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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Note: this is the FAQ for the Classical Education Graduate Program. For the general FAQ about applications to Braniff programs, click here. For information about registration, advising, and other concerns of current, registered students, please see the Braniff Student Resources page.

Do you have questions about the Classical Education Graduate Program? Are you wondering how you will meet specific program requirements? Not to worry! We have compiled here a list of the most frequently asked questions about our degree and certificate offerings. Don't see an answer to your question here? Contact Dr. John M. Peterson, Manager of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs, at

Is this an online program?

Yes, we have many online offerings, but no, it is not strictly an online program. We offer mostly online courses during the school year, and in-person classes in the summers on our campuses in Irving and Rome. In addition, we partner with schools and school networks to offer summer courses in locations around the country. (Example)

Can the program be completed entirely online and remotely?

Yes. All of our required courses and many of our elective courses are available online. While students must complete the practicum requirement in a classical school, and if completing an MA, consult regularly with their thesis adviser, it is possible to complete the program without taking an in-person class. However, we strongly encourage students to enroll in summer courses in Irving or elsewhere, and experience the life of the classical education program as a member of a cohort.

What are the online courses like? How do they compare to in-person courses?

There are two kinds of online courses: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous courses are offered at a definite time, usually once a week in the evening, in a virtual classroom where the professor lectures and moderates discussions through a webcam. Course content, including readings and assignments, is accessible through our online learning center and is usually released on a schedule throughout the semester. Asynchronous courses do not meet at a definite time; rather, all course content, including lectures, is available online. Students proceed through these materials and participate in online discussions moderated by the professor, and follow a schedule throughout the semester.

Online courses have advantages and drawbacks. The biggest advantage is that they allow students around the country to come together. There are also many ways for students and professors to interact online. However, an online course cannot reproduce the sense of a community engaged in a shared enterprise afforded by an in-person course. This is why we strongly encourage students to take advantage of a semester in Irving, our partner programs in other locations, and Classical Education in Rome.

Why might I choose to enroll in the MA rather than the Master's, or vice-versa? Can I switch between them?

Traditionally, the MA is more of an academic degree, while the Master's is a more professional degree. "Classical Education" as a discipline is very new, and can be seen as both academic and professional. The only difference between these degrees in our program is that the MA includes a language and thesis requirement. Master's students take six credit hours of electives instead of the thesis. Students might choose the MA option if they anticipate undertaking further academic work, or if they would prefer to write a master's thesis instead of taking two additional classes. Between one-third and one-fourth of our degree-seeking students pursue the MA.

If you do enroll in the MA or the Master's, it is relatively easy to transfer to the other program, or even to the Certificate program, even after advancing almost to graduation. No matter what path you choose, you can consult with the Graduate Director to make sure you are on track.

Does this program grant teacher certification?

The MA and Master's programs do not grant certification; however, students in these programs can enroll in the Alternative Certification program through our Education department, and take all of the Alt-Cert courses as Classical Ed electives (note: this will constitute all of your Classical Ed electives). These courses are being developed for online delivery, but for now, are not yet available online; consequently, Alt-Cert students must be local.

What is the cost of the program?

We are committed to making graduate study in classical education feasible and affordable for working teachers. Classical education students pay a discounted rate of $435 per credit hour, with no added fees. This is a reduction of the Braniff graduate tuition of $685 + $35 fee per credit hour. The cost of the 36-credit hour Classical Education Master's and MA programs is therefore $15,660 (reduced from $25,920), while the cost of the 18-credit Certificate of Classical Learning is $7,830.

This cost can be further reduced with a scholarship.

Do you have scholarships available?

Yes, the already reduced classical education tuition can be further reduced with a scholarship. Note that students must renew this funding each year.

Why are you doing this?

First, we love the tradition we have inherited. We want to hand it down to subsequent generations, to bequeath to them what Matthew Arnold called "the best that has been thought and known in the world."

Second, we feel strongly that a classical education is the best way to form good, free, and happy human beings, neighbors, and citizens.

Finally, there is a need for feasible, affordable, and morally and intellectually serious continuing education for classical school teachers and leaders all over the world, and the University of Dallas, with its strong faculty, its core curriculum, and its tradition of dedication to classical education and the liberal arts, is uniquely positioned to meet that need.

