Doctoral

Doctoral Programs


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 two doctoral degrees, the Doctor of Arts and the Doctor of Education.

Upon completion of the doctoral program, students will have achieved mastery of self-directed research across the liberal arts and sciences disciplines, critical thinking, writing, discussing, presenting, and performing skills. All assignments are designed to enable the student to achieve the stated program objectives. This is achieved through the following tasks:

  • Researching a Great Idea(s) syntopically (reading several books on the same subject).
  • Establishing a set of questions about a topic for a Great Idea(s) to which all the relevant authors can be interpreted as giving answers.
  • Summarizing the authors' answers to the various questions about a topic for the chosen Great Idea(s).
  • Defining major and minor issues, themes, and problems concerned with a topic for the chosen Great Idea(s).
  • Analyzing the conversation of the authors through discussions (oral examinations) and written analysis and synthesis (written examinations).

Doctor of Arts Program

The Doctor of Arts program gives students the opportunity to pursue advanced scholarly study of interdisciplinary content areas that can be utilized in a variety of situations. The degree 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. This program of study requires students to complete sixty (60) credit hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree level.

Students design their program of study as the culminating assignment in their first course, The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course, with the guidance of their Mentor. Students at Harrison Middleton University are enrolled in and complete one course at a time. Each course needs to be completed within sixteen weeks. Student courses will consist of a series of telephone or Skype discussions and an end-of-course essay.

Students are encouraged to be creative in the design of the program of study for the Doctor of Arts program. When students design their program of study, they are asked to carefully review the 102 Great Ideas and authors listed in the Syntopicon of the Great Books of the Western World. By perusing the Great Ideas and skimming the Great Idea(s) introductory essay(s), students can begin to explore those topics that interest them. Students may decide to complete an in-depth study of specific authors within the concentration(s) or may choose to study a combination of the two. In the two volumes of the Syntopicon, there are nearly 3,000 topics parceled out among 102 Great Ideas. In addition, the Inventory of Terms contains approximately 2,000 topic suggestions and concepts.

This interdisciplinary program, which encourages analytical and synthetic thought, hones research methods and improves written and oral communication skills, will also prepare students for a variety of fields which are enhanced by advanced training, including law, medicine, art, architecture, education, religion, science, business, engineering, civil service, publishing, and lifelong learning.

The Doctor of Arts at Harrison Middleton University is unique in the way the program is delivered - entirely via distance education - and provides a flexible, individualized, student-designed program of study. In this way, the manner in which the student fulfills the degree requirements can be tailored to each student's individual educational and career goals.

The Doctor of Arts Program (60 Credit Hours) Consists Of:

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

Doctor of Arts Program Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the Doctor of Arts program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of Western cultural history in their fields of choice and evaluate and synthesize the major literature, theories, practices, problems, and ethical issues related to their fields of choice.
  • Demonstrate a coherent and comprehensive knowledge in their fields of choice by building upon knowledge and skills brought from previous academic, professional, and experiential activity.
  • 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 interdisciplinary fields of choice.
  • Present evidence of significant intellectual inquiry in the form of a scholarly paper, applied project, or pedagogical training in their fields of choice.
  • Demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge and skills which prepare the individual to become a scholar. Create, plan, develop, execute, and present or defend in convincing fashion a scholarly paper, applied project, or pedagogical training that develops students' capabilities.

The quality of student work is evaluated through: 1) in-depth discussions with faculty members, 2) a scholarly paper, applied project, or pedagogical training, 3) and the presentation of the results of the applied project or pedagogical training or the oral examination in defense of a written scholarly paper. Achieving excellence in scholarship requires full participation.

Doctoral level students should be able to understand and explain a particular argument or position. Furthermore, they should establish a critical orientation to the material, drawing inferences, evaluating evidence, and making judgments about the coherence and validity of the author's conclusions in relation the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied. In this way, they are engaging in the highest level of discussion and conversation, drawing and articulating new insights. Students should have mastered the ability to summarize and to perform complex textual and author-to-author comparison and contrasts as well as incorporating their own thoughts and analyses of both the ideas and the arguments. Doctoral level students should be able to produce novel syntheses and to develop new insights; that is, they should not only be able to understand and explain a particular argument or position, but move beyond the arguments to draw inferences; evaluate evidence, coherence, and the validity of the author's conclusions in relation to the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied. Additionally, they should be able to draw comparisons between the various authors being studied. They should be able to articulate various authors' points of view in relation to the topics and subtopics they chose in their program of study. They should be able to assert and support theoretical commitments and think analytically and critically. Students should produce coursework that persuades the reader in their original argument, opinions, or interpretations by citing textual evidence. Doctoral level students are required to make author-to-author connections. It is at this level (author-to-author study) that the conversation between the authors and the students begin to illuminate new insights based on the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied.

Additionally, doctoral students complete two oral comprehensive examinations. Doctor of Arts students, upon completion of the first concentration of twenty-four credit hours, schedule their first oral comprehensive examination. Upon completion of the second concentration of twenty-four credit hours, students schedule their second oral comprehensive examination. Requiring students to complete two separate sets of oral comprehensive examinations spaced throughout their degree program ensures a higher success and completion rate. This allows students to set short term benchmark goals which are attainable within a rigorous doctoral program.


Doctor of Education Program

The Doctor of Education program explores the great idea of education and offers students a foundation in historical, social, and philosophical literature. The program draws on intellectual sources and scholarly disciplines, including curriculum theory, history, law and philosophy. This program of study requires students to complete sixty (60) credit hours of graduate credit hours beyond the master's degree level.

