Hillsdale College is starting a grad school in D.C. | Courtesy Hillsdale in D.C.

Wash­ing­to­nians now have the option of pur­suing a master’s degree from Hillsdale College. 

The college offi­cially announced the opening of the Steve and Amy Van Andel Graduate School of Gov­ernment in Wash­ington, D.C., on Sept. 17. The graduate program can be com­pleted within three years, according to a press release. The graduate school is geared toward working professionals. 

Matthew Spalding, vice pres­ident of Wash­ington oper­a­tions and dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Gov­ernment, said no graduate program in D.C. offers quite what Hillsdale will. 

“Most graduate pro­grams in D.C. are really designed to teach you how to accom­modate to the status quo,” he said. “What’s dif­ferent about our program is we want to teach them how to think about pol­itics, so they can then actively par­tic­ipate in current pol­itics. That’s a very dif­ferent thing. We’re not going to teach Health Care Policy 101. We’re going to teach about political thought, American pol­itics, and statecraft.”

The first formal class will begin courses in January 2020, but the school is offering lec­tures and courses for a select group this fall, according to the press release.

Spalding said the new graduate school has been in the works for a number of years.

“On the one hand, the idea for this graduate school, as Dr. Arnn has pointed out, arises from an idea of George Washington’s about having a graduate school that can teach and prepare those who will govern the nation,” Spaulding said. “In more spe­cific terms, this has really been a vision Dr. Arnn has had for a long time.” 

According to the Hillsdale in D.C. website, stu­dents in the new program will be required to take a number of spe­cific classes on topics such as clas­sical political thought, the American founding, and modern American government.

The website also says stu­dents will get an edu­cation in the first prin­ciples of politics.

“Con­sistent with Hillsdale’s mission and estab­lished liberal arts cur­riculum, the graduate school offers a Master of Arts in Gov­ernment focused on how to con­sider and practice those liberal arts that are required for truly just and excellent gov­ernment,” the website says.

Adam Car­rington, assistant pro­fessor of pol­itics, said he sees it as a good and natural extension of Hillsdale’s presence in D.C.

“This will be good for people already in D.C. who want to know how to think about pol­itics,” Car­rington said. “That’s a pos­sible gap this program could fill.”

Car­rington said there’s a place for this kind of edu­cation in D.C.

“Prac­ti­cally, a lot of people need a master’s,” he said. “Why not make it an edu­cation that’s intrin­si­cally good?”

Spalding said the new program will do what Hillsdale does best: teaching stu­dents about important things and how to think about statesmanship.

“It really kind of grows out of the idea that we should provide sound learning in order to pre­serve the blessings of civil and reli­gious liberty,” he said. “I think it is a very natural thing and it log­i­cally follows that we should be teaching those ideas in Wash­ington, D.C., in addition to what else we’re doing.”