Harrison Middleton University
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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, intellectual perspective in the humanities, the university offers a Doctor of Arts program.


This program requires students to complete 60 hours of graduate credit beyond the master’s degree level. The Doctor of Arts program of study is designed by the student in consultation with the student’s Instructional Team. The student submits a proposal for the Doctor of Arts program to the university, and it is approved by the student’s Instructional Team and the Dean.

The Doctor of Arts at Harrison Middleton University is delivered entirely at a distance and uses a flexible and individualized, student-created 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.

*View our admission criteria for Harrison Middleton University programs.


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 major works in the liberal arts.

  • Demonstrate facility with the methods of inquiry-based discussion by formulating interpretive questions and taking part in course discussions.

  • Think critically about essential ideas in the humanities and Western thought and engage in rigorous discussion about fundamental questions of human existence.

  • Demonstrate an 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

The following program outcomes are derived from the overall program objectives and promote the development of critical thinking, ethical reasoning, civic engagement, social responsibility, global citizenship, and lifelong learning.

  • 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 inquiry-based 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 of Study

The Doctor of Arts program embraces the concept that one’s intellectual curiosity should guide learning, the belief that learning is a lifelong pursuit of wisdom, and the idea that such wisdom can be furthered by studying classics and modern classics in imaginative literature, natural science, philosophy and religion, and social science.

With access to primary source readings from the Great Books of the Western World, Oxford University Press, Penguin Modern and Nonfiction Classics, and W.W. Norton & Company, as well as other primary source materials from the Syntopicon’s “Bibliography of Additional Readings,” Doctor of Arts students, in close consultation with their Instructional Team, create a program of study rich in primary sources.

Studying primary sources is not only the best way for students to develop a sophisticated knowledge of their subject matter, but also the best way to become conversant with the systems of analysis common to other bodies of knowledge. This approach, using both subject-area and interdisciplinary content, builds analytical and synthetic thought, hones research methods, and improves written and oral communication skills.

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 ancient and modern classics; and the Doctor of Arts Capstone (8 credit hours). The Capstone proposal requires the creation of a substantial original work. The work must be a significant contribution to a field of 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. The selected Capstone must align with all federal regulations and the student’s home-state rules regarding state authorization.

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.

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