At Patrick Henry College, students receive a broad-based baccalaureate education that stresses content, the imitation of excellence, the pursuit of knowledge, and the exercise of the whole range of talents that God has given, in the light of the truth that He has revealed in the inerrant Bible.
The 63-credit core curriculum plus foreign language proficiency—consisting of courses in logic, rhetoric, philosophy, mathematics, geometry, music, science, history, literature, theology, apologetics, economics, foreign languages, constitutional law, and political theory—lays a common foundation for advanced learning in each of seven major programs. Within the context of the classical liberal arts as a time-tested framework, courses mirror the trivium's emphasis on knowledge (grammar), understanding (logic), and application (rhetoric).
A PHC student culminates his degree with an internship that applies the "rhetoric" of creative performance in the field of study. Regardless of major, students are invited to explore the interconnectedness of all the disciplines, reflecting the truth that in Christ "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).
The Mission of Patrick Henry College is to prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding. Educating students according to a classical liberal arts curriculum and training them with apprenticeship methodology, the College provides academically excellent baccalaureate level higher education with a biblical worldview.
Patrick Henry College was founded in 2000 with a vision to restore America by educating the best and brightest Christian young people to take their place as future leaders of the nation and its culture. The founder of the College, constitutional attorney Michael Farris, had established the Home School Legal Defense Association in the 1980s. Home-school parents frequently asked him about colleges: Where was a college they could trust for Biblical teaching, academic rigor, and a nurturing spiritual environment for their gifted young students? In the late 1990s Farris concluded that there was both a need and an opportunity for a college like Patrick Henry College.
A unique curriculum was designed, featuring an extensive core in the classical liberal arts and also an apprenticeship component, thus giving students both a strong academic foundation and practical experience in their fields.
With initial funding provided by the HSLDA and a handful of generous individual donors, Patrick Henry College opened its doors in the fall of 2000 with 8 faculty members and 87 students. Dr. Farris was the president, and government was the only major offered, taking advantage of the many internships and other apprenticeship opportunities in the nation’s capital, which is within commuting distance from the campus at Purcellville, Virginia.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) granted Patrick Henry College the authority to grant Bachelor of Arts degrees, and in the years ahead approved additional academic programs from both the Department of Government and the Department of Classical Liberal Arts. The college began attracting national attention for the quality of its academic programs, its Moot Court championships, and the reputation of its interns on Capitol Hill.
In April 2006, Dr. Farris assumed the office of Chancellor, and Graham Walker was named the college’s second president. In April 2007, the college received accreditation by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
The Barbara Hodel Center—featuring dining commons, coffee house, gymnasium, exercise facilities, classrooms, and offices—was opened in the Fall of 2009, greatly enhancing the Student Life offerings on campus. This also allowed for a major library expansion when the former dining hall was converted into a second floor of the library. Finally, in 2015, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Jack W. Haye as the College's third president.
Patrick Henry College continues its track record of giving high-achieving Christian students a stellar education, equipping them, in the words of the college mission statement, to “lead the nation and shape the culture,” not in a quest for power, but in a spirit of service that is motivated by the love of Christ.
Enrollment (Fall 2015) – 294 degree-seeking students, most of whom live in the College’s colonial-style residence halls; 84% fall-to-fall retention rate.
Admissions - A rigorous application process emphasizing academic preparation, community outreach and civic involvement, faith and purpose, and analytical/writing skills. ♦ Entrance examination scores for full-time, first-time freshmen in Fall 2015 had a mid-range of 1150-1400 for the SAT (single iteration, Math+Critical Reading) and with Critical Writing a mid-range of 1750-2098. ♦ 50% of students scored between 620-738 on Critical Reading (674 average), 515-670 on Math (594 average), and 580-708 on Writing (641 average).
Student Body – Compared to freshmen at baccalaureate institutions nationwide, freshmen at PHC are 49% more likely to have studied/worked on homework eleven or more hours a week, 40% more likely to discuss course content outside of class, and 26% more likely to read for pleasure three or more hours per week (source: HERI’s CIRP Freshman Survey© and The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 2013). ♦ Overall student satisfaction is consistently higher than the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) mean for private, 4-year institutions by a statistically significant difference (source: Noel Levitz’s Student Satisfaction Inventory©, Fall 2013). ♦ Commencing seniors in May 2014 received a mean score of 477.28 on the ETS Proficiency Profile (ETS PP)—a score higher than each of the mean senior scores from the other 306 participating institutions (source: non-PHC scores were retrieved from ETS's PP website on May 19,2014; comparative reports for seniors, all institution types, January 2008 through June 2013).
Graduates – Since its founding in 2000, the College has graduated 735 students. Alumni have attended top-tier law schools including Harvard University, Yale University, the College of William & Mary, Duke University, and the University of Virginia, as well as respected graduate programs in other fields at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, and The Catholic University of America, inter alia. They hold positions ranging from associate producers at news outlets, editors at publishing companies, and teachers at classical Christian schools to law clerks, legislative assistants, and analysts at intelligence agencies and other federal departments. Data provided by responding alumni five years after Commencement indicates that only 1.9% were looking for employment and 86.4% owed no debt for their PHC education (source: Alumni Five Year Post BA Survey Summary, 2014). Additionally, alumni surveyed one year after Commencement report that 82% who applied to a graduate or professional degree program were accepted to one of their top three desired programs (2014 Alumni One Year Post BA Survey Summary).
