its provisions is much smaller. Only faculty, senior administration, and trustees are required to adhere to the Statement of Biblical Worldview. We do not require students to sign this document at any time. This represents the philosophy of what will be taught, not what is required to be believed by students. Patrick Henry College embraces the practice of open inquiry for students within the boundaries of the Statement of Faith. For faculty, we embrace the principle of academic freedom within the boundaries of both the Statement of Faith and the Statement of Biblical Worldview.

  2. Patrick Henry College is a non-denominational Christian institution.
    The College neither has nor seeks any denominational affiliation. This includes an avoidance of doctrinal stands that divide those within the evangelical community. We identify with those individuals from a great variety of churches and denominations who hold to the principles set forth in our statement of faith. We anticipate that there will be individuals from nearly every Christian denomination who share our interpretation of the essentials of the Christian faith, including a high view of the deity of Jesus Christ, the literal inspiration of the Word of God, and the necessity for individual salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

  3. Patrick Henry College is neither a church, nor a family. We are here to support these two institutions in the lives of our students, not supplant either of them.
    Our support for the local church begins with both our requirement that students attend a local church on Sunday as well as our purposeful decision to not create our own campus church with its own Sunday services. We support the continuing role of the parents in the lives of our students in ways that are unique. For example, we send a copy of the semester grades to parents (when the student is a financial dependent). We also support the parents' role in courtship.

  4. Patrick Henry College offers challenging academics in a model that blends a Christian approach to classical education with real-life experience.
    PHC offers world-class academic excellence in an educational model that embraces both a rigorous, classically-oriented core, together with a rigorous major that includes a full complement of classroom instruction and apprenticeship-based experience in real-life learning in the field of the major.

  5. Patrick Henry College is committed to accountability through the accreditation process provided there is no compromise in biblical principle.

  6. Patrick Henry College seeks to avoid both debt and government funding.

  7. Patrick Henry College will preserve its special relationship with the homeschooling community while actively seeking other students who have attended public and private schools.
    PHC arose out of the Christian homeschooling movement and will seek to continue to be the most homeschooling-friendly college in the nation. However, PHC always welcomes students from other forms of high school education.

  8. We believe that racial discrimination violates both the spirit of the Word of God and the hard lessons learned in the American republic.
    The College's admissions and hiring processes neither ask for nor consider racial information. We have committed ourselves to not discriminate on the basis of gender, national origin, or disability status.

    We choose to limit our student body, board, and staff to those who are committed to our statement of faith. PHC is committed to a non-discriminatory policy in so far as it is consistent with our statement of faith. The practice of homosexual conduct or other extra-marital sexual relations is inconsistent with our faith position.

  9. Patrick Henry College will expect its students to adhere to behavioral standards that are consistent with our Christian foundation.
    While we seek to avoid rules that suggest legalistic righteousness, for the good of institutional order and to convey a message that is consistent with the community we represent, we will always have student rules of conduct that will set us apart from the amoral, secular world.

  10. Patrick Henry College is committed to being a vibrant member of the community of Purcellville, Virginia.
    The College is committed to its current location and will endeavor to be the marquee institution of a wonderful, small town which is strategically located on the edge of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan community. We wish to be a blessing and a participant in the affairs of the Purcellville community.

View the PHC Statement of Faith

Statement of Faith