Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

Student Voices

What makes a DSPT education truly unique? We asked those who know best.

Br. Joseph Marie

As I work towards my Masters in Divinity as part of my intellectual formation necessary for ordination as a Dominican priest, I find that what I most enjoy about studying at DSPT is the ability of the school to incorporate contemporary issues into a Thomistic framework. My thanks to all of you who make this excellent education possible.

– Br. Joseph Marie Dinh, OP

Seth Kreeger

I came to DSPT not simply to study the thought of Thomas Aquinas, but to learn the perennial principles of the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition and to bring these principles into dialogue with current metaphysical and ethical issues. DSPT is not merely a school at which one develops one’s speculative intellect, but is a community of scholars committed to the discovery and the contemplation of truth as well as the cultivation and exercise of the moral virtues. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the donors without whom DSPT would not be a reality.

– Seth Kreeger, MA Philosophy

Fr. Anselm with student Brothers

The faculty that I am blessed to come into contact with have been truly enlightening. Each of my professors have witnessed to the same search for truth that characterizes DSPT. Although I am just a beginner in this line of study, my professors are interested in what I have to say and encourage me not only as a student, but as a person. I feel as though I have been given privileged access to a kind of “secret garden” that not many people know about. I have never felt as valued as I do at DSPT.

Judith Cole, MATh, Concentration in History

Before joining the Dominicans, I earned a doctorate in mathematics at Cambridge. As a Dominican I've become interested in what scholastic philosophy can teach us about the relationship between science and theology, and whilst there are many institutions that offer programs in either philosophy or science or in science and theology, what marks the DSPT program is the strong emphasis on scholastic philosophy. The lectures have been very good not only in presenting how philosophy has developed over the centuries, but also in explaining how these philosophical developments are related to the Catholic faith. I have particularly enjoyed thinking about the possible ways of reconciling Aquinas' understanding of nature with that of modern physics.

Fr. Robert Verrill, OP, MAPh

Michaela Sobrak-Seaton

Students at DSPT are galvanized towards bringing the significance of these ideas that we examine beyond the bounds of the classroom to bear fruit in the culture around us. At DSPT, we study philosophy on its own terms, in reverent conversation with theology but not subsumed by it.

Michaela Sobrak-Seaton, MAPh, Focused in Personalism & Philosophy of Language 


The Religion and the Arts concentration is a key strength of the MA Theology program at DSPT. It offers students the opportunity to explore their faith in a tangible way, and gives them a diverse set of tools for using the arts to pass on the faith. In Fr. Michael Morris' Christian Iconography class, I was elated to find that I could see the stories of the apostles and martyrs unfold before me through the artwork we studied. Analyzing these visual images helps the history of the Church to come alive. I really feel that the professors here want me to flourish. I, in turn, want to share the wealth of what I have learned so that I can be an instrument in helping others to flourish.

Claire Herrick, MATh, Concentration in Religion and the Arts


James McDonnell and Br. Chrysystom

Before coming to DSPT, I worked in foreign affairs for the Federal Government. Though it was fascinating, I always felt my true calling was in the classroom. I chose DSPT primarily because of the intellectual strength and integrity of the Dominican Order. The professors here hold their students to rigorous academic standards, and maintain fidelity to Catholic teaching without being rigidly closed minded. My ultimate goal is to pursue a doctorate in the field of Medieval Christianity. The Dominican tradition of interdisciplinary study manifests itself in the keen attention given to historical inquiry here. Professors like Fr. Augustine Thompson and Fr. Eugene Ludwig do a wonderful job of bringing ancient and medieval philosophers to a modern audience.

James McDonnell, MATh, Concentration in History


I chose to concentrate my studies in moral theology because I want to develop a comprehensive understanding of how to become a more complete human person. The moral life IS the human life; morality begins in love, works through desire, and is completed in joy. My studies at DSPT will give me a far-reaching understanding of the human life and how it is related to God; it will assist me in my endeavors as a husband, father, Army Officer, student, and Catholic.

– Jonathan Crane, CCMA, Concentration in Moral Theology and Christian Ethics


Dean Covalt and fellow students

While studying for a PhD in biochemistry at UCSD, I found that I was less interested in scientific inquiry than I was in larger, philosophical questions. Faith seeking understanding turns to philosophy, realizing that philosophical truths can help us to better understand theological principles. At DSPT, I am not only able to study Aristotle and St. Thomas, but to study them with an eye toward how their thought can be utilized and made pertinent to contemporary conversations.”

– Dean Covalt, CCMA, Concentration in Systematic and Philosophical Theology


Br. Christopher Wetzel

To study faith and philosophy is perhaps the boldest possible endeavor. What higher object of study could there be than God? What greater expectation could there be than that human wisdom should be able to catch a glimpse of the Divine, when it has barely scratched the surface of the mystery of the human person? Thomistic studies offers a perennial philosophy that rests at the heart of the thought of the Church, one that draws the student into contemplation and prayer. This, I believe, is the reason Dominicans study Aquinas: not because he is a fellow son of St. Dominic, but because he is a time tested aid to contemplatively preaching the Gospel.

Br. Christopher Wetzel, OP, CCMA, Concentration in Thomistic Studies


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