Literature Degree Requirements

Literature Degree Requirements

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The Institute of Philosophic Studies awards the Ph.D. and M.A., under the titles Doctor of Philosophy in Literature, Philosophy or Politics, and Master of Arts in English, Philosophy or Politics.

5 Steps to your Ph.D.

  1. Three years of residency. 

  2. A total of 66 credit hours of course work that includes 21 hours of the Core Curriculum sequence and 45 additional credit hours in the concentration discipline (9 of which may be in a related field, with the approval of the concentration director).

  3. Successful completion of the Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations.

  4. Reading knowledge of one classical language (Latin or ancient Greek) and one modern language (usually French or German).

  5. Successful defense of a Ph.D. dissertation.

 Doctoral Requirements: Details

Time limit

All requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be met within ten years from the time the student begins course work in the program. Periods for which a Leave of Absence is requested and granted are not counted toward the limit. Any extensions to the limit must be formally requested of and granted by the Director of the Institute.


Each student is ordinarily required to complete the first two semesters in full time doctoral course work, that is, nine credit hours per semester. This one-year residency is the minimum expected of all doctoral students. Generally, all course work is done in full time work. Doctoral studies at less than six credit hours per semester are discouraged.

Course work

Students are required to complete the 21-hour Core Curriculum sequence plus an additional 45 hours of course work in their chosen concentration, nine of which may be in a related discipline (with the approval of the concentration director). 

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for all doctoral course work is required for graduation. A GPA of 3.5 is required for scholarship support.

Qualifying examination

The Qualifying Examination provides an occasion early in the student's course of study for the Institute faculty to assess the candidate's ability to continue in the program. Students must take the Qualifying Examination at the beginning of their fourth semester in the Institute.

The Examination consists of three parts:

  1. On the first day of the examination, each student must submit a substantial paper (of 10 - 20, double-spaced, typewritten pages) as evidence of writing, scholarly, and intellectual abilities. Although this paper may be one previously submitted as a course requirement in Concentration work at the University of Dallas, it should be free of instructor's grades or remarks.
  2. A written examination is held during a four-hour period at the beginning of the fourth semester. The exam will consist of an explication of a passage selected by the student from three choices presented by the examination committee.
  3. An oral examination is held two to four weeks after the written. It consists of an hour examination conducted by members of the Institute faculty. Although examiners will begin their questions with issues drawn from the written examination and submitted paper, they may range more broadly over related topics in the concentration and core.

The Qualifying Examination is conducted by an examining panel appointed by the IPS Director. The panel consists of at least one member from the Departments of English, Philosophy, Politics, and Theology. Members of this panel conduct each oral examination and are responsible for an overall assessment of three parts of the Examination. The director of the student's concentration sits in on the examination ex officio. Together with the IPS Director, they shall determine whether the examinee should continue in the Ph.D. program. Should the panel find the student's examination unsatisfactory, the student will be allowed to complete the Institute's Master's degree, but will not be allowed to continue further work in the Institute.

Comprehensive examination

The comprehensive examination provides an opportunity to achieve and demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the area of concentration and of the core program.

The comprehensive examination is normally taken in the semester following the completion of 66 hours of course work and both language requirements. In special cases it may be postponed a semester. It is offered twice a year and consists of both a written and an oral examination. The written examination is offered during the first week of October and the first week of March.

It consists of three parts:

a) a four-hour examination on the first day on the Core

b) a four-hour examination on the second day in the student's area of concentration

c) a four-hour examination on the third day on a chosen focus text

  1. Parts a) and b) of the written examination are based on reading lists in the Core and the area of concentration. In part c) of the written examination, the student is examined on a book, a series of texts, or an author in the area of concentration. These are chosen by the student and approved by the concentration director and the IPS Director. The student is expected to know the text or texts thoroughly, including the major secondary literature.
  2. A 90 minute oral examination is usually given within three weeks of the written. It includes questioning of the student's answers in the written examination, but may also include other questions about any of the texts on the core and concentration reading lists.
  3. The questions of the written examinations in the concentration areas are composed by the faculty of the concentration concerned, with consultation of the Concentration Director and with the approval of the IPS Director. Those in the core are composed by a committee consisting of the IPS Director and two faculty members appointed by the Director each year.
  4. The written examinations are graded by a members of an examining committee, which will also conduct the oral examinations. At least two faculty members will read each part of the written examination. The examining committee for each student will be chosen by the IPS Director in consultation with the Concentration Director and will normally consist of two members from the concentration, two from fields outside the concentration, and the IPS Director as Chairman.
  5. At the discretion of the committee, students who do not pass may be given a re-examination no later than the semester following the one in which they failed the examination.

