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About Philip Novak

Philip Novak took his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Notre Dame in 1972, and his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in Religion from Syracuse University in 1981. A Sarlo Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Humanities and undergraduate Philosophy, Religion & Spirituality programs for over 30 years, Novak has also served as founding Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences from 2009-11.  Novak has published forty articles and reviews in both scholarly and popular journals and is the author of The World's Wisdom, an anthology of the sacred texts of the world's religions (HarperSanFrancisco 1994, also available as an e-book), The Vision of Nietzsche (Vega, 1996), Buddhism: A Concise Introduction (co-authored with Huston Smith, HarperSanFrancisco 2002, also available as an e-Book), and the editor/author of The Inner Journey: Views from the Buddhist Tradition (Morning Light, 2005). He lives in Tiburon, California with his wife, Bridgett. 


1980 - Present Professor, Dominican University of California Department of Religion and Philosophy
July 2009 - July 2011 Dean (Interim), Dominican University of California School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Sr. Mary Aquinas Award for Outstanding Career Service to the University and Its Students, May 2008
  • Graves Award "for outstanding contribution to the actual teaching of the Humanities," December 1997
  • Sarlo Distinguished Professor at Dominican University of California for "lifetime achievement" and for "outstanding and inspirational teaching, scholarship and mentoring, distinguished leadership, devotion to the community, since 2001
  • Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley, in the Division of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, Spring 1996
  • Presidential Fellow (two-year Fellowship, made possible by the James Irvine Foundation, awarded by the President of Dominican College for excellence in teaching, publishing and leadership, January, 1990.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Seminar for College Teachers, Summer, 1987. (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Winner, Templeton Science and Religion Course Competition, Spring, 1998, $10,000 award for self and institution (co-winner, Prof. Sherry Volk).
  • Awardee, Templeton, Science and Religion Course Development Grant, $2000 for graduate level revision of original course (see no. 2), 2000.
  • Co-Founder and Director of the Honors Program (appointed by Academic Vice-President to create and direct the Dominican College Honors Program, Fall 1989 to 1995).
  • Teacher of the Year Award (Dominican College) ("in recognition of outstanding contributions to undergraduate education and campus life"), May 1991.
  • Syracuse University Fellowships, 1976-77, 1977-78.
  • Syracuse University Summer Fellowship, 1976.
  • Syracuse University Full Scholarship, 1973-74.


  • Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present
  • Science, Religion and the Human Future
  • Buddhism
  • John Hick’s Philosophy of Religious Pluralism
  • Culture and Symbol: Creation of Meaning
  • Myth, Symbol and Ritual
  • Philosophies of Religion
  • Philosophies and Spiritualities of Asia


1981 Ph.D., Syracuse University ‐ Department of Religion
1975 M.A., Syracuse University ‐ Department of Religion
1972 B.A., magna cum laude, The University of Notre Dame ‐ Department of English

Contact Information

Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Ave.
San Rafael, CA 94901



Articles (21)

Book Reviews (17)