Graduate Program

PhD Program

The philosophy PhD program is made up of three phases:

Most students complete these phases in just five years. During the final stages of the program, faculty work closely with students and help them prepare to look for teaching positions in philosophy. See our placement record page for information on where our recent graduates are working.

For more information about program requirements see the philosophy graduate handbook

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Foundations Requirement

The following courses must be completed by the end of the third semester in the program:

Transfer courses cannot be used to satisfy the foundations requirement.

Note: Some 400-level courses will not satisfy the foundation requirements. The department will specify each year any courses that do not satisfy this requirement.

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Advanced Coursework

The concentration requirement consists of nine additional graduate level courses, including six seminars, and two comprehensive examinations in the student’s primary and secondary areas.

Students are required to notify the department when they select their concentration areas.

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Concentration Area Requirements 



History of Ancient Philosophy

History of Modern Philosophy


Philosophy of Language

Philosophy of Mind

Philosophy of Science

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Concentration Exams

Students must take an exam in both their primary and secondary concentration areas. For more information about these exams, see numbers four and five under advanced requirements in the philosophy graduate handbook.

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Writing Seminar Requirement

Each student is required to complete PHL 560: Writing Seminar. The Writing Seminar may be counted as one of the six required seminars but not toward concentration area requirements. The Writing Seminar should be completed no later than the seventh semester of graduate study.

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Dissertation Requirement

During their fourth year students will:

Students are expected to finish and defend their dissertation during their fifth year. For more information about dissertation requirements see the graduate handbook.