Foreign language requirement

Students must fulfill the language requirement in one of three ways:

  1. By taking an upper level (3000+) course (other than the special reading courses) at the University of Dallas in the literature of the language in question and by passing with a grade of B or better (students entering the Institute with a bachelor's degree from the University of Dallas may fulfill the requirement with such a course taken at the University no more than three years prior to admission into the IPS). Request for this option should be made prior to the registration for a course. Upon completion the student should submit an unofficial transcript to the Graduate Coordinator.
  2. By taking and passing a written examination in a language. (This examination may be the final examination in the special language courses offered for graduate students.)
  3. In the classical languages only, by passing a written examination on material from a classic text pertinent to the student's concentration and agreed upon by the Concentration Director and the Institute Director.

In some cases, where the student's dissertation requires proficiency in a language other than the normal four (for example, in dealing with Machiavelli or Cervantes or Kierkegaard), another language may be substituted for German or French. No one is allowed to do a dissertation on a topic whose major texts are in a language in which the student has not attained reading proficiency.

Before undertaking any of the ways of fulfilling the language requirement, the student should obtain a language approval form from the Graduate Coordinator and secure the approval of the Concentration Director, IPS Director and, outside of following the course option, of the language examiner. In the non-course options, the Concentration Director suggests to the IPS Director the text and the examiner.

All grades earned for foreign language courses will be recorded on the transcript but will not be included in determining the grade point average. The only exception will be for those language courses which may be counted for course credit towards a student's degree.



Requirements at this final stage of the Institute education include:

  1. Selection of one's Dissertation Director
  2. Registration for Dissertation Research I and II
  3. Approval of a dissertation proposal
  4. Oral defense of the dissertation
  5. Public lecture

Advice from the Dean

  1. The Ph.D. dissertation is written under the direction of a Dissertation Committee and in especially close collaboration with the Dissertation Director. Toward the end of one's course work, the student should visit with his Concentration Director, the IPS Director, and various members of the faculty with a view toward identifying a viable dissertation topic and qualified prospective director. Determining a dissertation topic and winning the cooperation of a faculty member as Dissertation Director is one of the doctoral student's most important tasks. Success is a matter of prudence that resists routinizing in rules and procedures. Remember that a dissertation is written under the direction of a faculty member. Don't think of it as a free-lance project for which one later seeks endorsement. Practically speaking, this means the topic ought to be of interest to the directors and be one in which they have special competence. Therefore, in the earliest stages of considering a Dissertation Proposal, formulate the thesis and its development in consultation with a professor you hope will be the Dissertation Director. This collaboration is more likely achieved if the student has prepared the way in previous course work, term papers, and serious discussion on the topic with members of the Institute faculty. With respect to the proposal, the more it is developed in consultation with interested, competent faculty, the more likely it is to lead to an expeditiously and successfully completed dissertation.
  2. Registration for Dissertation Research I and II indicates full time work on dissertation research and writing. Registration in Dissertation Research I presupposes that the student is working under the direction of his prospective Dissertation Director. Prerequisite to enrolling in Dissertation Research I is completion of the Comprehensive Examination and the Language Requirements. Registration in Dissertation Research II presupposes the student is working on an approved Dissertation Proposal.
  3. The student must submit to the IPS Director a Dissertation Proposal which should have been developed in consultation with a prospective Dissertation Director and approved by the Concentration Director. At this point, the IPS Director will approve the Dissertation Proposal and appoint a Dissertation Committee which shall consist of the Dissertation Director and at least two other readers. The proposal should state the thesis to be developed, outline the basic argument of the dissertation, and indicate the general direction and/or key areas of research. It should include a complete bibliography of primary source material and a substantial selection of relevant secondary references. In length the narrative of the proposal should be no shorter than four or five (double-spaced, typed) pages.
  4. After submission of the final typescript of the dissertation which has met with the approval of all the readers of the Dissertation Committee, the IPS Director sets the date for an oral defense by the candidate before a select committee. The committee includes the Dissertation Director as chair, the other readers and two other members of the Institute Faculty outside the concentration who are appointed by the Institute Director after consultation with the candidate's Dissertation Director. One of these latter two may be a scholar from another academic institution. The Institute Director, the Graduate Dean, and the Provost may be ex officio, but non-voting, members of the committee. The defense is open to attendance by all members of the Institute Faculty and the Graduate Directors. Such visitors do not have the right to vote upon the candidate's performance. Immediately after a successful defense by the candidate, the three readers sign the dissertation. An unsuccessful defense means that the dissertation will not be accepted and the doctoral degree will not be awarded. A second and final defense will be permitted by the examiners after the candidate has made the required correction or revisions. The final copy should follow consistently one of the options provided by The Chicago Manual of Style as summarized in the Turabian-Honigsblum manual for thesis and dissertation writing. To ensure permanence, the final copy should be on 100% cotton rag paper. The print should be letter quality. Detailed procedures are available in the Graduate Coordinator's office. The final draft of the dissertation, approved by three readers, must be submitted to the Graduate Dean no later than six weeks before graduation in regular semesters.
  5. After candidates have successfully completed their oral defense, they must prepare a public lecture of approximately thirty minutes based upon the dissertation. A reception follows the lecture. The IPS Director or Dissertation Director will normally preside at the lecture.

