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Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology


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The Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, a member of the Graduate Theological Union, is a community of scholars committed to the pursuit of truth as revealed in the Gospel and discovered by human reason.
Inspired by the Dominican practice of disciplined inquiry and learned preaching, the School draws its students into the rich tradition of classical philosophy and Catholic theology, especially as exemplified by St. Thomas Aquinas. From this tradition, it engages contemporary scholarship and culture in mutual enrichment.
As a Center of Studies of the Order of Preachers and an apostolate of the Western Dominican Province, the School is committed to preparing women and men for academic and apostolic vocations.
Motivated by a thirst for truth, the disciplined inquirer is a life-long learner who recognizes fundamental principles in a given field of inquiry and applies them in creative or innovative ways to broader contemporary issues that are of importance to the Church, the academy, and society.
A collaborative leader inspires within others the desire to realize the common good by articulating to academy or society a coherent vision rooted in the Church's mission, all the while leading by example. We believe that the most robust knowledge can be found when human reason, respected in its own right, is guided by the light of faith. Our Faculty value the necessary and fruitful partnership between philosophy and theology, creating a communal learning environment suffused with this interdisciplinary approach. This is why students come to DSPT.
Since the 13th century, Dominican educational centers have incorporated the works of ancient Greek philosophers, of Muslim and Jewish scholars, and many contemporary philosophers and theologians. Remaining rooted in this tradition, our students and professors engage in conversations inside and outside of the classroom, exploring various ideologies and concerns of contemporary culture.
Following the Dominican Order's long-standing interest in the fine arts, DSPT further encourages these interdisciplinary conversations through Blackfriars Gallery. Using the resources of the Blackfriars Institute for Religion and the Arts, exhibitions bring the tradition of art into conversation with academic disciplines such as aesthetics, sacred arts, liturgical studies, and Catholic culture.
DSPT is engaged in a rare dialogue with ancient, medieval, modern wisdom, seeking to renew the relationship between philosophy and theology to transform the contemporary world. As a historic Dominican institution, we aim to convert hearts and minds by preaching the truth discovered by human reason and revealed in the Gospel.
We are a community of scholars committed to studying both philosophy and theology, which we view as complementary forms of knowledge, as did our exemplars, St. Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas. In our Dominican tradition, philosophy is a necessary pursuit that allows us to understand God's revelation's intelligibility. Since the 13th century, the Dominican order has equipped Catholics to engage the vast Western philosophical tradition, which illumines theology's practice. Thus, unlike most graduate schools, DSPT integrates our departments of philosophy and theology, encouraging faculty and students to engage both disciplines as part of a single conversation, attentive to the fullest range of truth. As our students become masters of each discipline, they develop the ability to think and reason from "first principles," which allows them to engage contemporary thought charitably and critically. Our search for wisdom is driven by a singular conviction: that the truth can be known, and that pursuit of the truth is the highest human vocation, a vocation in which we become our fully ourselves.
In cooperation with the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), DSPT offers a semester of study in Rome for students in the DSPT Master of Arts (Theology) program and the concurrent MA study option. To qualify for this opportunity, students must have completed at least 24-semester units of coursework in the MA (Theology) program at the Berkeley campus. Because of the time involved in procuring necessary documentation, interested students should begin the application process one year before the study's anticipated time. No application will be considered less than six months before the start of the proposed semester abroad.
Students in any DSPT MA program may petition to study at Dominican University College (Ottawa) as an Official Visiting Student. Because preference will be given to those applying for the full academic year, this program is best suited for those in the concurrent MAPh/MATh [or GTU MA] option. Official Visiting Students will be responsible for paying all applicable tuition fees and other charges at the host institution where they are registered in a program of study.
The MA Philosophy degree program offers a rich background in classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy, emphasizing the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. Our MA Philosophy program's approach is historical and systematic, aiming to understand Aquinas in context and how the tradition has interpreted and handed down his thought. An MA in Philosophy from DSPT equips students to master the Western philosophical tradition and bring philosophical thought into fruitful dialogue with theology.
Following the scholastic tradition, our MA Philosophy program is designed to deepen and expand one's knowledge of philosophy's perennial issues. Following St. Thomas, this means seeking to understand the truth in all its forms and examining the ordered relationships between faith and reason, old and new, Gospel, and culture. The academic search is not merely a study of ancient texts and issues but also translates into contemporary contexts.
DSPT offers a concurrent study option in MA Philosophy and MA Theology (Concurrent MA Option), where qualified students focus their study and research in a particular manner on those dynamic cross-sections between philosophy and theology. For the lay scholar, the Concurrent MA Option makes available the comprehensive breadth of Dominican education.

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