IPS Core Curriculum

Illumine. Reflect. Explore.

The study of a "core curriculum," or a selection of classic texts and great books, is the primary focus of inquiry within the Institute of Philosophic Studies. Each of the works read in the program is distinguished by its extraordinary power to illumine reflective minds through an exploration of the human soul at the deepest moral and metaphysical plane.

Core Courses

The concentration disciplines come into dialogue with each other through a common core of course work. Occupying twenty one hours in the doctoral curriculum, it comprises courses that engage fundamental texts, principles, and issues that are formative of the literary, political and philosophical strains in the Western intellectual tradition. The following six courses are taken by all students in all three concentrations. They are scheduled in a three-year cycle, one course each semester.

Study the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer and Vergil's Aeneid.


Read the seminal texts by two thinkers who laid the foundations of Western philosophy; ordinarily these texts are the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics.


Study two of the great Christian thinkers; readings include Confessions, City of God, and the Summa Theologiae


Read Dante's The Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost.
Study the Leviathan and various works of Rousseau, such as Emile, the Social Contract and the two discourses.
Study the three thinkers in transition between modernity and postmodernity. Texts are typically the Preface to the Phenomenology of the Spirit, the Genealogy of Morals, and the Brothers Karamazov.
The seventh core course is one in the Bible. This requirement may be satisfied by a number of courses, whose principal text is some portion of the Bible. Such courses are offered most frequently by the Theology Department but also intermittently by the other departments in the Institute.

Core Reading List

  • Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Job, Psalms (1, 2, 22, 23, 29, 37, 47, 51, 53, 73, 95, 110, 130, 146-150), Isaiah, Matthew, John, Romans, Corinthians I and II, Revelation

  • Homer: Iliad

  • Plato: Republic

  • Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

  • Vergil: Aeneid

  • Augustine: Confessions

  • Bernard: On the Necessity of Loving God

  • Aquinas: Summa Theologiae I, 1-5 (Questions on Theology and God) II.1, 90-110, 112-113 (Questions on Law and Grace)

  • Dante: Divina Commedia

  • Machiavelli: The Prince

  • Luther: Freedom of a Christian

  • Council of Trent: On Justification

  • Descartes: Meditations

  • Shakespeare: Hamlet, Tempest, King Lear

  • Rousseau: Discourse on the Sciences and Arts and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

  • Kant: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics and Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals

  • Hegel: Phenomenology of Spirit

  • Nietzsche: Genealogy of Morals

  • Newman: Essay on the Development of Doctrine

  • Dostoevski: Brothers Karamazov

  • Heidegger: Being and Time