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Principia College

United States
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Institution type Private

About Principia College

Principia students, faculty, and staff come from many different countries and an even greater variety of backgrounds, but they share one thing in common: Christian Science. The College is not affiliated with the Christian Science Church, and Christian Science is not taught as a subject, but its principles form the basis of community life at Principia. Faculty and students alike strive to see themselves and each other as unlimited expressions of God. As a result, expectations are high, but so is the support community members provide each other.

If you’re looking for a top-notch liberal arts education in a community where practicing Christian Science is the way of life, Principia College is the place for you.

Campus information

Campus is elegant but not stuffy; it’s big but feels cozy. You can easily walk or bike across its core, but beyond that are hundreds of acres to explore—2,600 of them.
Our indoor spaces are impressive, too. The older buildings are stunning, thanks to renowned architect Bernard Maybeck. Some have vaulted ceilings and fireplaces so big you can stand in them while you roast marshmallows.
We’ve got more modern buildings, too. Our newest is the Coach Crafton Athletic Center with state-of-the-art facilities, including two weight rooms, an indoor track, a pole vault pit, a golf/batting cage, basketball/volleyball courts, and an eight-lane, 40-meter stretch pool with a separate diving well. Put the old and the new together, and you’ve got space for just about anything from recreation to reflection, from Sunday evening hymn sings to movie night on the Chapel green.

Principia College is located in Elsah, Illinois, 12 miles north of Alton, off the Great River Road, Route 100. To reach the campus entrance, turn right at Elsah Road, bearing right to Mill Street. Go halfway through the village of Elsah to the first stop sign. Turn right and go up the hill.

If using GPS, the coordinates for the gatehouse are: Latitude: 38.9555, Longitude: -90.3475


Dorms at Principia College are more like big houses. The famous architect Bernard Maybeck designed a number of them, so it’s like living in a very functional work of art.  

Size contributes to our strong sense of community, too.  Principia students know each other—and their professors—as individuals. And almost all students live on campus, so it’s easy to meet up for meals or study breaks or just to chill. One of the best things about a residential campus is that conversations roam all over the map. Discussion in a philosophy class continues over dinner and gets picked up again during a late-night cookie break.  

Freshmen start off in freshman housing, but by sophomore year students join different houses––all of which have their own character. Each house has its own resident counselor, along with a system of student government to oversee every house activity from social events to intramural athletics and new student orientation. All student houses include a computer lab, laundry facilities, a kitchen, and academic and Christian Science study rooms.


Courses available 10

Applied, Pure Sciences 3 Business, Management 1 Computer Science, IT 1 Creative Arts & Design 2 Humanities & Social Sciences 3


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