Dr. Matthew Spalding teaching a class at the Kirby Center.

To extend its unique teaching mission to our nation’s leaders, Hillsdale College founded its Steve and Amy Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C. Students are educated in the first principles of politics and how they apply in practice to the perennial challenge of restoring constitutional self-government in the United States.

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

The term "government" derives from the Latin word for pilot, helmsman, or one who directs the ship. A master of the art of government must know well the stars and the crew, the boat and its builders, and the feel of the tiller, the waves, and wind. Without knowledge of the stars, the guiding and permanent principles of politics, even a skillful pilot is aimless, unable to steer a course between the sharp rocks of impractical doctrines and the cynical whirlpool of crass accommodation. Constitutional self-government requires such knowledge, which the School of Government offers to its students.

Hillsdale’s School of Government M.A. program is designed for young but established professionals, in the early-to-middle part of their career, who are working in politics broadly defined: government staffers and lawmakers, journalists and media professionals, speechwriters, lawyers, think-tank analysts, domestic and foreign policy experts, and all practitioners drawn to serious study. Course offerings reflect that focus by providing the necessary intellectual foundation for a career in American politics, one deeply enriched by Hillsdale College and its teaching mission.

Program Details

Thirty-six credit hours, including core courses and electives:

  • All accepted students receive scholarships – usually up to full tuition
  • Typical program completion time of 2-3 years, depending on the rigor of your schedule
  • All classes are taught in evenings or Saturday seminars
  • On Capitol Hill—a short walk from the U.S. Capitol Building and Union Station
  • Beautiful facilities, including reading rooms and reference libraries
  • Small, intimate class sizes
  • Fall, spring, and summer semesters
  • Special topics courses with prominent guest scholars
  • Ability to participate in all Hillsdale in D.C. public forums, lectures, and events
  • ​Full access to the resources of Hillsdale College

Learn more about the Graduate School

Faculty Interviews

Matthew Spalding

Listen to Dr. Matthew Spalding (17 mins), Vice President for Washington Operations and Dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, explain why the new graduate program was created, and its purpose in recovering the permanent ideas of classical politics, while uniting them with the virtue of prudence and statesmanship.

Matthew Mehan

Listen to Dr. Matthew Mehan (15 mins), Director of Academic Programs and Assistant Professor, break down the academic components of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, including philosophy, history, and the arts, to better "understand what great men do, how cities rise and fall, the choices that people make, the fortunes of battle, and the fortunes of politics."

Michael Anton

Listen to Professor Michael Anton (12 mins), who teaches courses on national security and political theory, discuss how the graduate program will prepare students for an effective career in public service, while educating them in the core principles of Western Civilization.


All degree programs at Hillsdale College, including the programs of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, are fully accredited. Hillsdale College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Commission can be contacted at (800) 621-7440 or at www.hlcommission.org.