Program Summary

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Schedule Outline

 

First Year:
  • Fall semester: 4 courses, one of which is Symbolic Logic (PHIL 455) unless the student has taken and passed the logic placement exam
  • Spring semester: 4 courses, one of which is Protoseminar (PHIL 700)

Second Year:

  • Fall semester: 3 courses, plus teaching assignment (or a fourth course, if there is no teaching assignment)
  • Spring semester: 3 courses, one of which is a master’s Thesis course, plus teaching assignment (or a fourth course, if there is no teaching assignment); submission and oral defense of the master’s thesis; admission to doctoral studies

Third Year: 

  • Fall semester: 3 courses, one of which is a pre-dissertation seminar, plus teaching assignment (or a third course or approved equivalent if there is no teaching assignment); preparation for written examination in the area of specialization
  • Spring semester: 3 courses, one of which is a pre-dissertation seminar, plus teaching assignment (or a third course or approved equivalent if there is no teaching assignment); written examination in the field of specialization in February

Fourth Year: 

  • Fall semester: 1 Ph.D. Dissertation course, plus 1 audit course; dissertation proposal oral examination
  • Spring semester: 1 Ph.D. Dissertation course, plus 1 audit course

Fifth Year: 

  • Completion, submission, and final oral defense of Ph.D. Dissertation (with Ph.D. Dissertation courses each semester as needed for continuing use of University resources)

Degree Requirements*


For the M.A. in Philosophy
:

  • 10 courses (30 hours) of which one shall be the Protoseminar and one course (3 hours) shall consist of registration for M.A. Thesis credit;
  • satisfaction of the M.A. Distribution Requirements (see below); and
  • satisfactory completion and oral defense of a master’s thesis.

For the Ph.D. in Philosophy:

  • an additional 10 courses, of which two courses shall be the pre-dissertation seminar and two shall consist of registration for Ph.D. Dissertation Research (PHIL 994);
  • satisfactory completion of a requirement in formal logic;
  • satisfaction of the Ph.D. Distribution Requirements (see below);
  • satisfactory performance on the Examination in the field of specialization; and
  • satisfactory completion and oral defense of a doctoral dissertation.

Distribution Requirements

 

To ensure the scope and comprehensiveness of a student’s philosophical training, each student is required to include in his or her program of studies courses distributed as follows:

For the M.A. Degree:

  • two courses in the History of Philosophy, including one course addressing a significant figure, school, or movement in philosophy prior to 1600 C.E. and one course addressing a significant figure, school, or movement in philosophy within the period 1600-1900 C.E.;
  • one course within the area of Metaphysics and Epistemology; and
  • one course within the area of Ethics and Value Theory.

For the Ph.D. Degree:

  • one additional course in each of the three areas required for the M.A. Degree; and
  • two courses within the area of Logic and Philosophy of Science.

Symbolic Logic 455 and the Protoseminar are not counted toward the satisfaction of these Distribution Requirements. A student who has substituted a more advanced logic course for Symbolic Logic may, however, count the substituted course toward the satisfaction of these requirements.


Program for the First Year


Courses for the First Term
:

Prior to registration for the first term, each student will meet with his or her Advisor (or the Director of Graduate Studies) in order to work out a program of studies. The program should include four courses (12 hours) during the first semester of the first year of studies. One course in logic is normally required (see below). The department further strongly advises, although it does not require, that an entering student plan from the outset to include courses in the history of philosophy in his or her program. (See the formal Distribution Requirements above.)

Courses for the Second Term:

During the second semester of the first year of studies, a student should take four regular courses (12 hours). One of these will be the Protoseminar, a special intensive seminar for all and only first-year students. This seminar aims to develop the student’s skill in philosophical thinking in both oral presentations and written essays. Critical and constructive commentary and close faculty-student contact are standard features of the course.

Program for the Second Year  

Courses for the Third Term:

During the first semester of the second year of studies, a student should take three regular courses (9 hours) in addition to his or her teaching assignment, or four courses (12 hours) if there is no teaching assignment. Courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s Academic Advisor, with an eye to the Distribution Requirements outlined above.

