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 500
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% admission rate and a 57% acceptance yield.[15]


Stephen Kosslyn, Founding Dean Emeritus, was responsible for hiring the first four heads of the School of Arts & Science:[16][17]

  • Dr. Diane F. Halpern as Dean Emerita, Social Sciences[18]
  • Dr. Eric Bonabeau as Dean Emerita, Computational Sciences[19]
  • Dr. James D. Sterling as Dean Emerita, Natural Sciences[20]
  • Dr. Daniel Levitin as Dean Emerita, Arts & Humanities[21]

In January 2015, Minerva announced the hiring of Dr. Vicki Chandler as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.[22] Chandler was previously the Chief Program Officer of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and a Professor in the Departments of Plant Sciences and the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona. In January 2018, Chandler was promoted to Chief Academic Officer.

In January 2016, Dr. Richard Holman was announced as Dean of the College of Computational Sciences.[23] Later that same year, in November, the hiring of Dr. Brian Ross as Dean of the College of Social Sciences, and Dr. John Percival as Dean of the College of Business was also announced.[24] In May 2018, the colleges were group into two divisions: the Division of Arts and Sciences, led by Dr. Ross, and the Division of Business and Computational Sciences, led by Dr. Holman.

Professors are trained to use Minerva's proprietary learning platform, the Active Learning Forum.[22] Faculty retain intellectual property rights to their research.[22][25]


Courses are conducted as online seminars capped at 19 students. Minerva applies a 1972 study[26] that shows that memory is enhanced by “deep” cognitive tasks. Such tasks include working with material, 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. In a science class, for example, students develop an understanding of the need for controlled experiments. In a humanities class, they learn the classical techniques of rhetoric and develop basic persuasive skills. The curriculum then builds from that foundation. Minerva encourages students to use massive open online courses to learn what is typically taught in first-year courses.[22]

According to its Dean of Faculty, Stephen Kosslyn, Minerva has administered CLA+ tests on its own students and these results indicate that its pedagogy is working. Kossyln writes: "In fall 2016, Minerva freshmen performed in the 95th percentile compared to freshmen at other schools — we are highly selective, and expected a result like this. That same group, when compared to college seniors, performed at the 78th percentile as incoming freshmen. Then, by spring 2017, just 8 months later, those same Minerva freshmen performed at the 99th percentile when compared to the seniors at all the other institutions. But more than that: Minerva was ranked number 1 of all schools that administered the test."[27]


Minerva maintains two residence halls in San Francisco, California, one in the Nob Hill neighborhood and one on Market Street, as well as ones in Berlin,[28] and Buenos Aires,[29] Seoul,[30], Hyderabad.[31], and London.

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.[32][33][34]


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 Project names Dr. Stephen Kosslyn as Founding Dean".
  17. ^ "Future of Higher Education Forum Features Minerva Schools". Georgetown. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  18. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Schools at KGI Names Diane Halpern Dean of the College of Social Sciences". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2014-09-01.
  19. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Schools at KGI Names Deans of Computational and Natural Sciences". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  20. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Schools at KGI Names Deans of Computational and Natural Sciences". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  21. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Schools at KGI Names Dr. Daniel J. Levitin as Dean of Arts & Humanities". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  22. ^ a b c d Wood, Graeme (August 13, 2014). "The Future of College?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  23. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Continues to Grow its Academic Team, Announces Two Appointments". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  24. ^ KGI, Minerva Schools at. "Minerva Schools at KGI Announce Appointments of Two New Deans". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  25. ^ Roush, Wade (18 April 2014). "Minerva's Plan to Disrupt Universities: A Talk With CEO Ben Nelson". Xconomy. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Schools, Minerva (2017-10-10). "Minerva Delivers More Effective Learning. Test Results Prove It". Medium. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  28. ^ Minerva (2017-01-31), Global Immersion: Berlin, retrieved 2018-07-03
  29. ^ Minerva (2017-05-09), Global Immersion: Buenos Aires, retrieved 2018-07-03
  30. ^ Minerva (2018-01-26), Global Immersion: Seoul, retrieved 2018-07-03
  31. ^ The Minerva Quest (2018-05-12), Cross-Class Vlog: End of Hyderabad, retrieved 2018-07-03
  32. ^ Minerva (2015-09-24), Active Learning Forum: A New Way to Learn (short film), retrieved 2018-07-03
  33. ^ "DE SIG@Duke presents The Minerva Active Learning Forum | DukeAHEAD". dukeahead.duke.edu. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  34. ^ "BrightSparks E-magazine". brightsparks.com.sg. Retrieved 2018-07-03.

External links[edit]