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.
Enrollment (Fall 2019) – 311 students, most of whom live in the College’s colonial-style residence halls; 85% fall-to-fall retention rate; 90% fall-to-fall retention rate of the first-year freshmen cohort
Graduates – Since its founding in 2000, the College has graduated over 980 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 (click here for additional graduate and law schools). 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.
The 4-year graduation rate is 61% (2015 cohort); the 6-year graduation rate is 64% (2013 cohort). Data provided by responding alumni one year after Commencement indicates 100% of graduates were happily employed or in graduate school (source: Alumni One Year Post BA Survey Summary, 2018). In a survey administered 5 years after graduation, 63% of alumni had applied to graduate/law schools, of which 95% were accepted and 89% enrolled in one of their top three choices (2019 Alumni Five-Year Post-BA Survey). The College does not offer and does not calculate placement rates for certificate programs or programs leading to licensure.
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 2019 had a mid-range of 1220-1410 for the SAT (single iteration, Math+Critical Reading) ♦ The middle 50% of students score in Critical Reading were between 658-750 (693 average) and 548-670 in Math (615 average)
Student Learning Outcomes – Commencing seniors in May 2018 received a mean score of 475.03 on the ETS Proficiency Profile (ETS PP)—a mean higher than 98% of the other 243 participating institutions. Average student sub-scores in Critical Thinking, Reading, Writing, Humanities, and Social Sciences were in the 99th percentile (source: comparative reports for seniors, all institution types, over 5 years ending June 30, 2018). As a measurements of information literacy, 2018 commencing seniors scored nearly 20% higher on Project SAILS (ACRL) than the mean national average, which included over 200 institutions.
Institutional Outcomes – Additional goals and outcomes for student achievement are available here.
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.
Patrick Henry College has 20 full-time faculty, 18 of whom possess earned terminal degrees in their field; PHC's faculty includes prolific scholars and experienced practitioners. A complete list of faculty is available by clicking here.
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).
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. This is one of two programs at PHC recommended for Pre-Med students.
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.
Environmental Science & Stewardship – Studying biology, chemistry, physics, hydrology, statistics, geology, ecology, calculus, and more, students in the ESS major are equipped to fulfill their divinely appointed role as stewards of the Creation who apply multi-disciplinary solutions to environmental problems. Optional tracks include Law & Policy, Science Pedagogy, and Pre-Med.
Government– Students begin with required introductory courses and numerous specialized courses in four areas of emphasis (American Politics & Policy, International Politics & Policy, Political Philosophy, 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, Journalism Entrepreneurship, 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. Students in this major may opt for a track in Cyber & Artificial Intelligence.
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)