The Institute of Philosophic Studies

Share in the search for wisdom and understanding. 

What is now the Institute of Philosophic Studies developed from an integrated program in Literature and Politics conceived by Louise Cowan and Willmoore Kendall. Their founding conviction was that Politics and Literature, in their search for wisdom and understanding about the most important things, shared a common focus on human discourse and its reflection of the human soul. Graduate education in the liberal arts at the University of Dallas found its object of study in the concrete, personal human experience expressed in the canon of great literature of the West and subjected its various images of man to philosophic reflection. From its beginning, therefore, graduate education in the liberal arts has centered its focus on the textual tradition stretching from the ancient Greeks and Hebrews to contemporary classics. Supported by the generous philanthropy of the Blakley-Braniff Foundation, the program began in 1966.

IPS History

Return to the philosophic foundations of doctoral study. 

In 1972, the Politics-Literature program, initially named the Willmoore Kendall Program, became the Institute of Philosophic Studies. Its aim was to revitalize various cognate humanistic disciplines by returning them to the question of their philosophic foundations, thus making the Ph.D. the title of a genuine Philosophiae Doctor, a doctor in philosophy. A program in anthropological psychology was added at that time. Subsequently, a philosophy program was undertaken in 1973 and a theology program in 1976.

As a result of a rigorous self-study begun in 1982, the Institute of Philosophic Studies reached its current configuration in 1985. It now offers a single Ph.D. in Philosophic Studies with concentrations in the disciplines of Literature, Philosophy, and Politics. The study of classic texts was adopted as the primary mode of instruction in the Institute as a whole. In order to bring the concentration disciplines into dialogue with each other, a common core of course work was established. Occupying twenty-one hours in the doctoral curriculum, it requires courses that engage fundamental texts, principles, and issues that are formative of the theological, literary, philosophical, and political strains in the moral and intellectual tradition of the West. The remaining course work is devoted to mastery of the questions, canon, and mode of inquiry particular to one of the three concentration disciplines.

News

Program Aims to Open UD Ethos to Wider Community

On Thursday, Sept. 26, several members of the university community gathered to celebrate the completion of Course II of the Studies in Catholic Faith and Culture program, the first component of UD's Liberal Learning for Life initiative. The course is titled "The Person: Tradition and History."

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The Idea of Our University

To found the famous Core curriculum of the University of Dallas, as an education "best for the individual," Donald and Louise Cowan looked to John Henry Newman's The Idea of a University. He unapologetically promotes the Western classics -- precisely because so few know our own culture well enough to appreciate the depth of any other.

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To Russia with UD: Faculty to Lead UD's First Tour of Russia

This summer, the University of Dallas invites students, alumni, faculty and staff to join its first-ever tour abroad of Russia, led by Professor of Physics Richard Olenick and Affiliate Instructor of Spanish, French and Italian Irina Rodriguez. From June 8 to June 16, 2020, Olenick and Rodriguez will guide participants through the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, taking them on a cultural and literary tour of the "Russian soul."

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