Doctor of Arts

Doctor of Arts


In keeping with Harrison Middleton University's commitment to promote excellence in education and its desire to create highly trained scholars and professionals who have a broad, interdisciplinary perspective, the university offers a Doctor of Arts program.


About the Doctor of Arts Program

The Doctor of Arts degree gives students the opportunity to pursue advanced scholarly study of interdisciplinary content areas that can be utilized in a variety of situations. The program offers students the opportunity to pursue their self-designed studies in such a way as to enhance their breadth of applicable knowledge in the four concentrations of imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social science.

Graduates of the Doctor of Arts program will be able to think, speak, read, and write about vital ideas of the humanities and the Western cultural tradition with confidence and sophistication, make an original contribution to the body of knowledge in their field of choice, and demonstrate intellectual maturity and initiative that can be applied to a range of future endeavors. This is a distance education program and students are never required to attend an on-campus class.

*View our admission criteria for Harrison Middleton University programs.


Program Objectives

Upon successful completion of the Doctor of Arts program, students will have met the following objectives:

  • Design, implement, and complete a self-directed doctoral program of study of the great works in the liberal arts.
  • Demonstrate facility with the Shared Inquiry methodology by formulating interpretive questions and taking part in course discussions.
  • Think critically about great ideas in Western thought and engage in rigorous discussion about fundamental questions of human existence.
  • Demonstrate a thorough and interdisciplinary knowledge of Western cultural history in their fields of choice.
  • Evaluate, synthesize, and articulate the major literature, theories, practices, problems, and ethical issues discussed in their coursework. 
  • Communicate effectively with clarity and sophistication in written and oral form in a variety of settings; utilize logical coherence and consistency, and the proper use of evidence and citations, in order to explore their fields of choice.
  • Present evidence of significant intellectual inquiry, original thought, and interdisciplinary knowledge in the form of a Capstone and its defense.


Program Outcomes

  • Written assignments—Upon completion of the program the student will have prepared for each discussion by formulating original interpretive questions and selecting passages for textual analysis that explore the course texts, considering multiple possibilities of meaning in a way that is relevant to the student’s area of interest.
  • Discussions—Upon completion of the program the student will have participated in Shared Inquiry discussions, answering and elaborating upon his or her interpretive questions in order to further develop initial thoughts and reactions, clarify ideas, and build a network of interpretive possibilities.
  • Essays—Upon completion of the program the student will have composed end-of-course essays that demonstrate graduate-level writing skills, an understanding of the course texts, and an original interpretive stance on some aspect of those texts.
  • Comprehensive exams—Upon completion of the program the student will have participated in two rounds of comprehensive oral examinations with a panel of faculty members, demonstrating facility with the concepts and texts relevant to his or her program of study as a result of both advance preparation and spontaneous analysis in response to prompting.
  • The Capstone—Upon completion of the program the student will have proposed, planned, and executed a Capstone that applies the knowledge and skills acquired in coursework to a project of interest, making an original contribution to his or her field of choice.
  • Capstone defense—Upon completion of the program the student will have presented an oral or written Capstone defense to the members of his or her Instructional Team, demonstrating the merit of the Capstone itself as well as proficiency in the necessary communication skills.

Program outcomes promote the development of critical thinking, ethical reasoning, social responsibility, global citizenship, civic engagement, and lifelong learning.



Program of Study

Harrison Middleton University’s Doctor of Arts program is based on the belief that primary source documents provide unique opportunities for the past to be explored. The coursework portion of the Doctor of Arts degree at Harrison Middleton University is primarily organized around the Great Books of the Western World and the educational philosophies espoused by Mortimer Adler, Robert Hutchins, and Clifton Fadiman, among others, as well as the Board of Directors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Great Books of the Western World Committee of Consultants.

The Doctor of Arts program consists of The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course (4 credit hours), 48 credit hours of coursework divided into two 24-credit-hour blocks consisting of readings from the Great Books of the Western World, including syntopical readings on topics, sub-topics, references, cross-references, and additional readings from the Bibliography of Additional Readings, two comprehensive examinations, and lastly, the Doctoral Capstone (8 credit hours). The Capstone proposal requires the creation of a significant original work. The work must be an original contribution to knowledge and demonstrate the student’s proficiency as an independent investigator. The doctoral Capstone proposal must be approved by the student’s Instructional Team and the Dean.


Program Requirements

  • HUM 701: The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course ~ 4 credit hours
  • Concentration One ~ 24 credit hours
  • Oral Comprehensive Examination ~ Part One (Covering Concentration One)
  • Concentration Two ~ 24 credit hours
  • Oral Comprehensive Examination ~ Part Two (Covering Concentration Two)
  • HUM 702: Doctor of Arts Capstone ~ 8 credit hours

*Doctor of Arts course descriptions may be found in the HMU Catalog.