500X330_Grad_StThomasAquinasThe Center for Thomistic Studies is the only graduate philosophy program in the United States uniquely focused on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. In the pursuit of a living Thomism, the Center’s programs stress both historical understanding of Aquinas’s texts and a rigorous rethinking of his thirteenth-century wisdom in the light of twenty-first century problems and realities.

The Center offers courses in all periods in the history of philosophy, but the Center’s courses are distinctive in the way that they seek to maintain a dialogue between the thought of Aquinas and the thinking of major philosophers from a variety of philosophical traditions. Driving these inquiries, however, is a thirst for the truth, for the reality of both nature and supernature, which culminates in that unified understanding known as wisdom.

The Master of Arts in Philosophy in the Center for Thomistic Studies is a 30-credit hour program with 18 credit hours of core courses and 12 credit hours of electives. The program requires a comprehensive examination before applicant can be accepted into the program.

  1. The MA Comprehensive Examination is taken at the end of the semester in which the student takes the Comprehensive Examination Course. Students must obtain written permission from the Director of the Center in order to schedule the MA Comprehensive Examination in a semester other than the fourth semester of MA study.
  2. The candidate takes the two parts of the six-hour written examination either on the same day or on two consecutive days. The first part of the examination will cover ancient and medieval; the second part will cover early modern, late modern, and recent Thomistic material. Students must take the oral examination within one week of the written examination.
  3. The MA Comprehensive Examination is organized by the faculty member designated as the Faculty Coordinator. The Faculty Coordinator is responsible for the MA Comprehensive Course for that academic year. The Faculty Coordinator will solicit written questions from all Center faculty and at least two Center faculty members must grade each question. In consultation with the Director of the Center, the Faculty Coordinator will average the grades on the written test. Students must pass the written test with a minimum grade of “B-” in order to proceed to the oral examination. If a student fails the written examination, she/he must retake the exam within six months.
  4. The oral component of the examination lasts one hour and is set by three faculty examiners chosen by the Faculty Coordinator in consultation with the Director of the Center. The three examiners determine the grade for the oral examination. If the candidate passes the oral with a minimum grade of “B-”, the three examiners compare the written and oral grades and then by vote determine an overall grade for the MA Comprehensive Examination. This grade is entered as the grade for the MA Comprehensive Course. If a student fails the oral examination, he must retake it within six months.

degree plan MA in Philosophy

The Ph.D. in Philosophy in the Center for Thomistic Studies follows a rigorous curriculum that will prepare students to have successful careers. Before being accepted into the program, students will need to take a comprehensive examination.

  1. All course work must be completed before the PhD Comprehensive Examination is taken.
  2. Students preparing for the PhD Comprehensive Examination should register for PHIL 5605: Doctoral Exam the first semester after completing course work and PHIL 5606 for all succeeding semesters until their dissertation topic has been approved.
  3. The PhD Comprehensive Examination is taken during the regular semester following completion of course work. Written permission from the Director of the Center must be obtained to schedule the PhD Comprehensive Examination at a different time.
  4. The PhD Comprehensive Examination is organized by the Director of the Center or his or her appointee.
  5. The PhD Comprehensive consists of two parts: a twelve-hour written examination, divided into two parts: six hours on ancient and medieval philosophy, six hours on early modern, late modern, and recent Thomistic materials. The candidate will take the written examination on two or three different days within two weeks of each other.
  6. Questions will be solicited from all faculty in the Center for the written examination. At least two faculty members will grade each question. In consultation with a senior member of the Center, the Director will average the grades on the written test. Students must pass the written test with a minimum grade of “B” to proceed to the oral examination. If failed, the written exam may be retaken once, but must be retaken within one year of the date of the original exam.
  7. The oral examination lasts one hour and must be taken within two weeks of the final part of the written examination. The oral examination is set by three faculty examiners chosen by the Director. The three examiners determine the grade for the oral exam. If the candidate passes the oral with a minimum grade of “B”, the grades on the written and oral portions are compared and the overall grade is determined by vote. If a student fails the oral examination she/he must retake it within one year.

Degree Plan Ph.D. in Philosophy

The Next Level of Philosophy

500X330_NextLevelA degree in philosophy from the University of St. Thomas will give you something you won’t get from another university, our course offerings in philosophy are designed to promote these aims of a liberal education:

  1. To expand the mind through vital contact with many of the greatest and most influential thinkers of all time
  2. To recognize and evaluate the underlying assumptions that govern contemporary opinion and to consider alternatives
  3. To develop a capacity and love for disciplined and creative thinking about complex matters
  4. To understand connections among all the parts of an education and to prepare for graduate study in philosophy, theology, law and other disciplines as a basis for a variety of careers

Assessment in large part will be done in connection with the Senior Seminar, which is required of all majors.