Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Michael Polanyi and why was the program named after him?

Michael Polanyi was a Hungarian chemist, trained in the physical sciences, who, at the height of his very successful career switched to the study of social science and philosophy. Michael Polanyi wrote extensively on politics, philosophy of science, economics, and ethics. His work inspired a generation of Austrian economists such as Ludwing von Mises and especially Friedrich Hayek.

He coined the phrase “spontaneous order” and showed the importance of freedom and decentralized decision making not only for political systems but also for scientific community itself. Polanyi’s notion of tacit knowing, the idea that we learn and know more than we say, has profound implications for how we teach. Polanyi’s accomplishments in the sciences and philosophy are many. He was a renaissance man. But the main reason MPC shares his name is that he represents the model of a scholar whose love of inquiry never ceased. He was a genuine, life-long learner, who contributed to many fields and disciplines throughout his life. We hope our students will do the same.

What is a “Liberal Arts” Education?

Historically, the notion of “liberal arts” lies at the foundation of higher education. Literally, “liberal” refers to the learning one must pursue to remain a “free” human being. “Arts” refer to the wide range of disciplines in the physical and social sciences, and humanities that exercise and cultivate the intellect of the student.

The concept began with the Greeks but was developed and extended in the Middle Ages into seven principal areas of inquiry: general grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music. The first three were called the trivium; the remaining four comprised the quadrivium. Of course, today these subjects have evolved and expanded into a variety of modern disciplines and sciences. The Liberal Arts provide the foundation of a well-educated person, a person who is capable of contributing to not just one field, but to many others over his or her lifetime.

What is a Bachelor Degree and can I apply for a Master’s Degree with my B.A in Liberal Arts?

A Bachelor Degree is a certification given by an accredited institution which states that the holder of that certification has been through a program that grants a certain level of knowledge. The Bachelor Degree is the standard certification given to students after completing a three to four year program at a higher education institution in the United States.

The MPC grants a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration that the student picks. This concentration is chosen in consort with the subject matters that students have mastered through their studies at MPC.

Being eligible for a Master’s Degree depends on many criteria and these vary from program to program. Some programs ask specifically for a degree from a four-year program, which means that they will not accept your MPC degree. Others ask for a certain amount of credit-hours and MPC certainly provides ample opportunity for students to receive enough credits for these programs.

Who teaches at MPC?

The professors at MPC are passionate about learning and model learning with their students. They work primarily as co-learners with their students, supporting and facilitating group process and coaching students individually to achieve their learning goals. Great emphasis is placed on reading primary texts and learning how to question those texts. As a consequence, students come to think of their books as teachers and students are more often heard talking about what they have been learning than from their professors.

Students at MPC are exploring the concept of the “one world classroom.” In a rapidly expanding and dynamic technological environment new opportunities are presenting themselves every day to connect to, communicate with, and learn from people across the globe. This allows MPC to collaborate with many entrepreneurs, artists, writers, and scholars in other universities and organizations. Virtual sessions are conducted where students have the chance to meet with and question these thinkers.

How does an MPC education prepare students for real life?

MPC students spend less time in chairs listening to experts and more time engaging in conversation about ideas and applying those ideas in projects they care about. This builds a sophisticated awareness of others and the role one plays in the learning experience of others. Self-awareness and empathy give MPC students an advantage when working with others to solve problems. MPC’s broad inquiry into culture and the human condition combined with an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, intellectual integrity, and fidelity to one’s own values and principles prepares students for a professional world that is changing by the minute. MPC’s emphasis on process and systems thinking fosters versatility and adaptability, two qualities that are essential for confronting the dynamism of an increasingly complex society.

What are the characteristics of a student seeking an MPC education?

MPC is looking for students who have many interests and are looking for a place to rediscover their love of learning. Curiosity and wonder, the desire to create and innovate, and a willingness to engage with others to explore and discover, are ideal prerequisites for a student entering MPC. At MPC we believe that students seeking an undergraduate degree should be seeking to broaden their interests rather than narrow them. Learning how to engage many different kinds of material across a wide range of subjects cultivates many intellectual and moral habits, providing a foundation from which they can launch in many directions. Students have the opportunity to discover their passion and prepare for specialization at the graduate level or pursue an MBA and do so one year earlier than a four-year program can.