University of Dallas Classical Education Graduate Program Course Descriptions

University of Dallas Classical Education Graduate Program Course Descriptions

Classical Education Courses

Required and elective courses are offered according to the following two-year cycle. Other electives are added each semester according to need and demand. Classical Education Seminars (one-credit pass/fail discussion groups) are offered every semester.

Required Courses

PHI 5326 Philosophy of Education (offered in Irving in fall; offered online in spring & summer)
HUM 6340 Trivium (offered online fall & spring; not offered in summer)
HUM 6344 Quadrivium (offered online spring & summer; not offered in fall)
HUM 6348 Classical Pedagogy, Ancient & Modern (offered online in fall & summer; not offered in spring)

Great Works

HUM 6325 Great Works of the Ancient World (offered in fall; Irving in even years & online in odd years)
HUM 6326 Great Works of the Middle Ages (offered in spring; online in even years & Irving in odd years)
HUM 6331 Great Works of the Renaissance & Baroque (offered in fall; online in even years & Irving in odd years)
HUM 6333 Great Works of the Modern World (offered in spring; Irving in even years & online in odd years)

American Humanities

Teaching American Civics (offered online in fall in even years)
HUM 6353 Teaching Great American Speeches (offered online in spring in odd years)
Teaching the American Tradition I (offered online in fall in odd years)
Teaching the American Tradition II (offered online in spring in even years)

Liberal Arts

HUM 6355 History of Liberal Arts Education (offered online in spring; not offered in summer & fall)
HUM 6358 Master Teachers in the Western Tradition (offered online in spring in odd years)
HUM 6359 Teaching Classical Children’s Literature (offered online in fall in odd years)
HUM 6362 Plato & Socratic Conversation (offered online in spring in even years)
Education and the Human Person (offered online in fall in even years)
Tikvah Summer Institute (offered in summer; not offered in fall & spring)*

Catholic Intellectual Tradition

HUM 6360 Augustine the Teacher (offered online in fall in odd years)
HUM 6364 Aquinas on the Virtues (offered online in fall in even years)


Teaching the Novel (offered online in fall in even years)
Teaching Tragedy and Comedy (offered online in spring in odd years)
Teaching Christian Epic (offered online in fall in odd years)
Teaching Ancient Epic (offered online in spring in even years)

Latin & Language Pedagogy

Latin & Language Pedagogy I (offered online in fall, not offered in spring & summer)
Latin & Language Pedagogy II (offered online in spring, not offered in fall & summer)
Latin & Language Pedagogy III (offered online in summer, not offered in fall & spring)
Latin & Language Pedagogy IV (offered online in summer, not offered in fall & spring)


Summer Literature

Renaissance Literature (offered online in summer in odd years)
Shakespeare on Human Nature (offered online in summer in even years)


Herodotus (offered as needed)
Thucydides (offered as needed)


HUM 6342 Argumentation  (offered online in fall in even years)
HUM 6366 Writing as Imitation  (offered online in fall in odd years) 
Logic and Rhetoric  (offered as needed) 


Shakespeare, Renaissance, and the Baroque  (offered in Rome in summer, not offered fall & spring)
Public Speaking for Teachers & Executives  (offered in Rome in summer, not offered fall & spring) 
[Early] Roman History and Culture  (offered in Rome in summer, not offered fall & spring)
Fall Odd Years
(2021, 23, 25)
Spring Even Years
(2022, 24, 26)
Summer All Years
(2022, 24, 26)
  • Trivium
  • Classical Pedagogy, Ancient & Modern
  • Great Works of the Ancient World
  • Augustine the Teacher
  • Teaching Classical Children’s Literature
  • Teaching Epic Poetry II: Christian Epic
  • Trivium
  • Quadrivium
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Great Works of the Medieval World
  • Plato and Socratic Conversation
  • Teaching Great American Speeches
  • History of Liberal Arts Education
  • Teaching Tragedy and Comedy
  • Quadrivium
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Classical Pedagogy, Ancient Modern
Fall Even Years
(2022, 24, 26)
Spring Odd Years
(2023, 25, 27)
  • Trivium
  • Classical Pedagogy, Ancient Modern
  • Great Works of the Ancient World
  • Great Works in the Renaissance
    & Baroque
  • Aquinas on the Virtues
  • Teaching the Novel
  • Trivium
  • Quadrivium
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Great Works of the Modern World
  • Education and the Human Person
  • History of Liberal Arts Education
  • Master Teachers in the Western Tradition
  • Teaching Epic Poetry I: Ancient Epic

