Minerva has demonstrated that a university can teach relevant, broadly applicable systems of thinking rather than merely certifying short-term recall of information. The outcomes demonstrated by Minerva University are unprecedented across learning retention, breadth of application, and in career and postgraduate education. These results are even more profound given the socio-economic background of many incoming Minerva University students. Because of Minerva’s results and its sector-wide leadership, thousands of educators and dozens of educational institutions from around the world have looked to Minerva as a beacon of education reform.
Since its founding class in Fall 2014, Minerva has enrolled students from 80 countries, distributed all across the world, with no more than 15 percent from any one of the world’s 13 geographical regions. About 44% of students come from families with an annual household income of under $25,000. About 80% require financial aid to enable them to attend Minerva despite Minerva’s comparatively low costs. We must raise funds from philanthropy to provide financial support for our students. Minerva’s operating model is lean to keep tuition and fees low so that the education is as affordable as possible. Minerva intentionally does not own buildings or provide extra perquisites that do not serve all students or promote student learning and growth. Costs are half or less than that charged by other private, nonprofit US universities. Minerva has chosen not to participate in US federal financial aid programs because of the low proportion of US students and the costs and constraints associated with federal aid.
Our academic philosophy is student-oriented. To prepare the world’s future leaders, problem solvers, and innovators, Minerva University has completely reimagined the curriculum and teaching methodology, so that students learn the intellectual skills and knowledge needed in our rapidly changing, globalized environment. It centers on imparting practical knowledge that prepares you for success in any career you pursue — even one that does not yet exist. Instead of the traditional emphasis on information dissemination, Minerva focuses on developing your abilities to think critically and creatively, to communicate effectively, and to work well with others. Together, the habits of mind and foundational concepts (HCs) form the basis of what we teach in all fields of study. Upon graduation, students are prepared to succeed even in jobs not yet imagined, as they are equipped to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Based on decades of cognitive and behavioral research into how people best learn, Minerva University’s pedagogy employs strategies that actively and fully engage students in their learning in every class session and result in dramatic learning gains. Our academic offerings were built from the ground up to incorporate methods that promote deep and long-lasting learning and the ability to recall and apply learning to new situations. Minerva University has no lectures, and all classes are small with no more than 20 students, who prepare in advance and contribute meaningfully in every class session. They are guided by highly skilled and trained professors who are experts in the science of learning and devoted to student learning and success. Instruction is supported by Forum, a learning platform that facilitates active learning strategies and enables us to assess and track student learning and provide feedback to students every week.
Minerva‘s students, who come from 80 different countries, participate in a global rotation that includes a semester in each of seven major cities — in San Francisco and six other countries. Students not only develop intercultural competency and learn about several parts of the world, but they also apply what they are learning in class by participating in experiential projects. For example, students in San Francisco have worked on community projects to address homelessness; completed urban sustainability projects in Berlin; worked with North Korean refugees in Seoul; designed plans to promote high school completion in rural areas outside Buenos Aires. Students also study and immerse themselves in Hyderabad, Taipei, and London. Students live in the heart of each city, using the city as their campus; they are not cloistered away, but have an authentic life experience in each city. Through the global rotation, students also develop an openness to other ways of being and learn to collaborate across cultures, an essential skill for leaders to have impact in our increasingly global environment.
Our ~400 alumni have demonstrated the efficacy of the Minerva model by excelling in internships while students and after graduation in their work and further learning. More than 95% held at least one substantial internship as students. Despite the vicissitudes of the economy and the effects of the global pandemic over the last two years, Minerva graduates have succeeded in finding the right next step in their lives and careers and are starting to make a contribution to the common good. Because of their highly developed intellectual, creative and problem-solvIng skills, Minerva alumni thrive in all kinds of work and academic environments and settings. They are pursuing their passions, while making a meaningful impact on their organizations and the world. For example, 75% of 2019 and 2020 graduates are employed in positions at Google, Amazon, Softbank, Tesla, Salesforce, Palantir, Zhen Fund, Morgan Stanley, and other companies; at nonprofits such as Innovations for Poverty Action, Loss and Damage Youth Coalition, Color of Change, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Common Mission Project, and Avesta Housing. More than 13% are attending grad school at Harvard, Cambridge, Brown, Princeton, University of Chicago, University of California Berkeley, Stanford, Oxford, Columbia, and Penn and other fine universities.
Minerva University is funded by individuals, foundations, corporations, and organizations who share the mission of nurturing critical wisdom for the sake of the world.