Graduate Program Overview

The graduate program in the Philosophy Department offers a wide range of courses in various traditions of philosophy, with strengths and a well-established reputation in the history of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of art, as well as other central topics. The Department offers combined programs with the Classics and Psychology Departments.

Overview of Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree


In the first two years all students must complete a total of twelve term courses. Graduate courses are grouped:

  1. metaphysics, theory of knowledge, philosophy of science
  2. ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and theory of value
  3. history of philosophy

No more than six and no fewer than two courses may be taken in each group. A course in logic must also be taken, although on the basis of previous work a student may petition to have this requirement waived.

Qualifying Paper:

Two qualifying papers must be submitted, one in the history of philosophy, the other in another distribution area; normally the first of these papers will be submitted by mid-September, the second by December, of a student’s third year. It is expected that these papers will be more substantial and professional than an ordinary term paper.

Language requirement:

Students must demonstrate skills required for research in their field of expertise in one of the following ways (normally by the end of the second year): (a) competence in at least one of the following languages: French, German, Greek, or Latin; (b) competence in another language whose literature is directly related to their philosophical research; or (c) competence in some set of skills required for independent research in their areas of expertise.


Students in Philosophy will teach in the third and fourth (and possibly sixth) years. They must have teaching experience in at least two distribution areas.

Admission to Candidacy and Dissertation:

Approval of the dissertation prospectus is expected by the end of the sixth term. Upon completion of all predissertation requirements, including the prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. Admission candidacy, which must take place by the end of the third year of study. The norm for completion of the Ph.D. degree is five to six years.

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