The liberal arts (artes liberales) are at the core of the Classical Education program. Traditionally, they have been divided into the trivium and the quadrivium. The liberal arts of language—grammar, logic and rhetoric—and those of numeracy—arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy—constituted the arts that liberated students to learn other, more advanced subjects, and even to pursue wisdom, the ultimate purpose of education. As Hugh of St. Victor explains in Didascalion:

Out of all the sciences... the ancients, in their studies, especially selected seven to be mastered by those who were to be educated. These seven they considered so to excel all the rest in usefulness that anyone who had been thoroughly schooled in them might afterward come to a knowledge of the others by his own inquiry and effort rather than by listening to a teacher. For these... constitute the best instruments, the best rudiments, by which the way is prepared for the mind’s complete knowledge of philosophic truth....[B]y them, as by certain ways, a quick mind enters into the secret places of wisdom.

These liberal arts were thought of then as propaedeutic—that which ought to be “taught before.” For many now, they are, in fact, parapaedeutic (“taught alongside”) or even metapaedeutic (“taught after”).

Course Descriptions


This course focuses on the trivium—the three arts of symbol, thought, and communication (in Sister Miriam Joseph’s formulation)—and its purpose is practical and philosophical. Students will master the arts of English (not Latin) grammar, traditional (not symbolic) logic and classical (not sophistic) rhetoric to have what Dorothy Sayers calls the “tools of learning.” As well, you will read John Henry Newman, Eva Brann and Martha Nussbaum to reflect on the place of the liberal arts of language within liberal education generally (with reference to Catholic Christianity, American republicanism and global multiculturalism). The argument of the course is that the arts of language are essential—necessary, even if not sufficient—for liberal education itself. If true, that ought to give us pause since, at all levels, these arts have faded, and sometimes even disappeared altogether, from curricula of our nation’s schools, colleges and universities.
In this course, students read classic works in each of the four mathematical arts known as the quadrivium—arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy—and discover the foundational role that these arts have in a liberal education. Among the great works studied are Plato’s Timaeus, Euclid’s Elements, Boethius’s On Music, and Kepler’s Astronomia Nova. Special emphasis is placed upon the division and methods of the sciences and upon the unity and integrity of all knowledge.
This course considers themes such as the nature of the student and of the teacher, the goals of education, curriculum and methodology, the nature and division of knowledge, and education and the common good. Inquiry is cast in the light of more fundamental considerations such as the nature of the human person, of mind, of being and of the good, chiefly through the study of classical texts of the Western philosophical tradition (e.g., Plato’s Republic and Rousseau’s Émile). Attention is given to contemporary issues in education in light of these prior inquiries.
Through a combination of contemporary texts on pedagogical methods with classical texts on the relationship between education and rule, this course addresses the topic of pedagogy both philosophically and practically, asking teachers to consider themselves as rulers or as representatives of a rule. Students reflect on the practical implications of classical principles of liberal education for modern classroom management, student-teacher interaction, instructional methods, assessment, and other aspects of the contemporary school setting, and in each of these compare classical pedagogy to the present alternatives.
This course focuses on the works of master teachers in the Western tradition, attending to what these works teach as well as how they teach. The course explores the variety of methods employed for teaching and learning and considers these methods in light of the perennial pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty. Students will read from classic works across the disciplines and discover the enduring significance of these works in the Western tradition of liberal education.
This course is a survey of authors including selections from Isocrates, Quintilian, Cicero, Hugh of St. Victor, Petrarch, Newman, and many others, examining the history of the liberal arts through the ages, from the ancients up to the present, to see how we got where we are, and to better understand where we stand in today’s landscape of liberal and other forms of education. Rather than focusing on the practice of the arts, as do Trivium and Quadrivium, it explores their curricular development and various reformulations, from Greece to Rome, from the early Middle Ages to the medieval university, and from the Renaissance to the rise of the modern research university.
