Philosophy Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program


  1. Course work: On entering the program, students choose one of two areas of specialization: Knowledge and Representation (focusing on cognitive, linguistic, and cultural systems of representation) and Values and Society (focusing on moral and political values in relation to the social context). They take 60 credits of philosophy (achieving a grade of at least A or B in each), including 16 credits of core courses, 12 credits of history-of-philosophy courses, and 20 credits in the area of specialization. The remaining 12 credits may be chosen from any graduate philosophy courses above 500, as long as all departmental regulations are satisfied. Students may substitute up to 8 credits in another department for 8 of the 20 credits in the area of specialization, provided this is warranted by their program and the Graduate Studies Committee approves.


    1. Core courses: All students in either area of specialization will take three core courses (12 credits), one from each of the following groups:
      1. Phi 522 (Theory of Knowledge) or Phi 520 (Philosophy of Science)
      2. Phi 512 (Metaphysics) or Phi 515 (Philosophy of Language) or Phi 516 (Philosophy of Mind)
      3. Phi 523 (Ancient Ethical Theory) or Phi 524 (17th-19th Century Ethical Theory) or Phi 525 (Contemporary Ethical Theory)
    2. History-of-philosophy courses: All students in either area of specialization take three courses (12 credits) in history of philosophy. Students must choose at least one course from each of groups (a) and (b); the third course may come from either (a) or (b) or from group (c):
      1. Phi 550 (Plato), Phi 552 (Aristotle), Phi 553 (Medieval Philosophy)
      2. Phi 544 (British Empiricism), Phi 546 (The Continental Rationalists), Phi 554 (Kant and Continental Idealism)
      3. Phi 523 (Ancient Ethical Theory), Phi 524 (17th-19th Century Ethical Theory), Phi 542 (Phenomenology), Phi 555 (19th Century Continental Philosophy), Phi 556 (Pragmatism), Phi 572 (History of Political Philosophy), Phi 624 (Topics in the History of Philosophy), Phi 627 (History of Logic)
      Any course from groups (a) to (c) taken as a core course may not also be counted as a history course.
    3. Additional core course: All students take one more course (4 credits) to be selected from core-course areas (a), (b), or (c), or from history-of- philosophy areas (a) or (b).
    4. Courses in the area of specialization: All students must take at least 5 courses (20 credits) in their area of specialization.

      Knowledge and Representation courses:

      Phi 512 Metaphysics
      Phi 515 Philosophy of Language
      Phi 516 Philosophy of Mind
      Phi 518 Analytic Philosophy
      Phi 520 Philosophy of Science
      Phi 522 Theory of Knowledge
      Phi 531 Logic and Philosophy
      Phi 532 Completeness and Decidability
      Phi 538 Philosophy of the Social Sciences
      Phi 558 Theory of Art
      Phi 610 Topics in Philosophy of Science
      Phi 612 Topics in Metaphysics
      Phi 614 Topics in Epistemology
      Phi 618 Topics in Logic
      Phi 623 Topics in Aesthetics
      Phi 638 Topics in Theories of Criticism
      Phi 652 Topics in Philosophical Psychology
      Phi 662 Topics in Cognitive Science

      Values and Society courses:

      Phi 505 Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Public Policy
      Phi 506 Philosophical and Ethical Issues in Public Health
      Phi 525 Contemporary Ethical Theory
      Phi 528 Theory and Function of Religion
      Phi 530 Philosophy and Public Affairs
      Phi 535 Philosophy of Race
      Phi 560 Philosophy and the Humanities
      Phi 568 Philosophy and Literature
      Phi 574 Contemporary Political Philosophy
      Phi 616 Topics in the Philosophy of Religion
      Phi 621 Topics in Ethics
      Phi 632 Topics in Applied Ethics
      Phi 634 Topics in Philosophy of Law
      Phi 674 Topics in Political Philosophy

      With the permission of the instructor and Graduate Studies Committee, Topics courses used to satisfy the area-of-specialization requirement may be repeated for credit. With permission of the Graduate Studies Committee, Phi 697 (Independent Study) and Phi 750 and 751 (Advanced Seminars in Philosophy) may be counted as satisfying the area-of- specialization requirement, and up to 8 credits in a cognate field may be substituted for 8 credits in the area of specialization when the student's program warrants.  No course may be counted as fulfilling both the area-of- specialization and the core-course requirement or both the area-of- specialization and the history-of-philosophy requirement.

  2. Demonstration of competence in logic through successful course work or examination.
  3. Research-tool/language requirement: All students must either (a) demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language, the language to be approved as appropriate to their work by the Graduate Studies Committee, or (b) demonstrate competence in some other nonphilosophy area of expertise judged appropriate to their work by the Graduate Studies Committee (normally this will involve four credits of graduate course work in a cognate field).
  4. Examinations: (a) By the end of the fifth semester in the program, satisfactory completion of a general examination in the history of philosophy. (b) By the completion of their course work (60 credits), students must take the Topical Examination on the Dissertation Prospectus and the relevant literature and issues.
  5. Full Time Study in Residence:  Students are not required to meet this requirement.
  6. Dissertation: The student must submit an acceptable dissertation, representing a significant, original contribution to his or her area of specialization. A defense of the dissertation is required, and the final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the student's Dissertation Committee.