Skip to main content


Philosophy at Chapel Hill

UNC has been ranked overall as among the top philosophy departments in the U.S. and is also ranked among the top departments in the English-speaking world for many areas of specialization. The Philosophy Department maintains a congenial, cooperative, and vital atmosphere. All faculty and graduate students have offices in Caldwell Hall and the vast majority spend a great deal of time working together in the Department. With a graduate enrollment of about forty students and twenty-five regular faculty (plus visitors), the philosophical community is substantial, yet seminars are small and close faculty-student interaction is common. To complement the course offerings, faculty and graduate students regularly organize informal discussion groups on various topics. The Department arranges an extensive program of speakers, as well as workshops and conferences throughout the year, with an average of one talk every two weeks. Every fall, the Chapel Hill Colloquium brings together a large number of philosophers for three days of papers and discussion. In addition to the regular Speaker Series and Colloquium, there are annually many additional talks given in the Department by philosophers passing through Chapel Hill. Information about all these events and more may be found here. Finally, the National Humanities Center brings several distinguished philosophers to the area for the year, and Duke, North Carolina State, and UNC/Greensboro each sponsor active speakers’ programs and specialized conferences.

The Graduate Program

The Department offers a large number of seminars each year along with extensive opportunities for intensive work on individual research projects. The graduate program is designed to take five years to complete. In the first year, every student takes an advanced logic course and then an intensive proto-seminar (taught by two faculty members). In the second semester of the second year, students work closely with a small committee on their MA theses. The Department does not set comprehensive exams; instead, third-year students take an exam on their chosen area of specialization. There is no program-wide language requirement; there are, however, various distribution requirements. A synopsis of the graduate program requirements is available here.

The University

Chartered in 1789 and formally opened in 1795, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first state university to admit students. Located in the Research Triangle, the university enjoys not only the resources of a first-rate university, but also the benefits of having both Duke University and North Carolina State University, as well as the National Humanities Center, close by. The result is an unusually rich intellectual and cultural environment, in a part of the country that is stunningly beautiful and exceptionally hospitable.