Scholarship Policies

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement for a period of one academic year and are renewable annually. Scholarship support requires full time study and covers required course work, Dissertation I and II, and language instruction at UD of up to 18 hours needed to meet the Language Requirements. To maintain a University scholarship a student is expected to keep a GPA on course work of at least 3.5.

Students who receive less than a "C" grade (2.0) in a course may retake the course to try to obtain a better grade. However, scholarships will not cover such retakes, nor will they cover retakes of, or substitution for courses in which a grade of permanent Incomplete (I*) was earned. Without special dispensation by the IPS Director, students must pay to retake courses which are required by their program and from which they have withdrawn.

Students who decide to transfer from the IPS to one of the Master's programs forfeit their IPS tuition remission scholarship. Those who have received special University grants will no longer be eligible for them if they transfer out of the IPS.

Information regarding eligibility for federal and state financial aid is contained in the general bulletin of the University of Dallas.

Additional Policies

Institute M.A. 

Students in the Institute may apply for a Master of Arts in their concentration upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, forty-two credit hours, and fulfillment of one language requirement. Proper distribution of credit hours involves at least thirty hours in the concentration, to which appropriate Core courses and other courses approved by the Concentration Director as part of the degree plan may apply.

Transfer of graduate credits

After students have successfully passed the Qualifying Examination, they may petition for a transfer of concentration credits from previous graduate studies. Note: transfer work may not be used to earn the Institute M.A. If the previous work in question was done at an institution other than UD, then no more than nine credits may be transferred into the IPS. However, transfer of course credits is not automatic. The Concentration Director recommends, the Institute Director approves the transfer, and the Graduate Dean's signature makes the transfer final. Course work eligible for consideration for transfer credit must meet the following conditions: it must have been taken within the previous six years, it must be strictly comparable to UD courses, the work must have been done at an accredited university or college, and it must have received the equivalent of a grade of "B" or better. Pass/fail courses may not be transferred. If the previous work was Masters level work done at UD in the programs of English, Philosophy or Politics, then the number of allowable credits will be limited by the discretion of the IPS Director and Graduate Dean upon the recommendation of the Concentration Director. For instance, it is conceivable that an IPS student with a recent UD M.A. in Politics, could transfer 21 (or even 36) credit hours toward satisfaction of the 36 hours of course work required in the concentration. In making petitions, students must submit to the Concentration Director a syllabus or official course description for each course they wish transferred along with a copy of their official transcript which is on file in the Graduate Coordinator's office.

