PhD Program

Requirements for the PhD include a minimum of 45 credits with the following distribution:

  • Completion of the Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics proseminars
  • Three history courses with one being from the period from Plato to Plotinus and another from the period from Cusa to Hegel
  • Two advanced courses in the 500 level or above, one with a focus in a normative area and one in a non-normative area
  • Completion of Symbolic Logic with a grade of B or higher
  • Successful defense of a dissertation
  • Language proficiency may also be required depending upon the area of concentration of the student's dissertation

No more than 1/5 of credits earned towards the degree may be from courses below the 500 level, and courses below the 350 level may not count for graduate credit.

Timeline for the PHD Program

Year One

  • Complete two Proseminars (Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics are taught on rotation), PHIL 378 (unless you are exempt from the logic requirement), and three courses of your choice.
  • Serve as a Grader for an introductory philosophy course of 55 students each semester, spending approximately 15 hours per week on grading and office hours.
  • Participate in the First Year Seminar, an informal seminar where you will learn about the department’s expectations for graduate students and how to navigate life as a grad student.

Year Two

  • Complete the third and final Proseminar and five courses of your choice.
  • Serve as a Teaching Assistant for a large introductory course each semester. You will be responsible for leading two weekly discussion sections of approximately 20 students each, grading your students’ papers, holding office hours, and other duties as assigned.
  • Second-year students have the opportunity to apply to be a Teaching Assistant for the yearlong Political and Social Thought course, a required course for School of Foreign Service undergraduates. This position comes with an additional stipend.

Year Three

  • Complete your final three courses, using your new-found free time to begin developing your dissertation proposal.
  • T.A. responsibilities resemble those of second-year students.
  • Participate in the Third Year Seminar, a year-long seminar where you will begin constructing syllabi for courses you wish to teach the following year, learn about the dissertation process, and begin workshopping your dissertation proposal with fellow third-year students.
  • Begin the CNDLS Apprenticeship in Teaching Program.

Year Four+

  • Assemble your committee, defend your dissertation proposal, and begin dissertation writing in earnest.
  • Serve as a Teaching Associate: you will design and teach one bridge course course of 30 students each semester. You may also have opportunities to request to serve as a Teaching Assistant for a large introductory class, apply for an external dissertation fellowship, or serve the department in other capacities.
  • Complete the CNDLS Apprenticeship in Teaching Program.
  • Write, revise, repeat until you are ready to defend your dissertation. Defend and get your PhD.
  • When your dissertation is realistically within one year of completion, begin working in earnest with the Placement Committee on applying for positions in Philosophy.