I'm already a teacher at a classical school. Why would I need a Master's degree in classical education?

"O, reason not the need!" Of course you are already doing great work in your current school and community. The Classical Education graduate program is not a training program; rather, it is a continuing education program in classical principles and pedagogy for teachers and leaders who want to go to the philosophical roots of classical education and the liberal arts, further their careers, and deepen their understanding of their profession. 

I'm not currently a teacher. Is that a problem?

Not at all. The majority of students in our programs are working teachers, but we also have many students who are not currently teaching. There is no requirement to do a Teaching Practicum, but we can place students who are interested in the Practicum in an appropriate local school. We have relationships with schools and networks around the country, so this is not a problem. In fact, if your goal is to become a classroom teacher in a classical school, this program is a great start.

Is the program difficult?

First of all, you do very important work, and if you are considering this program, it means you care deeply and think seriously about that work. That already takes you a long way.

Yes, it is an intellectually challenging and serious program. However, if you do the readings, participate in discussions, and apply yourself diligently to the work, you will do well.

I'm a math or science teacher. How will this program help me?

Our program as a whole focuses on the unity of the liberal arts. Although the Classical Education concentration falls under "Humanities" in our graduate school, it is not limited to humanities in the modern sense as a discipline or field that is distinct from the sciences. In fact, that very distinction is one of the obstacles to teaching the unity of truth and the connection between the good, the true, and the beautiful. Science and math teachers just as much as literature and history teachers have to overcome their students' prejudice--the prejudice of our times--that science-truth is fundamentally different than humanities-truth. This distinction is connected to our present-day relativism, and to the lesson, taught harmfully to young children everywhere, that there are no such things as moral facts, only scientific ones.

More concretely, our course offerings regularly include science and math. Examples include Quadrivium; Logic, Geometry and Proof; Classical Pedagogy in the Science Classroom; and History of Science. More offerings are in the pipeline.

Furthermore, math and science teachers will benefit from our courses on The Trivium and Philosophy of Education, which approach the arts of math and science no less than those of language. The course of our program as a whole will give you a deeper understanding not only of classical education as a whole, but of your own subjects.

How long does the typical student take to complete the program?

Most of our students are full-time teachers, and take 3 to 6 credits per semester. A student taking six credits each semester will complete the 36-credit Master's program in two years. The MA, which includes a thesis and language requirement, will take a little longer. The only required timeline is that you finish the program within six years (although this can be extended with an approved leave of absence); students can complete the program faster or slower, according to their specific needs.

What does a typical calendar year look like for students in the Classical Education Graduate Program?

See above. Your calendar is up to you. You may take as many or as few classes as you wish.

I'm very busy, and don't know how many credits I could take each semester. How much of a time commitment is this?

It depends on the course and the student. You can expect to do a good amount of reading, both of course materials and of student discussion posts, and must set aside time each week for making your own discussion posts and working on assigned essays. We aim for 2-3 hours of work outside of class for every hour of class time.

What if I need to take time off from the program?

That's fine. You just need to let us know. However, you have to finish the program within six years. You can request a leave of absence, if necessary, to delay this.

What courses are you offering this semester? What courses have you offered in the past?

The courses vary each semester and are typically posted approximately two months before registration for each term. You can search for courses here. Most Classical Education classes are listed under "Humanities." You can find a spreadsheet with information on current and past courses here.

Our program is growing rapidly and we are actively creating and adding more courses. The following are courses that we have offered in the past:

Summer 2020: Philosophy of Education; Master Teachers of the Western Tradition; History of Liberal Arts Education; Plato and Socratic Conversation; Renaissance Literature; Educational Leadership: Teacher Retention & Motivation

Spring 2020: The Trivium; The Medieval World, Classical Pedagogy in the Science Classroom; Teaching Great American Speeches; The Moral and Scientific Foundations of Modernity; Being, Art, and Technology

Fall 2019: Quadrivium (online, synchronous); The Ancient World (online, asynchronous); Classical Pedagogy, Ancient and Modern (online, synchronous); Foreign Language Pedagogy in Classical Elementary Schools (online, synchronous); Aquinas and Virtue (online, synchronous); Herodotus (online, asynchronous)

