Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology

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Coordinates: 37°52′51.35″N 122°15′52.47″W / 37.8809306°N 122.2645750°W / 37.8809306; -122.2645750

Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
College of Saint Albert the Great
Seal of the Dominican School
Latin: Collegium Sancti Alberti Magni
Motto Deus providebit (God will provide)
Type graduate school
Established 1851
Affiliation Catholic (Dominican)
Chancellor Rev. Mark Padrez, O.P.
President Rev. Michael Sweeney, O.P.
Dean Rev. Christopher Renz, O.P.
Location Berkeley, California, United States
Affiliations Order of Preachers (Dominicans), Graduate Theological Union, University of California Berkeley

The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (DSPT) is a Roman Catholic graduate school in Berkeley, California. It offers certificate and degree programs to lay men and women, Catholics and non-Catholics, as well as training for the Dominicans of the Western Province. DSPT is the only graduate level theological institution in the United States to offer a concurrent degree, 2 MAs with 1 thesis, in philosophy and theology.

DSPT is a member of the interfaith Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and an affiliate of the University of California Berkeley. It is sponsored by the Dominican Order.


Lay and religious students in a DSPT classroom.

The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, a member of the Graduate Theological Union, is a community of scholars committed to the pursuit of truth as revealed in the Gospel and discovered by human reason. Inspired by the Dominican practice of disciplined inquiry and learned preaching, the School draws its students into the rich tradition of classical philosophy and Catholic theology, especially as exemplified by St. Thomas Aquinas, and from this tradition engages contemporary scholarship and culture in mutual enrichment.

As a Center of Studies of the Order of Preachers and an apostolate of the Western Dominican Province, the School is committed to preparing women and men for academic and apostolic vocations.

Programs and Academic Concentrations

DSPT offers the following degree and certificate programs:

  • Master of Arts (Philosophy)
  • Master of Arts (Theology)
  • Master of Divinity
  • Concurrent Master of Arts (Theology) / Master of Arts (Philosophy)
  • Concurrent Master of Divinity / Master of Arts (Theology)
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Certificate of Theological Studies

The Dominican School also accepts non-degree students in its Special Student program. DSPT offers a variety of academic concentrations, including Thomistic Studies and Religion and the Arts.

College of Fellows

Members of the DSPT College of Fellows are lay Catholics who are distinguished in their careers who serve as a resource to DSPT by gathering every year on campus to consider the questions of our day in light of their expertise in politics, government, law, economics, business, the sciences, bio-medical research, technology, media, and the arts. Members also participate in student events on campus throughout the academic year. The College of Fellows was formed in 2006 under the leadership of the President, Michael Sweeney, OP. The members include: Mary Cunningham Agee, Luis Aguilar-Villanueva, Ron Austin, Gil Bailie, Patrick Brennan, Bill Cox, Andre Delbecq, Edward "Ned" Dolejsi, Barbara Elliott, Robert B. Flint, Raymond Flynn, Rick Gallagher, Dana Gioia, Ron Hansen (novelist), Mary Hirschfeld, Francis Russell Hittinger, Dan Lungren, Michael Oborne, Michael Naughton, John T. Noonan, Jr., Peer Portner, Velma Richmond, Kevin Starr, Anthony R. Tersigni, Gleaves Whitney, Agnieszka Winkler, Gregory Wolfe.


The School is chartered by the State of California as a degree-granting institution of higher education. The School's programs are accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). DSPT is established by the Master of the Order of Preachers (Dominican Order) as a Center of Studies for the Order.


DSPT Campus

As a small collegial institution rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition, DSPT is situated within the larger, theologically-diverse GTU community, and, more broadly, just up the hill from the University of California at Berkeley. The school is just a few blocks from the renowned Gourmet Ghetto and the original store of Peet's Coffee and Tea. DSPT is located at the heart of Bay Area culture, characterized by its full range of traditions and perspectives.


In 1851, Dominican missionary Francis Sadoc Vilarrasa and six Dominican novices arrived in Monterey, California, and established a school to prepare the young men for the priesthood. In 1854, the School moved to Benicia, but the traditional Dominican attraction to universities led the Order to seek a location closer to the University of California, Berkeley. In 1932, the Dominicans incorporated the school as the College of St. Albert the Great in Oakland, just a couple miles from the UC Berkeley campus. In 1964, the College received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and in the fall of 1964 the College joined the nascent GTU, becoming the first Roman Catholic school to participate in that consortium. In 1978, the College began "doing business as" the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.

From the time of its association with the GTU, the School had leased space for classes and faculty offices. In 2004, the School purchased a permanent campus site in Berkeley near other GTU member schools, and began offering classes at the new site in September 2006.


  • Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
  • Western Dominican Province
  • Graduate Theological Union
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