|Number of Traditional Undergraduates||407|
|Location||Santa Paula, CA|
|Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board)||$32,450 (this cost has been frozen for the past five years)|
|Net Price (learn more)||$22,483|
|Number of Majors||1|
|Median High School GPA||3.72|
Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.
Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?
Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.
On average, the six-year graduation rate is 79%.
As noted by USA Today/College Factual in their 2015-16 rankings, most Thomas Aquinas students graduate in 4.1 years; nationally, the average is closer to five or six years.
Graduates are accepted to a wide variety of prestigious graduate and professional schools including Boston College, Columbia University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and University of Notre Dame.
2 graduates are recipients of the Pontifical Prize of the Academies.
A number of graduates are Rhodes and Fulbright scholarship recipients.
U.S. News ranks Thomas Aquinas College #2 in the Nation for Alumni Giving; the giving rate is more than quadruple the national average, reflecting a high degree of alumni satisfaction.
Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.
In its 2018 Best 380 Colleges, The Princeton Review ranked Thomas Aquinas College 96 for academics, 94 for quality of life, and 99 for financial aid. (In this scoring system, 99 is the best possible score.)
In its “What Will They Learn?” study of over 1,000 colleges nationwide, ACTA gave TAC an “A” grade for its core curriculum; further, TAC was among only 4 colleges in the country to receive a perfect grade for requiring study in all 7 core disciplines.
Kiplinger Personal Finance has ranked Thomas Aquinas College No. 22 on its list of the “Top 300 Best College Values of 2016,” designating the College No. 12 among all liberal arts colleges in the United States.
U.S. News ranked TAC in its top tier for all liberal arts schools and in its “Top 10” among liberal arts colleges for “Least Debt.”
Additional Academic Quality information, clarification or description (optional)
Thomas Aquinas College is unique among American colleges and universities. It offers a single academic program: an integrated, non-elective curriculum rooted in the Western, Catholic intellectual tradition. The greatest books in that tradition, both ancient and modern, replace textbooks; careful inquiry in small tutorials, seminars, and laboratories replaces lectures. The curriculum challenges students and faculty alike to disciplined scholarship in the arts and sciences — indispensable for critical judgment and genuine wisdom.
It also provides a strong Catholic liturgical and sacramental environment conducive to spiritual growth, with rules of residence that support the good moral order appropriate for the pursuit of truth.
Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?
Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?
Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?
Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?
Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):
Dr. Anthony Andres — Editor, The Aquinas Review
Dr. David Appleby – Specialist in Medieval History and Editor of On the Shoulders of Giants (Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies, Toronto, 2015)
Dr. Michael Augros – Author of Who Designed the Designer? (Ignatius Press, 2015)
Dr. Glen Coughlin — President of The Society for Aristotelian-Thomistic Studies
Dr. Andrew Seeley — Executive Director of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
Additional Faculty information, clarification or description (optional):
Our teaching faculty members carry a relatively heavy load and must be able to teach outside of their field of specialization, ideally across our curriculum.
Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?
No. We have no departments at all. But theology is required all four years and is the ordering principle of our entire curriculum.
Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?
Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?
Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?
Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?
Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:
–Sacred Scripture (2 Semesters)
–The Fathers of the Church (2 Semesters)
Principal Doctrines and Mysteries of the Faith — studied chiefly through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. (4 Semesters)
All theology courses are taught by Catholic members of the teaching faculty who hold a mandatum.
Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.
It is the ordering principle of our entire curriculum, the discipline to which all the others are ordered.
Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:
All students are required to take all the courses.
Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:
How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?
146 credits 100%
Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?
If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?
See above. Theology is required every semester, for a total of 8 semesters.
Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?
List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:
What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?
Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?
Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?
If yes, please describe:
Our Friday Night Lecture and Concert Series includes lectures on theological questions.
Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?
If yes, please describe.
The faculty is required to be able to teach across the entire curriculum. To facilitate this, the College has a number of programs/processes that engage tutors with one another:
The entire faculty considers and approves alterations to the curriculum.
Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?
Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?
On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year?
Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?
Yes. During the week, Mass is offered four times a day: 7:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. Confessions are heard before and after each Mass.
On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?
Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?
Yes. It is offered daily — the first Mass of the day.
Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?
Yes. The Ordinary form is offered in English and Latin, and the Extraordinary form in Latin.
Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?
Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):
NO = Novus Ordo
EF = Extraordinary Form
7:15 am (EF) — Chant
9:00 am (NO) — Polyphony and chant
11:30 am (NO) — occasionally polyphony/chant
Monday – Thursday
7:00 am (EF), 11:30 am (NO), 5:00 pm (NO), 10:00 pm (NO)
7:00 am (EF), 11:30 am (NO), 5:00 pm (NO)
7:15 am (EF), 11:30 am (NO)
Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?
List the schedule for Confession by day and time:
Before and after every mass and on request, any time.
Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?
List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:
After the last Mass on Sundays. (12:30 – 2:00 p.m.)
Before the Last Mass on Saturdays. (10:30 — 11:30 a.m.
After the 5:00 pm Mass Monday-Friday. )5:30 — 6:30 p.m.
Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:
Rosary prayed nightly
Nightly consecration to the Sacred Heart said in each dorm at curfew, 11:00 p.m.
24 hour Adoration on First Friday
Legion of Mary praesidia meets regularly
Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?
Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:
Our chaplains schedule vocations talks throughout the year given by representatives of dioceses and religious orders across the country.
In addition, chaplains schedule discernment evenings throughout the year for those considering a vocation to the priesthood and/or religious life
If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?
Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.
Yes. There are 68 ordained alumni of TAC and 44 religious sisters and brothers who are TAC alumni.
Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):
Four chaplains live on campus and are available at all times for spiritual direction.
Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:
All students live in single-sex dormitories on campus unless granted special permission; all married students live off campus.
Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?
Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):
X All students
Any Student who wishes
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?
When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?
Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)
How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?
Alcohol is only allowed to those of age at supervised events on campus. It is not allowed to be consumed in the dorms or any other parts of the campus at any time for any reason. Illegal drugs are not allowed at any time.
How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?
Residence Halls are always off limits to the opposite sex. True charity is promoted on campus at all sorts of events and venues, from the pulpit to the informal dorm talks, and encouraged by a dress code that promotes modesty.
Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?
If yes, please describe:
Evening Prayer in every dorm every night. All students are invited and most attend.
Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…
foster spiritual development:
Spiritual Direction is available from four chaplains throughout the year.
engage in corporal works of mercy:
Pro-Life group prays weekly;
Legion of Mary visits nursing home weekly;
Group of students who 1) Teach CCD at a local parish and 2) Run the local youth group at another parish.
Canned food drives
address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):
A campus therapist, four resident chaplains, a Resident Assistant, and the Assistant Dean are each available to students for some level of counsel respective to their station.
address issues of social concern:
Two student activity directors, two student Sports Activity Directors, 18 student prefects, the women’s Resident Assistant, and the Assistant Dean work together to address social concerns and facilitate a healthy community life.
address particular academic interests:
The Dean, an instructional committee, and the teaching faculty work together to address particular academic interests. Each student is given an academic advisor for the time they are enrolled. Extra-curricular academics are largely student driven, but many professors lead extra seminars and discussions.
address particular cultural interests:
There is a great love and appreciation for great music at TAC. There is a College Choir and student-run choir.
There is also a board member sponsored series of art museum outings to local venues (e.g., The Getty, The Huntington, the Norton Simon Museums)
provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:
There are two student sports Directors who work with the Assistant Dean to provide intramural sports to the student body.
Please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:
A political club (The Tocqueville Political Society), a drama club (The St. Genesius Players), a math club, several student choirs (e.g., Chrysostomos), the Barber Shop Quartet, orchestral ensembles,
the Pro-life Group, the Third Order Dominicans, Opus Dei Circle, language clubs (Greek, French, Spanish…)
Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?
How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?
We have not had to deal with this, but should it arise, we would countenance only those in accord with Catholic teaching.
Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?
Additional Student Activities information, clarification or description (optional):
We do not encourage student clubs and activities that do not relate directly to our studies. Our program is rigorous and requires a great deal of the students’ attention. The activities that we do promote are those that provide the students with healthy breaks from their academic activities, that is, they are expected to be “re-creative,” so that when done, students are able to return their attention to their studies. Our belief is that by giving students a solid intellectual formation in a contemplative environment, they will be prepared to engage in more active endeavors after their graduation, if they choose to pursue them.
Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?
Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?
Our founding and governing document preceded Ex Corde Ecclesiae by 20 years, yet there is a high degree of similarity between the two.
Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?
What is your institution’s mission statement:
Our mission statement is A Proposal for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education, our founding and governing document.
Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”
We do not have a written policy, but we give a platform only to those Catholics who fully embrace the teachings of the Church.
How does your institution address student and faculty invitations to speakers and honorees who have publicly opposed or acted contrary to Catholic moral teaching?
We do not invite them.
Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):
Total number of undergraduates: 370
Male: 51% Female: 49%
Catholic: 97% Other Christian: 1%
Number of states represented: 40
Top three states: CA, AZ, WI
Students from top three states: 46%
Catholic HS: 31% Homeschool: 50%
Private HS: 5% Public HS: 12%
Most up-to-date information provided by the College.
Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.
Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?
Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?
Yes. All are practicing Catholics.
Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?
Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?
Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?
Additional Leadership information, clarification or description (optional):
Prospective members of our Board of Governors are asked to read our lengthy founding and governing document (found here on our website: http://www.thomasaquinas.edu/about/founding-governing-document) and will only be given further consideration for membership on the Board if they embrace the views stated in that document.
A message from the president.
Dear Parents and Prospective Students:
Thomas Aquinas College is unique among American colleges and universities. We hold with confidence that the human mind is capable of knowing the truth about reality, that living according to the truth is necessary for happiness, and that truth is best comprehended through the harmonious work of faith and reason. We understand the intellectual virtues to be essential to the life of reason, and we consider the cultivation of those virtues to be the primary work of student and teacher.
The College has operated a campus in Southern California since 1971. In the fall of 2019, it will open a second campus in New England, in the town of Northfield in Western Massachusetts. On both campuses, the College offers a single academic program: an integrated, non-elective curriculum rooted in the Western, Catholic intellectual tradition. The greatest books in that tradition, both ancient and modern, replace textbooks; careful inquiry in small tutorials, seminars, and laboratories replaces lectures. The curriculum challenges students and faculty alike to disciplined scholarship in the arts and sciences — indispensable for critical judgment and genuine wisdom.
Thomas Aquinas College also provides a strong Catholic liturgical and sacramental environment conducive to spiritual growth while its rules of residence support the good moral order appropriate for those engaged in the pursuit of truth.
Please visit our website at www.thomasaquinas.edu to learn more about our unique program of genuine Catholic liberal education.
Michael F. McLean, Ph.D.