DUC is heir to one of the oldest models of the university in Western culture. Born in the first part of the thirteenth century, at the same time as the university itself, the studium generale was a centre of intellectual life, specializing most often in philosophy and theology.
This model of the studium generale was adopted from the very beginning by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), which was founded at the same period (1215) by Domingo de Guzmán. Established in Paris in 1229, the first studium generale of the Order, where Thomas Aquinas himself received his basic formation in philosophy and theology, was followed by four others in 1245, in Cologne (Germany), Bologna (Italy), Oxford (England) and Montpellier (France). Inheriting this long and rich intellectual tradition, the model has always been maintained by the Order throughout the centuries.
In Canada, the institutional centre of studies of the Order was established in Ottawa in 1900 and was recognized officially as studium generale ten years later. In 1967, after having been granted a civil university charter by the Ontario Government, it became the Collège dominicain de philosophie et de théologie. Thereafter, it welcomed students other than Dominicans and granted them civil university degrees in philosophy and theology.
As a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (A.U.C.C.) since 1974, DUC has grown steadily, especially with the opening of English undergraduate programs in philosophy in 1992 and in theology in 2003. DUC has offered a bilingual program of graduate studies in philosophy since 1997 and a bilingual program of graduate studies in theology since 2007.
In May, 2012, DUC formally affiliated with Carleton University. Shortly thereafter the institution officially adopted the name Dominican University College - Collège universitaire dominicain. In cooperation with Carleton University, DUC successfully completed its Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) in March, 2013. All graduate and undergraduate programs in philosophy and theology are fully accredited and funded by the Ministry of Training of Colleges and Universities. All degrees granted by DUC are now conjoint with Carleton University.