The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought

The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought is an interdisciplinary, Ph.D. granting graduate program. Its guiding principle is that the serious study of many academic topics, and of many philosophical, historical, theological and literary works, is best prepared for by a wide and deep acquaintance with the fundamental issues presupposed in all such studies, that students should learn about these issues by acquainting themselves with a select number of major ancient and modern texts in an inter- disciplinary atmosphere, and should only then begin intense work on a specific dissertation topic. In their first few years of study, students select twelve to fifteen foundational or fundamental books that best inform the context and background of the issues they want to write about, and they read and study these books in discussion groups, tutorials, seminars and independently, and then sit a week long qualifying exam on some selection of their books.