Minerva Schools at KGI

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Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute
Minerva Schools at KGI Seal.png
Seal of Minerva Schools at KGI
Latin: Universitas Minervae
Other name
Minerva Schools at KGI
MottoSapientia Critica
Motto in English
Critical Wisdom
DeanVicki Chandler
Undergraduatesaround 1000
Location, ,
United States
Logo for Minerva Schools at KGI.png

Minerva Schools at KGI is a university program headquartered in San Francisco, California. It is a partnership between the Minerva Project and Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), a member of the Claremont University Consortium.[1][2] It offers both a four-year undergraduate program as well as a master's in science graduate program.[3][4] The Minerva Project is a for-profit corporation that owns the technology platform the school runs on. Minerva Schools at KGI is a non-profit institution that relies on the Minerva Project for services.[5] The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship is a second non-profit arm which provides scholarships for Minerva Schools students, supports the academic research of faculty, and awards the Minerva Prize for teaching excellence.[6][7][8][9]


In April 2012, Minerva Project received US$25,000,000 in venture funding from Benchmark Capital to create the undergraduate program that would become the Minerva Schools at KGI.[2][10] Stephen Kosslyn joined Minerva in March 2013 to serve as Founding Dean. Prior to joining Minerva, Kosslyn served as Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and Dean of Social Sciences at Harvard University. Kosslyn was responsible for hiring the heads of the four colleges in the School of Arts & Science and overseeing the development of Minerva's seminar-based curriculum.[11] In July 2013, Minerva Project partnered with the Keck Graduate Institute to officially launch the Minerva Schools at KGI.[12]

Minerva received WASC regional accreditation for five of its programs: the Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences, the Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Humanities, the Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences, the Bachelor of Science in Computational Sciences, and the Bachelor of Science in Business.[13]

Minerva admitted its first class in 2014. The school offered places to 69 students, out of 2,464 applications. 29 students matriculated in and granted 69 acceptances resulting in a 2.8% acceptance rate and a 42% yield.

Starting in 2016, Minerva expanded into postgraduate education by offering a Master of Science in Decision Analysis.[14][4]

In 2017, the school had a 2% acceptance rate and a 57% yield.[15]

In 2020, Minerva created its Visiting Scholars year. The one-year program, completed remotely, offers the four Cornerstone Courses (see Pedagogy) to students accepted into a leading college or university who face challenges attending in residence for the 2020-21 academic year due to COVID-19.[16]

Academic departments[edit]

Under its first accreditation plan, Minerva's primary academic institution was its School of Arts and Sciences, which included the College of Social Sciences, the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Computational Sciences, and the College of Arts and Humanities. When the Bachelor of Science in Business was approved by WASC, it led to the creation of the School (and College) of Business. In May 2018, the schools were restructured into two divisions: the Division of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Business and Computational Sciences.

In late 2015, Minerva's Master of Science in Decision Analysis received approval and regional accreditation.[17] This led to the creation of the Graduate Division, which is currently overseen by Joshua Fost, PhD.

Professors are trained to use Minerva's proprietary learning platform, the Minerva Forum™.[18] Faculty retain intellectual property rights to their research.[18][19]


Courses are conducted as online seminars capped at 19 students. Minerva applies a 1972 study[20] that shows that memory is enhanced by “deep” cognitive tasks. Such tasks include working with materials, applying it, and arguing about it instead of rote memorization. All classes begin with a short quiz and end with a second one later in the class, that is claimed to increase retention. The automated recording of student performance allows tracking of progress.

Students initially take four “Cornerstone Courses” that introduce "Habits of Mind" and "Foundational Concepts" that cut across the sciences and humanities. The four "Cornerstone Courses" are Empirical Analyses, Formal Analyses, Complex Systems, and Multimodal Communications. In Empirical Analyses, students learn about evaluating and analyzing scientific methods and use that knowledge to build problem-solving proposal. In Formal Analyses, students learn to evaluate and perform data, and perform design thinking skills using game theory and classification method. In a humanities class, students learn the classical techniques of rhetoric and develop basic persuasive skills. Finally, in social science class, students learn about the characteristics of complex systems (which represent our humanity interaction), and leaderships, self-awareness, and negotiation. Minerva encourages students to use massive open online courses to learn what is typically taught in first-year courses.[18]


Minerva maintains one residence hall in San Francisco, California on Market Street, as well as ones in Berlin,[21] and Buenos Aires,[22] Seoul,[23] Hyderabad.,[24] London, and Taipei.[25]

Minerva has no classroom facilities, since all classes are conducted through an active learning platform developed by the school, where students participate in seminar classes of up to 19 people.[26][27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jackson, Abby. "This college startup has a 1.9% acceptance rate, making it tougher to get into than Harvard". BusinessInsider. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Farr, Christina (6 January 2014). "This entrepreneur is trying to create a 'perfect university' to displace Harvard & Yale". VentureBeat. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Academic Programs | Minerva Schools at KGI". www.minerva.kgi.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  4. ^ a b "Minerva Master of Science Graduate Program". www.minerva.kgi.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  5. ^ https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-05-10-three-years-in-minerva-s-founder-on-for-profits-selectivity-and-his-critics
  6. ^ "Minerva Institute". www.minerva.kgi.edu. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  7. ^ "Eric Mazur wins Minerva Prize". Harvard Gazette. 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  8. ^ Lewin, Tamar. "Minerva Project Announces Annual $500,000 Prize for Professors". Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  9. ^ "Harvard physics professor wins $500,000 Minerva prize for teaching innovation - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  10. ^ Buchanan, Leigh (Oct 30, 2012). "A True Elite Education at Half the Price". Archived from the original on 10 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Minerva Project Names Dr. Stephen M. Kosslyn as Founding Dean" (PDF). Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Minerva Project and KGI Partner to Launch the Minerva Schools at KGI" (PDF). Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences". Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Minerva Schools at KGI Offer New Master of Science In Applied Analyses and Decision Making". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  15. ^ Schools, Minerva (2017-06-23). "A Letter From Founder Ben Nelson to the Minerva Community". Medium. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  16. ^ "Minerva Visiting Scholars Year". www.minerva.kgi.edu. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  17. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Schools at KGI Introduce a Master's in Applied Arts and Sciences Program". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  18. ^ a b c Wood, Graeme (August 13, 2014). "The Future of College?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  19. ^ Roush, Wade (18 April 2014). "Minerva's Plan to Disrupt Universities: A Talk With CEO Ben Nelson". Xconomy. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  20. ^ Craik, F. I. M.; Lockhart, R. S. (1972). "Levels of processing: A framework for memory research". Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. 11 (6): 671. doi:10.1016/S0022-5371(72)80001-X.
  21. ^ Minerva (2017-01-31), Global Immersion: Berlin, retrieved 2018-07-03
  22. ^ Minerva (2017-05-09), Global Immersion: Buenos Aires, retrieved 2018-07-03
  23. ^ Minerva (2018-01-26), Global Immersion: Seoul, retrieved 2018-07-03
  24. ^ The Minerva Quest (2018-05-12), Cross-Class Vlog: End of Hyderabad, retrieved 2018-07-03
  25. ^ "Minerva Schools at KGI". www.minerva.kgi.edu. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  26. ^ Minerva (2015-09-24), Active Learning Forum: A New Way to Learn (short film), retrieved 2018-07-03
  27. ^ "DE SIG@Duke presents The Minerva Active Learning Forum | DukeAHEAD". dukeahead.duke.edu. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  28. ^ "BrightSparks E-magazine". brightsparks.com.sg. Retrieved 2018-07-03.

External links[edit]