School History and Mission

Offering comprehensive undergraduate and graduate education, the Krieger School is at the core of the Johns Hopkins complex of schools, centers, and institutes. More than 135 years after the University opened, the School of Arts and Sciences still follows the guiding principles of Hopkins’s visionary first president, Daniel Coit Gilman, which position the school at the forefront of knowledge.

The plan that Gilman devised and began to carry out in 1876 established Johns Hopkins as the nation’s first research university—that is, an institution in which every faculty member was actively engaged in original investigations. Gilman dismissed the notion that teaching and research are separate endeavors; he believed that success in one depended on success in the other.

“The best teachers are usually those who are free, competent, and willing to make original researches in the library and the laboratory. The best investigators are usually those who have also the responsibilities of instruction, gaining thus the incitement of colleagues, the encouragement of pupils, the observation of the public.”

—President Daniel Coit Gilman

The realization of Gilman’s philosophy at Hopkins, and at other institutions that later attracted Hopkins-trained scholars, revolutionized higher education in America, leading to the modern research university system.

Johns Hopkins has been responding to the world’s needs since its inception in 1876. The Krieger School is uniquely situated to build on that tradition by providing research opportunities to students in all disciplines as early as their freshman year and by creating innovative partnerships with the other divisions of the university.


The mission of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences is discovery—the creation of new knowledge through research and scholarship, and the education of our students, undergraduate and graduate alike, through immersion in this collaborative process. The School’s unique character above all derives from its commitment to choose carefully what is worth pursuing and to do so without compromise.

This imperative applies to our work at every level, including undergraduate education, graduate education, scholarly research, and outreach to the broader community. We strive to be the finest small research-oriented school of arts and sciences in the country, with a body of faculty and students who are, person for person, second to none. We seek to instill in our students the highest standards of intellectual achievement and an abiding commitment to self-initiated learning and discovery.

Scholarship of the highest quality is at the core of all the work we do in the School. For a division of arts and sciences with fewer than 300 tenure-track professors, the accomplishments and stature of our faculty are extraordinary. The programs of the School have an impact that transcends their small size.

The value that a university adds to the pursuit of scholarship and education lies fundamentally in the communities that it supports and nurtures. The well being of the school requires above all else strong academic departments; well-rounded and deeply engaged students; vibrant interactions across disciplines and between faculty and students; and committed alumni who feel lasting and deep connections to the School.