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Arete: An Introduction to the Classics

Arete is a great opportunity for high school students to experience some of the most important classical texts of Western Civilization, improve their reading and writing skills, and earn college credit.  

Arete Student Panels

Why Arete?

According to the great texts of the past, the noble life requires removing all scales from one's eyes and seeing clearly. The next step is to "do" the right thing: to be able to choose, in sometimes ambiguous circumstances, the path that leads to freedom rather than enslavement. This twofold process, one which encourages us to live nobly, has formed the basis of Liberal Education and constitutes the foundation on which civilization rests. In introducing you to the essential texts of Western Civilization and allowing you to reflect on works of fine art, film and music, Arete will offer you a taste of how education frees us.

Arete Girls Studying

The Readings

The curriculum is centered around the question of the noble life. Over the course of two weeks students will read and discuss such texts as Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and selections from Plato's Republic. In the past students have also read and discussed Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Henry V, As You Like It, Cymbeline, and Othello, Selections from Aristotle's Ethics and Herodotus' Histories, Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation", William Faulkner's "Barn Burning", and American Founding documents.

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Shakespeare in the Park

Weekend Site Visits

The program features weekend trips into Dallas and Fort Worth. In the past students have visited the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Kimball Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Stockyards and have seen a play at Shakespeare Dallas.

Arete Campus Shot

Dates, Costs, Application

The 2015 Arete program will cost $1,500. Dates are TBA. Our early application deadline is February 2, 2015. Students who have complete applications by February 2 will be eligible to receive a discount. We encourage students to apply as soon as possible to reserve a spot on the program.

Arete Directors

The Faculty

Arete was founded by Dr. Louise Cowan, recipient of the distinguished NEH Humanities Award, architect of the renowned University of Dallas freshman and sophomore core curriculum, and founder of the summer program for teachers at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. The lecturing staff is comprised of full-time UD faculty from the Philosophy, Theology, Classics, History, Politics, Art, English, and Comparative Literature departments while the seminar leaders are PhD students in the Institute of Philosophic Studies.

Irving Campus

The Irving Campus

The University of Dallas' main campus in Irving, Texas is located approximately 15 minutes from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport and Dallas Love Field. The campus is conveniently situated in the heart of the metroplex with access to public transportation into Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, and other cities. 


See how the University of Dallas's Arete program can open your mind. Read an article from 2010 Arete participant Amy Yznaga and watch the Arete video below. For more information submit an online inquiry form or contact

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