Patrick Henry College has 26 full-time faculty, 24 of whom possess earned terminal degrees in their field; PHC's faculty includes prolific scholars and experienced practitioners, such as:
Dr. Frank Guliuzza, President of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, author of several books, article and law review writer, and four-time recipient of "Outstanding Teaching in Political Science" by the American Political Science Association.
Dr. Gordon Middleton, Doctor of Strategic Leadership, retired Colonel from the U.S. Air Force with 28 years of commissioned service, holder of numerous Air Force and Joint military decorations, and author.
Dr. Marvin Olasky, well-known conservative scholar, cultural commentator, author of more than 20 books, and editor-in-chief of World Magazine.
A complete list of faculty is available by clicking here.
Patrick Henry College offers academically excellent baccalaureate level education in seven majors:
Classical Liberal Arts – Students study classics, history, literature, philosophy, and biblical studies; apprenticeships provide contextual learning in the development of practical skills from content area expertise.
Economics & Business Analytics – Students study economics, calculus and statistics, ethics, and business-related courses. A substantial co-operative component through an off-campus partner company will provide valuable experience and the application of economics principles and analytics to the study of a particular business, preparing students for the business world, graduate school, or public policy fields.
Government– Students begin with required introductory courses and numerous specialized courses in four areas of emphasis (American Politics & Policy, International Politics & Policy, Political Theory, and Strategic Intelligence) all of which invite students to interact with historic and contemporary political thinkers, discipline classics, and primary sources. Students receive guidance from faculty in conducting research and writing projects and on-the-job, applied training from field specialists.
History– Students take advanced courses in American, European, and World history, as well as historical research and historiography. With an emphasis on graduate school preparation, they engage in specialized research under the guidance of history faculty.
Journalism– Tracks in Political Journalism and Liberal Arts provide students with extensive writing experience, developing professional competency in a variety of core journalistic tasks and exploring how the historical and Christian foundations of journalism shape contemporary practice.
Literature– Students engage in rigorous discussion and workshop criticism, interacting extensively with critical scholars as they study linguistics, theory, genre, and major historic and contemporary authors; students read and write literary criticism as well as their own creative and scholarly works under the supervision of published authors and critics.
Strategic Intelligence in National Security– Students in this program are provided with a rigorous and systematic study of the intelligence discipline and equipped to influence the intelligence and national security endeavors of the United States.
Patrick Henry College also offers a variety of minors that can be integrated into the major course of study:
Biblical Studies– The Biblical Studies minor is designed for students who may be called to serve in full-time ministry or a service area, such as para-church organizations (educational, missions, or non-profit).
Classics– Students emerge from the Classics minor thoroughly trained in Greek, Latin, and Greek and Roman history, art, and literature. The Classics Minor prepares students for graduate school in Classics, or simply to possess a traditional classical education that has dominated Western civilization for thousands of years.
History– The History minor offers students the opportunity to enrich their education with the discipline of history. Students emerge from the History minor thoroughly trained in research methods, historiography, and the histories of a variety of eras and locales.
Journalism– The Journalism Minor prepares students of any major to write for news and other non-fiction publications. Students will develop basic writing and reporting skills and be introduced to key concepts that will help them develop a biblically-based understanding of journalism.
Music– The Music Minor offers specialized instruction and experience in music, reinforcing and building on the solid foundation of the liberal arts core. The courses in the Music Minor offer experience in Music Theory, Aural Skills, Conducting, Music Pedagogy, and Art and Worship in the Church.
Philosophy– Students in the Philosophy Minor take four foundational philosophy courses: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, and Ethics. Students emerge with a foundational understanding of both historical and contemporary philosophy. They are prepared for a variety of vocations rooted in the liberal arts such as philosophy, law, writing, and public policy.
Internships– Patrick Henry College's location, 50 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., presents ample internship and scholarship opportunities for students, who consistently are offered internships in the executive branch of government, U.S. Congress, an array of think tanks and non-profits,Washington Times, National Geographic, USA Today, NBC and Fox affiliates, Defense Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, National Archives, published authors, private K-12 classical schools, and many others.
Intercollegiate & Intramural Culture – Students participate in an array of intercollegiate scholarship and educational opportunities, including award-winning delegations at National Model United Nations (NMUN), fellowships with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), and championship forensics with the National Forensics Association (NFA), Collegiate Forensics Association (CFA), National Christian College Forensics Association (NCCFA), National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), and American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA). Intramural activities include an active Student Government Association, drama troupe, chorale, and numerous student-run organizations ranging from filmmaking teams to literary societies. Campus-wide events include daily Chapel, biannual Faith & Reason Lectures, and weekly discussion groups with faculty.
Others including the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA, accredited member), National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and Association of Christians in Student Development (ACSD)