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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

For a copy of the Teaching Handbook, see The Department of Philosophy Teaching Handbook.

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Foundations Requirement

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

  • One 400-level logic course
  • One 400-level history of ancient philosophy course
  • One 400-level history of modern philosophy course
  • At least three other 400-level courses

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 

Epistemology
  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • One 400-level course in epistemology
    • One 500-level seminar in epistemology

Ethics

  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • Either two 500-level ethics seminars, or one 400-level course in ethics and one 500-level seminar

History of Ancient Philosophy

  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • Two 500-level seminars in ancient philosophy

History of Modern Philosophy

  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • Two 500-level seminars in modern philosophy

Metaphysics

  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • One 400-level course in metaphysics
    • One 500-level seminar in metaphysics

Philosophy of Language

  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • One 400-level course in philosophy of language
    • One 500-level seminar in philosophy of language

Philosophy of Mind

  • Primary and secondary area requirements:
    • One 400-level course in philosophy of mind
    • One 500-level seminar in philosophy of mind

Philosophy of Science

  • Primary area requirements:
    • PHL 452 and at least one seminar in philosophy of science (students who choose this area must declare a physics or biology area of specialized expertise; see the philosophy graduate handbook for more information)
  • Secondary area requirements:
    • PHL 452 and at least one seminar in 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:

  • Satisfy the writing seminar requirement by presenting a paper to the department
  • Write a dissertation proposal
  • Begin dissertation research under the supervision of their thesis committee

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