A Summer Seminar for High School Students


July 9-15, 2017 (Women and Men)

Place: The University of Texas at Austin

Application Deadline:

April 17, 2017      DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2017


What does it mean to be human?

In our frenzied age of materialism, unbridled technological advancement, and moral upheaval, this perennial question is more important than ever. High school students who have finished their junior or senior years are invited to participate in a highly-interactive, week-long seminar that plumbs the depths of the human person.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, women and men will attend the same session this year (July 9-15).

Each day, we will address a different aspect of what it means to be human. Daily topics will include:

  • A human person is an embodied soul.
  • A human person changes over time, and not always for the better.
  • A human person has a conscience and a moral sense.
  • A human person strives toward a specific goal, happiness.
  • A human person must discriminate between competing claims.

Questions over what it means to be human will be examined through both classical philosophical texts and literary works selected to put some flesh on the philosophical concepts we discuss. We will end each day with a concrete application of the concepts we have studied to some contemporary moral issue. For example, the day we discuss the human person as an embodied soul, we will wrestle with contemporary competing claims that the human person is nothing but matter and that the human person is primarily a soul whose material body doesn’t really matter that much. Armed with the wisdom of classic texts, students will leave better prepared to face the world – and more immediately, college.

Classroom instruction will be supplemented with outdoor activities, cultural outings, film viewings, and all the best that Austin has to offer, so students can expect a generous dose of fun mixed in with their study.


High school students who complete their junior or senior years in the spring of 2017 may apply.

Dr. Kody Cooper, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Dr. DeAnn Stuart, Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture

Registration Fee, Lodging, and Board
This seminar is hosted on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. Men’s and women’s sessions are held separately. A non-refundable $400 registration fee will be required of all accepted applicants to reserve a place in the seminar. This fee covers tuition, room, board, and books. It does not include travel expenses. Scholarships are available for those with financial need.


Application Requirements and Instructions
CLICK HERE to fill out an application form. Applications will be considered until April 24, 2017.

We also ask that you submit the following materials via email to dbs@austin-institute.org no later than April 24, 2017:

  • One letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or private tutor.
  • A 500-word essay answering the following question posed by Socrates, Plato’s teacher, in the Meno: “Is virtue something that can be taught? Or does it come by practice? Or is it neither teaching nor practice that gives it to a man, but natural aptitude or something else?” (Meno, 70a).

Email Dr. DeAnn Stuart at dbs@austin-institute.org

Click to download the summer seminar flyer here.