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Doctoral Degree Program

The Philosophy Department seeks to enroll about 10 students each year in the doctoral program leading to the PhD degree. The Department has recently streamlined requirements for the degree to increase students' ability to gain depth in their areas of specialization and reduce the length of time students must spend in the program.

Students must be continuously registered, excluding summer sessions, unless granted a leave of absence by petition to the Graduate Studies Committee. Students must register for at least nine hours unless granted an exception by the Graduate Adviser for health or financial reasons.

Doctor of Philosophy

The requirements for the Ph.D. are:

In the first year, complete:

  • PHL 384F (First-year Seminar), an intensive introduction to a central area of philosophy
  • PHL 389, Logic
Within the first two years, a graduate course in each of these areas:
  • metaphysics and epistemology
  • ethics
  • history of philosophy
  • Five additional graduate courses in philosophy
Within the first three years:
  • Completion and defense of a dissertation prospectus
  • Completion of PHL 398T, a one-semester teaching course
Foreign Language Proficiency -- four semesters study or equivalent -- in a language other than English (can be satisfied with coursework completed before enrolling in the program) or two additional graduate philosophy seminars or upper-division or graduate courses in a related area (approved by the GSEC)
Completion and defense of a dissertation

An M.A. is not required for the doctoral degree.

Exceptions to the timetable above are students in special programs, such as the Ancient Philosophy Program, who may need to do supporting coursework and language study at an early stage.

When the student's dissertation prospectus has been defended and approved, the Graduate Adviser requests that the Dean of Graduate Studies appoint a dissertation committee and admit the student to doctoral candidacy. The Committee assists the student with the writing of the dissertation and conducts the final examination, a public defense of the dissertation. Students who fail to complete the dissertation within three years of admission to candidacy are reviewed annually, as required by the Graduate School.

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