A great book invites the reader in as an equal.

That is the spirit in which the Catherine Project’s education is offered.

We invite people from all walks of life to join our community of learning. We charge no tuition or fees.

Our courses take place on Zoom. If you would like to study by email, postal service, or telephone instead, please contact us directly and we will endeavor to accommodate your request.

Our tutorials are capped at 4 readers each and are led by a tutor. They meet for 12 weeks, and are organized around the careful reading and discussion of fundamental texts. Readers write reflection papers on the weekly readings and send them to one another before each meeting.

Reading Groups

Reading groups are typically peer-led and more flexible in nature. They may focus on a single text or a group of texts, and their duration varies (most meet for between 8-14 weeks). We aim for a core of 8-10 readers and there is no required writing.

Subject Tutorials

When possible, we organize small group meetings with a subject tutor competent in subjects such as: the art of writing, languages dead and alive, and mathematical operations such as algebra and geometry. As with our reading groups, the length of subject tutorials is variable.


Registration for our summer courses is closed. To be notified when we announce our Fall 2022 offerings, we invite you to join our mailing list. Our offerings are available to adults 16 years or older from all educational backgrounds and walks of life. If you have questions about our courses, please consult our FAQ page or contact us at study@catherineproject.org.

Reading Groups (all times listed are in Eastern Time)

Reading groups meet weekly at the times indicated to discuss readings in the corresponding texts. If you are new to this kind of study or unsure where to start, feel free to email us at: study@catherineproject.org.

  • Aristotle, Politics
    • Thursdays 7:30-9:30pm (starts: 05/19)
  • Aristotle, Rhetoric & Plato, Gorgias
    • Tuesdays 3:00-5:00pm (runs: 07/05-08/23)
  • Darwin, On the Origin of Species
    • Wednesdays 7:30-9:30pm (starts: 06/08)
  • Einstein, Relativity: the Special and the General Theory
    • Thursdays 7:30-9:00pm (runs: 5/26-6/16)
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
    • Thursdays 7:00-9:00pm (runs: 06/16-08/11)
  • Hemingway, three novels: The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea, A Farewell to Arms
    • Thursdays 8:00-10:00pm (runs: 05/19-08/04)
  • Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
    • Tuesdays 4:00-6:00pm (starts: 05/31)
  • Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed
    • Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm (starts: 06/07)
  • Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
    • Mondays 6:00-7:30pm (runs: 07/25-08/08)
  • Mencius, Mencius
    • Tuesdays 7:30-9:00pm (runs: 07/19-08/30)
  • Plato, Gorgias & Protagoras
    • Tuesdays 11:00am-1:00pm (runs: 05/31-08/29)
  • Plato, Republic
    • Mondays 11:00am-1:00pm (starts: 05/30)
    • This reading group will meet for 42 weeks. We understand that life circumstances can change significantly during such a period, but please consider carefully whether you can commit to a long-term reading of the Republic.
  • Renaissance painting and artists: Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting; Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, Vol. 1; various paintings
    • Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm (runs: 05/17-08/09)
  • Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
    • Tuesdays 7:00-9:00pm (runs: 07/12-08/09)
  • Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter
    • Wednesdays 8:00-9:00pm (runs: 07/06-08/30)
  • Virgil, Aeneid
    • Wednesdays 8:00-10:00pm (runs: 05/25-08/10)

Subject Tutorials (all times listed are in Eastern Time)

  • Ancient Greek language: Introduction
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00-5:00pm (runs: 06/21-08/04)
  • Ancient Greek language: Introduction
    • Wednesdays 6:30-8:30pm (runs: 06/22-08/17)
  • Ancient Greek language: Introduction
    • Saturdays 12:00-1:30pm (runs: 06/18-08/20)
  • Ancient Greek language: Plato, Republic, Book I
    • Saturdays 10:00-11:30am (starts: 06/04)
    • This subject tutorial involves translation of an ancient Greek text: some experience studying ancient Greek is required. Discussion in the subject tutorial will prioritize issues of translation.

We provide substantive, high-quality, person-to-person teaching to adults 16 years or older at no fixed cost to them. We also host peer-led reading groups and lectures.

We seek to cultivate free and independent learners who study on their own initiative, driven by their own fundamental questions. To do so, we follow the tried-and-true practice of liberation through person-to-person conversation about great books. Such reading and conversation has long been a refuge for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized, and it enriches people from all walks of life.

The Catherine Project offers no credits or degrees. We do not grade the efforts of our participants. We charge no tuition. We encourage donations from our readers in accordance with their ability to pay, as well as from benefactors interested in our mission. We believe that no one’s inability to pay should be an obstacle to their opportunities to learn.

Study with Us

Our offerings are available to adults 16 years or older from all educational backgrounds and walks of life. In reviewing applications to study with us, we look for enthusiasm and fit for an independent and collaborative style of learning.

Bear in mind that we have many more readers who are interested in studying with us than we have the capacity to serve. Please consider studying with us only if you are confident that you can commit to the regular readings and meetings.

Anyone may study with us who wishes to learn and who has the basic skills necessary for serious reading and conversation. Our conversations are open-ended and not guided toward particular conclusions. Our students, or readers, are understood to be motivated by their own questions. No one’s inability to pay or inability to travel ought to be an obstacle to their opportunities to learn.
Great books

We read books of richness, depth, and lasting value that bear repeated re-readings. Such books teach readers at all levels of preparation, and they level the distance between the teacher and the learner so as to encourage collaboration. With a book as a teacher, each reader develops the ability to inquire in depth and to evaluate evidence by his or her own lights.

The desire to learn for its own sake is the primary engine of our work. Accordingly, we prize amateurism. Tutors learn along with our readers and therefore often teach outside of their fields of specialty.

We find that conversation is the best way to cultivate free and independent learners. Conversation and reading are the primary vehicles of the learning we offer: writing assignments are subsidiary. Essays help the reader to think and help to focus the conversations that result from it. 

Our courses help readers to develop as free inquirers. We seek to support independent learners, but we also seek to nurture autodidacts: self-directed, courageous, and honest pursuers of learning in all walks of life.
In light of our commitment to simplicity, egalitarianism, and intellectual focus, readers do not choose tutors, tutors do not choose readers, and members of reading groups do not choose one another. Readers choose a book to read or a course of study.
We go after the deepest and most difficult questions and ask the same of our readers. We do not “dumb down” material.

We seek to meet the human need for serious inquiry with as few arbitrary constraints as possible.