Requirements

What follows is an outline of the main requirements for the PhD in Philosophy. Many fine details have been left out for ease of presentation; these details can be found by consulting the Guide to Graduate Study 2016 (PDF).

Course Requirements

  • Course requirements should be satisfied in the first two years, and must be satisfied in the first three years.
  • A student must take 14 3-hour seminars, including the first-year Proseminar, the Logic course, four distribution seminars (one from Area I, one from Area II, and one more from either area), and three history seminars (one from each of the historical periods Ancient, Medieval, Modern).
  • With the approval of the DGS, up to 2 of these may be satisfied at the advanced undergraduate level, and an additional 2 may be taken outside of the Philosophy department.

Advising

  • Students should aim to associate with an advisor as early as possible, with the understanding that it is not uncommon to change advisors.
  • By the beginning of the 5th semester, the student will submit the name of the advisor who has agreed to supervise the oral exam
  • By the end of the 6th semester, the student will submit the name of the advisor who has agreed to direct the dissertation project.
  • Beginning in Year 4, and until the thesis is completed, the student must provide:
    • A report on dissertation progress at the end of each semester. This report is to be submitted to the thesis advisor and DGS.
    • New work at leat once per semester. This work is to be submitted to the thesis advisor, with a copy to DGS when requested.
  • Beginning in Year 4, and until the thesis is completed, the student must report to his or her committee members each semester.

Qualifying Papers

  • Two qualifying papers are submitted for evaluation by a committee on the Monday after the mid-semester break of a student's 4th semester.
  • Students who fail the qualifying papers may be invited to resubmit before the beginning of their 5th semester.

Oral Exam

  • At the beginning of the 5th semester, submit the name of the advisor and board members of the oral exam.
  • The reading list for the oral exam must be approved by the end of the first week of classes after the mid-semester break of the 5th semester.
  • The oral exam must be taken by the end of the first week of classes after the mid-semester break of the 6th semester.
  • Students who fail the oral exam may be invited to retake the exam, no later than the end of the 6th semester.

Dissertation Proposal

  • Submit the dissertation proposal by the end of the first week of classes after the mid-semester break of the 7th semester.
  • A dissertation proposal must be approved by the student’s Proposal Committee by the end of the 7th semester.

Foreign Language Requirement

  • Demonstrate competence in those languages deemed essential by the dissertation advisor and the DGS, prior to defending the dissertation.

Dissertation

  • The dissertation is approved by the advisor and then submitted to the DGS for distribution to three readers at least 4 weeks prior to desired defense date.
  • After the dissertation is approved by the readers, the student must schedule a public defense of the dissertation.

Philosophy Department Grad Guide (PDF)

Consult the graduate student guide to find complete information on Ph.D. requirements, grades, special programs, financial support, and governance.

Graduate School Bulletin (PDF)