Philosophy, PhD

“Few wish to undergo this labor for love of knowledge, yet God has placed a natural desire for it in the human mind.”

In accord with these words of Thomas Aquinas, graduate study in philosophy calls to those whom the love of wisdom impels beyond the ordinary. It is a labor of love, undertaken by those who are already well equipped for professional success, but who choose to dedicate themselves further to the pursuit of wisdom. For some this means a lifelong commitment to philosophy, with all the sacrifices this entails. For others it means postponing for one more year the comforts of a full-time income, or dedicating nights and weekends to the task of study. Yet it is also a matter of deep and abiding joy, and a task that prepares the mind for whatever life may hold.

At the University of Dallas, graduate study in philosophy is a joyful dialogue with the great works of the Western tradition and the most insightful voices of the present, in pursuit of a wisdom that does not change, but that reveals itself only gradually to the human mind. This dialogue embraces not only philosophy in the narrow sense, but also the closely related fields of literature, politics, and theology. It is charged with the weight of Christian revelation, and with the light this revelation sheds on our shared humanity.

The philosophic teacher

The doctoral program in philosophy serves students who aspire to make philosophy a lifelong pursuit through teaching. Our students’ unique, interdisciplinary training in the Institute of Philosophic Studies [link to page] makes them exceptionally well qualified [link to placement data] to teach in local and regional colleges, seminaries, and classical and preparatory schools where the ideals of liberal learning and formation of the whole person are valued.

The task of integration

The aim of philosophy at the University of Dallas is to recover the possibility of a wisdom dealing with those “first things” which ground and locate human experience within the whole of being. Philosophy explores the totality of human existence; it analyzes the commitments and assumptions on which other human endeavors depend, and recommends ways in which they might be situated so as to throw light on the character of the whole. It thus illuminates these other endeavors by giving them perspective.

Within the context of a Catholic university, the integrative role of philosophy takes on an even deeper significance. The Catholic intellectual tradition and the plight of contemporary culture both teach us that without a properly philosophic orientation, the light of Christian revelation is cut off from the world of human learning. The dialogue between faith and reason, between revelation and human culture, must be mediated in part by philosophy.

A shared dedication

Philosophy cannot flourish in its distinctive intellectual role apart from the transformative power of literature and the arts, keen attention to the flourishing of human communities, and the light shed on all of these by the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Within the IPS, literature, politics, and philosophy all figure as properly philosophic studies, inseparably connected to one another and jointly attentive to the scriptural roots of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

For this reason, doctoral students in philosophy at UD earn a doctorate in philosophic studies with concentration in philosophy. The seven core courses that they take with their colleagues in literature and politics shape a capacity for transformative teaching that philosophy in the narrow sense cannot achieve on its own.

A unique community

The shared sense of a common task across disciplines creates a unique intellectual community: a place where the decision to pursue graduate study is well and truly grounded in “the pursuit of wisdom, of truth, and of virtue as the proper and primary ends of education.” Our students’ shared purpose finds expression in the work of the Braniff Graduate Student Association.

For more information

For more information about our doctoral program, we encourage you to contact our graduate director, Dr. Angela Knobel