What You Need to Know

Logistical facts about being a UAlbany Philosophy grad student

Most information regarding graduate programs can be found in the Philosophy Graduate Handbook and/or the University Graduate bulletin, but the information is often scattered in different places. This web page is intended to put useful information for graduate students in one place.

Students are strongly advised to read the Philosophy Graduate Handbook carefully to familiarize themselves with their program's requirements.

Newly admitted students may find it helpful to look at the section of the University Graduate Bulletin on Admitted Student questions.

Advisement

In order to register for classes, you need an Advisement Verification Number (AVN). You get the AVN (which changes every semester) from your adviser. The default adviser -- that is, the person who initially advises you -- is the Director of Graduate Studies. This often changes from year to year, so check the list of department committees on the department's webpage.

Once you get to know the faculty, you may choose your own adviser by asking that person to be your adviser, and, if he or she agrees, informing the Director of Graduate Studies, and letting the department secretary know.

Advisement is an important part of your program. Your adviser will monitor your progress, help you to formulate a game plan, and ensure that you are fulfilling requirements in a timely fashion. Please do not simply e-mail your adviser asking for an AVN. Make an appointment for advisement each semester.

Being full time

Each Ph.D. student must engage in full-time study for one academic year following admission to the Ph.D. program.

Full-time students are enrolled for 12 credits, except for:

  • teaching assistants, who are enrolled for 9 credits, or
  • those admitted to candidacy, who need to register for only one credit of 899.

See also: The Graduate Bulletin on how many units you need in order to be enrolled fulltime

Continuous enrollment

After the first year, PhD students do not need to be full-time. They do need to have continuous enrollment. (This is true only for PhD students; MA students do not need to be continuously enrolled.)

Continuous enrollment requires only 3 credits for students who are not TAs and who have not yet advanced to candidacy. (TAs must register for 9 credits.) However, registering for only 3 credits will not keep loans at bay. To avoid repaying loans, students must be registered for at least 6 credits.

Although continuous registration requires only 3 credits per semester after the first year, completion of the PhD program in a timely fashion requires full-time study until all course work is completed. All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within eight calendar years from the date of initial registration in the program.

Permission numbers

Permission numbers are required for Phi 697, Independent Study and Research; Phi 699, Master's Thesis; Phi 792, Preparation for Examinations; and Phi 899, Doctoral Dissertation. Permission numbers are obtained from the instructor of the course or, in the case of 699 and 899, from the adviser. Permission numbers for Phi 792, Preparation for Exams, are obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies.

792

Phi 792 is an all-purpose rubric, which can be taken for between 1 and 12 credits, depending on student need.

For example: TAs, who need to be registered for 9 credits, can take two graduate courses for 8 credits and register for 1 credit of 792. Students who have completed their coursework and who don't want loans to come due while they are studying for the comprehensive history exam, the logic exam, or the topical exam, may register for 6 credits of 792. Students who do not have loans and have not yet been admitted to candidacy may register for 3 credits of 792 to maintain continuous enrollment.

Advancement to candidacy

Once admitted to candidacy, PhD students need register for only 1 credit of Phi 899. Admission to candidacy requires completion of requirements of the PhD program, except the topical and the dissertation. Requirements include all coursework, the research tool, and the logic requirement. Students are advised to satisfy the requirements in a timely manner to avoid registering (and paying) for more credits than necessary.

The research tool/language requirement

Students may fulfill the research tool requirement with either a language exam or a course outside Philosophy. See the Handbook for details. Note that to fulfill the requirement with a course, the student must petition the Graduate Studies Committee first and receive permission. Students should not just assume that any course they take outside the department will satisfy the requirement.

Transfer credits

The regulations for transferring credit are found in the relevant section of Graduate Bulletin. Students wishing to obtain credit for courses taken at another institution should provide the Director of Graduate Studies with the names and descriptions of the courses, along with syllabuses if possible. If the course is intended to substitute for a required course, the student should specify that, and provide a rationale. Students are reminded that at least 50 percent of the program's requirements must be completed while in resident study at this University.

M.A. thesis

Master's students who wish to write a Master's thesis must fill out and submit an Application for Approval of Subject of Thesis for the Master's Degree to their advisers and upon her/his approval to Office of Graduate Studies for final approval.

Students who already have a Master's degree and wish to take a second Master's degree may petition GSC to count up to 9 credits of coursework from the first MA toward the second MA in Philosophy. For details, see details in the Graduate Bulletin.

Ph.D. thesis

Regulations pertaining to doctoral dissertations are found in the relevant section of the Graduate Bulletin.