Courses for the Fourth Term:

During the second semester of the second year, a student should take one Master’s Thesis course (3 hours) plus two regular courses (6 hours) in addition to his or her teaching assignment, or one Master’s Thesis course (3 hours) plus three regular courses (9 hours) if there is no teaching assignment.

The Master’s Thesis: The department regards the writing of a Master’s thesis as a valuable part of a student’s preparation for doing professional, constructive, and creative work in philosophy. The master’s thesis should be a substantive essay of 20 to 30 typewritten pages. Two good models to keep in mind would be a high-quality, revised and polished, well-defined term paper and a sharply-focused, articulate essay in a philosophical journal.

Program for the Third Year

Courses for the Fifth Term:

During the first semester of the third year, the student should take three courses (9 hours) in addition to his or her teaching assignment, or four courses (12 hours) if there is no teaching assignment (or approved equivalent). In either case, one course will be the pre-dissertation seminar. The remaining courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s Academic Advisor and should contribute to completion of the departmental Distribution Requirements.

One of these courses should be, to the extent possible, a course relating in theme and orientation to the student’s field of specialized study and the contents of its working Area Bibliography. The student’s Academic Advisor may wish to suggest a course outside the department that is appropriate for this purpose, should no suitable courses be available among the departmental offerings.

The second course during this semester should be used to further deepen or broaden the student’s command of some aspect of the discipline before embarking on more narrowly-focused work during the seventh and subsequent terms. In exceptional circumstances, the student’s second course during the fifth term may be a PHIL 901 (Directed Readings) course, conducted by a member of the relevant Area Subcommittee or some other suitably qualified person, the course to be devoted to study of the literature included in the student’s Area Bibliography. Students who have had the relevant introductory course(s) in a research area, however, should normally be able to complete reading the remaining parts of the selected Area Bibliography on their own. A Directed Readings course is appropriate only when a student has not completed the relevant introductory course(s), either because they have not been available during the student’s first five terms or because the student is moving into a new area of concentration.

Courses for the Sixth Term:

During the second semester of the third year, the student should take three courses (9 hours) in addition to his or her teaching assignment, or four courses (12 hours) if there is no teaching assignment (or approved equivalent). In either case, one course will be the pre-dissertation seminar.

Examination in the Field of Specialization: In February of the sixth term, the student will take a written examination in the field of specialization (based on the appropriate area bibliography).

Towards the end of the sixth term, but before the end of the semester, a student should jointly meet with the prospective director of his or her PhD dissertation and at least one other prospective member of the committee.

Program for the Fourth Year

A student’s fourth year of study will be devoted largely to the designing and then writing of the dissertation. This should be done with the help and guidance of the dissertation director and in close consultation with the two principal readers. The student should register for one Ph.D. Dissertation Research course (3 hours) during each of the seventh and eight terms. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to audit at least one course each term and to participate actively in the academic life of the department.

Dissertation Proposal Oral Examination: In November, the student will submit to the department a concise dissertation proposal, including a description of the envisioned research project and a brief bibliographic survey of the principal relevant literature. An oral examination will be administered to the student by the departmental faculty as a whole.

Program for the Fifth Year

A student’s fifth year of study will normally be largely devoted to writing, revising, and then polishing the dissertation. It is expected that the student will register for one Ph.D. Dissertation Research course (3 hours) during each of the ninth and tenth terms in order to permit access to University resources. Submission and final oral defense of Ph.D. dissertation should normally be scheduled for the tenth term, although students sometimes defer completion, submission, and oral defense of the dissertation into a sixth year.


* A full and detailed description of the program’s requirements (including a list of courses that meet various requirements) descriptions of the areas specified in the distribution requirements, add/drop policies, etc., can be found in the Department’s Graduate Program in Philosophy document. For Graduate School requirements, see the Graduate Handbook.