Summer 2019: Philosophy of Education (Online); Philosophy and the Renaissance (Irving); Logic, Geometry, and Proof (Irving); 20th Century Poetry by the Book (Irving); Shakespeare, the Renaissance, and the Baroque (Rome); Strategies of Poetic Composition in the Classical Epics (Rome); Shakespeare on Human Nature (Phoenix); Philosophical Realism and the Moral Imagination (Phoenix)

Spring 2019: The Trivium (Online); Teaching Classical Children's Literature (Online); Teaching Great American Speeches (Online); The Recent World (Irving); The Baroque World (Online)

Fall 2018The Ancient World (Online); The Modern World (Irving); Herodotus (Online); Aquinas and Hobbes (Online); Henry Adams (Online); Argumentation (Irving)

Fall/Spring/Summer 2017–18: The Ancient World (Online); Plato on Rhetoric (Irving); The Renaissance World (Irving); Philosophy of Education (Irving); The Baroque World (Online); History of Science (Online); The Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages (Online); Logic, Geometry, and Proof (Irving); The Trivium (Irving); History of Liberal Arts Education (Irving); Writing as Imitation (Irving); Gawain-Poet (Online)

In addition to these courses offered specifically for the Classical Education Graduate Program, students may take any other courses offered online or in-person in Irving as electives.

I am a home educator. How will your program benefit my homeschool?

Our program will help you succeed with confidence as you implement classical pedagogy in your home. Depending on the ages of your children, it is recommended that you consider starting with The Trivium class, or Teaching Classical Children's Literature, if available. The material and content in these courses are perfect for building a classical homeschool foundation. Remember, you can take as few or as many courses per semester as you wish. Typically home educators prefer to start with one class at a time.

Do I need a bachelor's degree for this program?

Yes. This is required for our accreditation.

I'm interested in applying. Do I need to take the GRE?

No. If you have GRE scores, you are welcome to submit them, but we do not require them.

I haven't been in college for a long time. The Braniff application FAQ says "recommendations should be written by college or university professors." They won't remember me!

That's fine, and not uncommon for our applicants. Ask for recommendations from those professional acquaintances who can speak to your aptitude for intellectual work. If you are a teacher, a faculty mentor or administrator is a good place to start. We are always willing to consider special circumstances.

What can I use as a writing sample? I haven't written anything academic in a long time!

That's okay. If you do have recent academic writing, please use that, but in lieu of that, submit something that demonstrates your thoughtfulness as a teacher and scholar. For instance, you may have particularly good lesson plans, or a curriculum map with paragraph-length explanations. Another option is to write an essay on a book you love or have read recently. The writing sample should help show that you are a good candidate for graduate study.

How does the practicum work? I am already an experienced teacher!

Note: for students entering the program in Fall 2020 or later, the Practicum is no longer required. Students may still elect to take up to nine credits of Practicum. If you are not currently working as a teacher, we can place you in a classical school for your practicum. If you are currently working in a classical school, we ask you to devise a project, together with a mentor at your school and under the direction of a member of our faculty, that goes beyond your normal school duties, puts into practice the principles you've studied in your coursework, and amounts to about the same amount of work as a three-credit course. Practica take many different forms. Typically, practica span the course of two semesters, each worth three credits; however, it is necessary to register for the practicum each semester. Your mentor and faculty adviser regularly will assess your work, and you will be assigned a grade at the end of each semester.

How do I apply?

First, review the Braniff Admissions process. Note: where the Braniff Admissions FAQ contradicts this FAQ, defer to this one if you're applying for Classical Education programs.

Next, start your application here.

I am a school administrator or member of a local group involved in classical education, and we would like to advertise a job to your students and alumni. Can you send a job posting to them? 

We can indeed. We get many inquiries like this, and are happy to pass them on. However, we get so many that we have created a form for submitting classical education jobs. You are welcome to contact with more information, but please do use this form. It is the fastest way to get the job listing to our students and alumni. When you submit through this form, it is quickly reviewed and posted on a platform for their convenient perusal.

Additionally, we will sometimes contact specific students with information about your job when we know that it will interest them in particular.

Would you consider a special arrangement with our school or school network?

Yes, we will. We have students from all over the United States and Canada, and maintain partnerships and relationships with many different school networks and other organizations involved in classical education. Are you interested in working with us to provide continuing education and professional development for your teachers, help with classical curriculum, or something else? E-mail us or give us a call!