Changing one's concentration

After a student's first year or 18 credit hours in the IPS, requests to change from one concentration to another may be reviewed by the Concentration Director and IPS Director. Students should note that scholarships cover only 66 hours of course work in the IPS, even if they transfer concentrations.

Admission to candidacy

Applicants are admitted to candidacy after successfully completing all course requirements, satisfying the two language requirements, and passing the Comprehensive Examination. Having completed these requirements, students may use the "Ph.D. (cand.)" after their name.

Diploma application

Candidates for a degree must apply within the first two weeks of the semester in which they intend to graduate. Forms should be picked up in the Graduate Coordinator's Office and returned, along with a check covering graduation expenses, to the Coordinator. For the amount of graduation fees, consult the Bulletin each year.

Classification of students

Full-time students are enrolled for a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester. Part-time students are enrolled for fewer than 9 credit hours per semester. Part-time status in the IPS is discouraged.

Incomplete grade policy

The "I" (incomplete) grade should be used sparingly. It may be given in a class if, for a serious reason, the student was unable to finish all assignments by the end of the semester and the reasons for the delay have been accepted by the professor. No "I" grade is to be given unless the student explicitly requests it from a professor. All "I" grades for any semester must be removed before the first day of the regular registration for the next semester. The professor has the right to require that the work be done more quickly than the established deadline.

It is the student's responsibility to submit all work required to the professor at least two weeks before the grade is due and to remind the professor of the final deadline. Prior arrangements should be made especially with those professors who may be absent during a particular semester or in the summer.

When work is submitted by the due date, the "I" is only slashed over. If work is not completed on time, the "I" grade will either become permanent (I*) or will be changed to some other grade, at the teacher's discretion, to reflect the work completed.

Braniff Graduate School scholarships will not cover the re-taking of courses in which a permanent incomplete (I*) was earned.

GPA requirements

The minimum GPA required for annual continuance in the program and for graduation is 3.00. In courses in which a grade lower than C (2.00 GPA) is given, the grade counts for determining the grade point average but does not satisfy course requirements. Grades for language courses do not count in the final GPA, nor will they be counted in determining both scholarship renewal and eligibility to continue in the programs.

A GPA of 3.5 is required for continued scholarship support.

Review of students

At the end of each spring semester all IPS students are reviewed to determine their continuance in the program and the level of University of Dallas scholarship aid they will receive.

Student absences

Students are expected to attend all scheduled classes, and to satisfy all course requirements within the time limits established by their professors, unless prevented from doing so by extraordinary circumstances such as serious illness or unavoidable travel. A professor who deems that a student has been excessively absent during the first half of the semester may recommend that the student withdraw from the course. If a student has been excessively absent throughout the entire semester, the professor may withhold permission to take the final examination and, depending on the student's academic performance, assign a grade of F or FA (failure due to absence).


Every semester the Graduate Office publishes a calendar listing the deadlines for the completion of degree requirements. The student is responsible for knowing and meeting these guidelines.

Leaves of absence 

Students who need to interrupt their course of studies from one semester to the next must seek a leave of absence. Request for a leave must be made at least two weeks prior to the first day of classes and addressed to the IPS Director. Upon the recommendation of the Director, the Graduate Dean will grant or deny the leave. Leaves will be granted for a fixed period and only where there is a good reason for the absence and a good prospect of the students returning to the program. Leaves of absence will not be counted in the time limit for completion of the degree. Students who interrupt their course of studies without a leave of absence are considered to have resigned from the program and must reapply for admission if they should desire to return. 

Non-credit matriculation

A student who needs extra time to prepare for examinations or to do research for a dissertation may register for a non-credit Doctoral Reading (8V99) course. Registration for this course indicates that the student is involved full time in studies necessary for non-course work degree requirements. At the end of each Reading course the student must demonstrate progress toward completion of a requirement. Registration requires the approval of the Graduate Dean. Doctoral students are limited to a total of four graduate level non-credit Reading courses.