Teaching Style

A university educates the intellect to reason well in all matters, to reach out towards truth, and to grasp it.
Newman, Idea of a University

We will offer small classes and the sort of tutorial experience normally reserved for students at Oxford and Cambridge, combined with a programme of in-depth seminars and lectures. Our course books, wherever possible, will be original texts so that our students learn directly from the greatest minds in history.

Developing intellectual confidence

Above all students will join a community of learning where they can develop knowledge and understanding in dialogue with our highly qualified faculty of experts. The course structure will enable the student to work, study and debate as a unit. With approximately five students to each member of teaching staff in the first year, the Benedictus student will benefit from a high level of contact and support. Discussion of a primary text, or in front of a work of art, is one of the best means of developing intellectual confidence.

From the time of Socrates, liberal arts education has been based on dialogue led by a master. While lectures, seminars and essay writing all play a part today, Benedictus understands that active discussion remains the best way to draw students in to participate. Our course will be a rare contemporary opportunity to enjoy the timeless benefits of this ancient way of learning, giving the students a greater ownership of their education and demanding of them considered preparation of texts before class where they will encounter questions and arguments. Such active engagement enhances their powers of reason, analysis, and articulation, thereby teaching the fundamental skills necessary for success in any discipline or profession.

The unity of learning

All modules will be taught concurrently so that the disciplines responds to each other. Tutors will highlight the connections that exist between the philosophy, literature and arts of each specific historical period and encourage the students to make fertile cross-references between areas of study, enriching the intellect and giving a solid base for true education. Our tutors will be specially chosen for their wide learning and interdisciplinary backgrounds. Even though they are experts in their own fields, they will have a deep appreciation and understanding of all other areas of the curriculum.



What can you look forward to during a week at Benedictus?

The mornings at Benedictus will be spent in the seminar room, reading and discussing original texts from literature, philosophy and history. Students will have scheduled tutorial meetings to discuss written work or raise further points. Each day there will be a short Latin and an Italian language class. Two or three sessions a week will be dedicated to studying readings in theology.

In the afternoon all students will go out to study and discuss art works in the many galleries and museums of London, concentrating on the vast riches of the British Museum, National Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. We will be attending many of the open concerts and workshops run by the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone and Royal College of Music in Kensington. Building on the mornings in the classroom these visits enable students to engage with art and to learn directly from it.

One full day each week will be spent out of the college visiting sites in and out of London such as the great cathedral cities of York and Durham, important gardens such as Stowe and Stourhead and innovative art collections such as the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at UEA in Norwich.

Each week the students will be set an assessed essay or asked to make a presentation; these will be discussed in tutorial and marked by faculty. There will be termly reports by staff and self-assessment exercises undertaken to monitor the progress of each student.

Each term there will be guest lectures by members of our Academic Advisory Group or other notable scholars, giving students the privilege of hearing world-class academics speak in a small and intimate setting with the chance to meet and discuss ideas with them.