This course explores Plato’s Socratic dialogues and the influence of “Socratic conversation” on teaching and learning in the Western tradition of liberal education. Central to these dialogues is a vision of philosophy and the philosophical way of life, a vision embodied by Plato’s character, Socrates. We also consider the legacy of Socratic conversation in the Western tradition through the philosophical dialogues of several authors who were influenced in one way or another by Plato and his Socratic dialogues, including Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Thomas More, and David Hume.
In this course we explore the life and writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest teachers in the Western tradition. The course is structured around three of his most influential works: Confessions, City of God, and On the Trinity. Along the way, we also read several other works that address various aspects of teaching and learning: Against the Academicians, On the Teacher, and On Christian Doctrine, among others. Throughout the course, we discuss questions central to Augustine’s philosophy and theology of education, including the role and significance of the liberal arts, the relation of faith and reason, and the nature of happiness.
This course explores Thomas Aquinas’s teaching on the virtues, placing special emphasis on the cardinal (“hinge”) virtues—prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance—and the theological virtues—faith, hope, and charity (love). With Aquinas’s Summa theologiae as the principal text, we consider the nature of dispositions, habits, passions, and virtues; various ways of dividing the virtues (e.g., moral/intellectual, acquired/infused, etc.); a detailed treatment of the seven virtues mentioned above; and Aquinas’s account of human happiness, in light of his teachings on virtue.
This course connects the trivium to American history through engagement with the American rhetorical tradition, focusing especially on the equality principle in the Declaration of Independence. It involves close reading and rhetorical analysis of great and influential speeches and documents from the Founding, Lincoln, and the twentieth century, and addresses both different theoretical approaches to American history and the history of American rhetoric, and practical approaches to teaching American history and rhetoric in the classroom.
This course explores various works of classical children’s literature from classical fairy tales to Astrid Lindgren, focusing on different kinds of adult-child interactions. We will investigate the changing historical concepts of children and childhood, as well as the moral and educational functions, the values, and the role models provided by these classics not only for elementary school children but also their teachers or parents. Throughout, we will discuss how to teach these works meaningfully and with maximum efficacy so that children improve their comprehension skills, their active vocabulary and oral expression, as well as their writing skills. Particular emphasis will be given to learning how to teach with the Socratic Method to involve children in the learning process and to stimulate reflecting about and analyzing literature.
Seminars are focused one-credit pass/fail discussion groups for teachers, school leaders, and others in the UD Classical Education program to learn from each other's expertise and discuss the challenges, successes, and joys of working in a classical school with people in similar situations. For instance, there have been seminars for science teachers, school leaders, and grammar school teachers. Each seminar has a faculty adviser and a student discussion leader helping to run the seminar as a two-credit practicum project. There are usually multiple seminar options each semester. Students are limited to three one-credit seminars during both the 36-credit Master's degree and the 18-credit Certificate.
The thought and art of Greece and Rome from 800 B.C. to 400 A.D. Texts vary but are chosen from works ranging from those of Homer and the Greek tragedians to Vergil and the Roman historians.
The thought and art of the Middle Ages from the fifth to the 15th century. Assigned works may range from those of Augustine to Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.
The thought and art of Europe from the 14th to the late 18th century. Assigned works may range from those of Petrarch, Dürer, and Montaigne to those of Diderot and Voltaire.
The thought and art of the West from the late 18th century to the present. Assigned works may range from those of Beethoven, Kant, Goethe, and Goya to those of Solzhenitsyn, Foucault, Achebe, and García Márquez.