I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
~Henry David Thoreau
Field School ~ May-June 2023
A 4 week immersion into the ecology, agriculture, history, and human cultures of the Driftless Region, including crafts, homesteading skills, canoeing, farm visits, and residential life in a self-governing community of fellow seekers.
Thoreau College is a leader in an emergent movement dedicated to the renewal and revitalization of higher education through the creation of new humanly-scaled, place-based institutions with holistic curricula known as microcolleges.
Rooted in the Driftless Region
Thoreau College is located in the rural community of Viroqua, Wisconsin, in the heart of the Driftless Region, a wild unglaciated landscape of ridges and valleys traversed by countless small streams and rivers.
Rooted in the ridges and valleys of the Driftless Region of the upper Midwest, Thoreau College models a transformative liberal arts curriculum that immerses students in authentic community, shared labor and governance, and rigorous engagement with great works and natural phenomena. Thoreau College creates a context where students can nurture their sacred curiosity, connect with their deepest selves, and cultivate the capacities they will need to manifest their highest aspirations for the world.
Thoreau College understands liberal arts education to be fundamentally concerned with the cultivation of free human beings who have the capacity to impart direction and meaning to their lives and bring about positive transformation in the world. In our striving to realize an education that meets the needs of the whole human being–body, soul and spirit–we have been deeply informed by the lives and work of Henry David Thoreau (author of Walden), Rudolf Steiner (founder of Waldorf education), and LL Nunn (founder of Deep Springs College).
THOREAU COLLEGE BLOG
Why Apply to Thoreau College?
By Jacob Rowland, 2020 Fall Semester Program Thoreau College is a singular place, and perhaps a hard place to understand. The applicant process is, in a way, opposite to the ordinary college search process: most colleges have extensive websites, virtual tours, and brochures to appeal to...
Welcome to the New Thoreau College Campus!
At Thoreau College, we have always considered our campus to be Viroqua, Vernon County, and the wider Driftless Region more generally. Students have lived in several regular residential homes in town that we have rented and equipped with gardens and chicken coops. We have have studied, labored,...
Announcing the Microcollege Podcast
This summer Thoreau College launched a new project to spread the word about the many exciting efforts currently underway across the country to rethink and renew education for young people and adults of all ages. On “Microcollege: The Thoreau College Podcast,” Thoreau College Director Jacob Hundt...