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.
First year residency
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).
Successful completion of the Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations.
Reading knowledge of one classical language (Latin or ancient Greek) and one modern
language (usually French or German).
Successful defense of a Ph.D. dissertation.
Doctoral Requirements: Details
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
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.
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 Examination consists of three parts:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.)
Dates for particular languages are announced in the Graduate calendar.
- 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:
- Selection of one's Dissertation Director
- Registration for Dissertation Research I and II
- Approval of a dissertation proposal
- Oral defense of the dissertation
- Public lecture
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.