Students design their program of study as the culminating assignment in their first course, The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course, with the guidance of their Mentor. Students at Harrison Middleton University are enrolled in and complete one course at a time. Each course needs to be completed within sixteen weeks. Courses will consist of a series of telephone or Skype discussions and an end-of-course essay.

The Doctor of Education program explores the history and development of the field of education and its foundational theoretical principles. Students are expected to acquire a thorough and comprehensive broad knowledge in the major field of education and related topics; complete extensive legal research of both federal and state laws, regulations, and rules relating to education; write a scholarly legal opinion reporting the findings of the research; and finally, plan, develop, conduct, interpret, and apply the research to a unique applied project which will propose a solution to a current, significant educational issue or problem.

As part of the program of study for the Doctor of Education, students will study the means and ends of education; the kinds of education; the improvement of the mind by teaching and learning; the means and methods of teaching; education and the state; and historical and biographical observations concerning the institutions and practices of education.

The Doctor of Education degree at Harrison Middleton University is unique in the way our program is delivered – entirely at a distance – and because of the flexible and individualized opportunities, students are able to create their program of study. In this way, the manner in which the student fulfills the degree requirements can be tailored to each student’s educational and career goals.

The Doctor of Education Program (60 Credit Hours) Consists Of:

  • EDU 720: The Great Conversation: The Cornerstone Course ~ 4 credit hours
  • EDU 720-1: The Means and Ends of Education ~ 5 credit hours
  • EDU 720-2: The Kinds of Education: Physical, Moral, Liberal, Professional, Religious  ~ 1 credit hour
  • EDU 720-3: The Training of the Body and the Cultivation of Bodily Skills: Gymnastics, Manual Work ~ 1 credit hour
  • EDU 720-4: The Formation of a Good Character: Virtue, A Right Will: The Cultivation of Aesthetic Taste ~ 5 credit hours
  • EDU 720-5: The Improvement of the Mind by Teaching and Learning ~ 5 credit hours
  • EDU 720-6: The Acquisition of Techniques: Preparation for the Vocations, Arts, and Professions ~ 2 credit hours
  • Oral Comprehensive Examination ~ Part One
  • EDU 720-8: Education and the State ~ 4 credit hours
  • EDU 792: Review of the Federal and State Laws, Rules, and Regulations, Concerning the Political Regulations and Economic Support of Education ~ 1 credit hour
  • Student Designed Courses ~ 16 credit hours
  • EDU 720-9: Historical and Biographical Observations Concerning the Institutions and Practices of Education ~ 4 credit hours
  • Oral Comprehensive Examination ~ Part Two
  • EDU 721: Legal Research and Office Memorandum of Law ~ 4 credit hours
  • EDU 722: Doctor of Education Applied Project Course ~ 8 credit hours

*See university catalog for course descriptions.

Doctor of Education Program Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of the Doctor of Education program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the relevant history of education in Western culture and evaluate and synthesize the major literature, theories, practices, problems, and ethical issues.
  • Demonstrate a coherent and comprehensive knowledge of today's education and the state, the educational responsibility of the family and the state, the economic support of educational institutions, and the political regulation and censorship of education.
  • 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 develop a unique, creative and feasible solution to a specific educational problem.
  • Present evidence of sustained and significant scholarly intellectual inquiry in the form of extensive legal research of the applicable education laws and regulations, both federal and state, and as a result of that research apply solutions to a specified educational problem.

The quality of student work is evaluated through:  1) in-depth discussions with faculty members, 2) written scholarly legal articles that not only identify an issue or problem in the field of education, but also present student findings of research and discuss and propose a solution to the issue or problem, 3) formal oral presentation of the results of the relevant legal research and of the plan for the applied project, 4) the execution of the applied project, and 5) the oral examination in defense of the applied project. Achieving excellence in scholarship requires full participation.

Doctoral level students should be able to understand and explain a particular argument or position. Furthermore, they should establish a critical orientation to the material, drawing inferences, evaluating evidence, and making judgments about the coherence and validity of the author's conclusions in relation the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied. In this way, they are engaging in the highest level of discussion and conversation, drawing and articulating new insights. Students should have mastered the ability to summarize and to perform complex textual and author-to-author comparison and contrasts as well as incorporating their own thoughts and analyses of both the ideas and the arguments. Doctoral level students should be able to understand and explain a particular argument or position, but move beyond the arguments to draw inferences; evaluate evidence, coherence, and the validity of the author's conclusions in relation the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied. Additionally, they should be able to draw comparisons between the various authors being studied. They should be able to articulate various authors' points of view in relation to the topics and subtopics they chose in their program of study. They should be able to assert and support theoretical commitments and think analytically and critically. Students should provide coursework that persuades the reader in their original argument, opinions, or interpretations by citing textual evidence. Doctoral level students are required to make author-to-author connections. It is at this level (author-to-author study) that the conversation between authors and the students begins to illuminate new insights based on the Great Idea(s), topics, and subtopics being studied.

Additionally, doctoral students complete two oral comprehensive examinations. For Doctor of Education students, upon completion of the first twenty-three credit hours of prescribed courses, schedule their first oral comprehensive examination. Upon completion of the remaining twenty-five credit hours, students schedule the second oral comprehensive examination. Requiring students to complete two oral comprehensive examinations spaced throughout their degree program ensures a higher success and completion rate. This allows students to set short term benchmark goals which are attainable within a rigorous doctoral program.


"Studies teach not their own use; that is a wisdom without them and above them, won by observation."
~ Bacon