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Ph.D. In Philosophy Requirements

Although the student's doctoral committee is in every case the final arbiter, the normal course requirements for the doctoral degree include:

  • with an MA in philosophy, whether from our department or another: normally 24 hours of additional graduate coursework;
  • with an advanced degree in another field: to be determined in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies as approved by the Graduate Committee, but minimally 24 additional hours.
  • without an advanced degree: normally 48 hours of graduate coursework;

To be included within the total graduate coursework (including MA work):

  • A proseminar taken in two consecutive years, either the 1st and 2nd years in the program or the 2nd and 3rd.
  • History of Philosophy (at least two courses)
  • Contemporary ELMS (epistemology, philosophy of language, metaphysics, or philosophy of science) (1 course)
  • Value Theory (e.g., ethical theory, political philosophy) (1 course)
  • Intermediate Logic (PHIL 435)

In addition to the above coursework, students normally must demonstrate reading competence in a language other than English. There are various ways to demonstrate this, such as prior coursework, coursework taken while in the program, and exams periodically offered by the university. Competence in any natural language other than English satisfies this requirement. Any student with native fluency in a language other than English, or who has earned a degree from a program conducted in a language other than English, is exempt. As a substitute for this language competency requirement, students may instead take additional coursework as is described in the Graduate Handbook.

Students must take and pass a comprehensive examination, which has three components. Two component examinations, in ELMS and ethics respectively, are conducted in conjunction with the required proseminars. The third is in history and is offered annually, with the student electing when to take it.

Between coursework and dissertation work, each student completes a bridge paper under the supervision of a faculty member. This paper then becomes available for presentation at conferences and submission to journals for publication. It is typically incorporated into the student’s dissertation.

A minimum of 24 hours of dissertation credit (600) are also required.


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