Ph.D. in Philosophy
Entering Ph.D. students must have a Bachelor of Arts degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution. They should have a solid background in philosophy, ordinarily an undergraduate major, including coursework in the history of ancient and early modern European philosophy as well as in metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and social-political philosophy.
Required Courses for the Ph.D.
All requirements for the M.A. described below must be satisfied as first stage of doctoral work. A total of 48 semester hours beyond a bachelor's degree are required for the Ph.D. Students are also required to complete seven courses in the areas of:
- ethics/social-political philosophy
Foreign Language Requirement
A reading knowledge of one foreign language, e.g., German, French, Greek or Latin, is normally required for the doctorate, normally one that the student will use as a research tool for the dissertation. The requirement must be met at two levels: (1) basic language competence and (2) facility with the language in doing philosophy research. The dissertation topic may also require knowledge of additional foreign languages. In exceptional cases students may petition that the research tool requirement be fulfilled in another way than by knowledge of a foreign language, e.g., by a knowledge of statistics.
The only Ph.D. examination the department requires is a candidacy examination. This examination may be taken after a student has completed all course distribution requirements and the first level of the language or other research tool requirement for the degree. The examination focuses on a dissertation proposal and a draft of the first chapter or an extended review of the literature relevant to the dissertation. It is an oral examination, designed to assess whether the proposal is well formed and a project which the student is prepared to carry out successfully.
Dissertation and Oral Defense
The last stage of the Ph.D. is the writing and defense of a dissertation. The dissertation is written under the direction of a member of the department's graduate faculty, and must be read and approved by at least two other readers who are ordinarily members of the department's graduate faculty. Formally, the dissertation begins with the submission of a "Thesis Outline." Upon approval of this outline the student is formally advanced to candidacy. The dissertation is completed with the passing of the public oral defense of the work and its acceptance by the Graduate School.
The M.A. Degree as Part of the Ph.D.
The M.A. degree is ordinarily earned as the first part of a student's Ph.D. work. A M.A. in Social Philosophy is also available for students not pursuing the doctorate.
Required Courses for the M.A. in Philosophy
Thirty hours of graduate coursework (10 courses) are required for students in the M.A. program. These courses must include five of the seven Ph.D. distribution requirements, namely courses in contemporary Anglo-American Philosophy, Contemporary Continental Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, and Modern Philosophy.
There is no language requirement in the M.A. program.
Doctoral students earning the non-terminal M.A. must pass an oral examination on a research paper they have written. The focus of the examination is on the argument and analysis of the paper, as well as on the background thought that the argument and analysis presuppose. Further details about the M A. examination for doctoral students may be found on the Graduate School's Academic Policies webpage in the department's Graduate Student Handbook.