St. Mary's College of Maryland, The Public Honors College

A Distinctive Education in a History-Rich Location


Founded in 1840, St. Mary’s enjoys a unique status in higher education as Maryland’s public honors college.

The College is consistently ranked as one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s and The Princeton Review.

Student with a dog

St. Mary’s campus is located on a broad, bay-like bend of the St. Mary’s River—an ideal spot for sailing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Working in the studio

A majority of St. Mary's students undertake a St. Mary's Project - a capstone experience of original research, scholarship or creative performance undertaken in the senior year.

As Maryland’s public honors college, St. Mary’s offers an undergraduate liberal arts education and small-college experience like those found at exceptional private colleges. St. Mary’s shares the hallmarks of private institutions: an outstanding faculty, talented students, high academic standards, a challenging curriculum, small classes, a sense of community, and a spirit of intellectual inquiry. But as a state institution of higher education, St. Mary’s is also committed to the ideals of affordability, accessibility, and diversity. By combining these virtues of public and private education, St. Mary’s provides a unique alternative for students and their families.

St. Mary’s is named for the place it marks: the 17th-century capital of Maryland. The spectacular waterfront setting is in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay region. The campus is 70 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. and 95 miles south of Baltimore.

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“St. Mary’s College is one of the best liberal arts colleges in America, at an affordable price – right here in Maryland! We are proud to have an institution of its caliber, in a beautiful waterfront location, as an asset for our State.”

Michael E. Busch
Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates