Philosophy - PhD
Degree Type: PhD
The place which the study of philosophy presently enjoys in the overall life of the academic community at the University of Chicago is strikingly different from that which it occupies on the campus of any other major American university. There are a variety of reasons why this is so, beginning with the sorts of student and faculty which the university tends to attract, further compounded by the strengths in the study of various forms of intellectual history throughout the university, and yet further reinforced by the emphasis throughout the campus on forms of inquiry which promote interdisciplinary dialogue and innovation. This special role of philosophy within the overall life of the University has numerous palpable secondary effects on the intellectual environment, ranging from the remarkable number of philosophers on the faculty of the University, many of whom have their primary appointments in other departments, to the enormous scope and quality of the book offerings available in the philosophy-related sections of the amazing Seminary Coop Bookstore. The interest in fundamental philosophical issues on the part of faculty throughout the university, in turn, also leads to there being a large number of graduate philosophy seminars and workshops which are team-taught by a pair of faculty members at least one of whom has a primary appointment in the Philosophy Department and the other of whom has a primary appointment in another department.
Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.
Deadline for admissions and financial aid: December 15, 2012
The Department of Philosophy admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered for financial aid.
We prefer that you visit campus after you have been accepted. Our approach to campus visits is explained in detail on our website.
The Department of Philosophy admits applicants only for the PhD degree, and does not offer a stand-alone MA program. If you are interested in pursuing an MA focusing in Philosophy, we encourage you to explore the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH).
- A one-page, single-spaced personal statement outlining your philosophical interests and goals, and your reasons for wanting to pursue them at the University of Chicago
- Up-to-date transcripts of all your post-secondary school education
- Official Graduate Record Examination scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytic writing sent by ETS)
- Recent TOEFL scores for students whose native language is not English
- Three or four confidential letters of recommendation from people who are in a position to comment on your philosophical background and ability
- A recent sample of your philosophical written work
Please visit our website for more information about the elements of the application.
Admissions decisions typically are released in early March. No decisions will ever be given by phone, and no decisions will be given to those who inquire by email before early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.
The Program consists of four components. (1) During the first two years, students take 12 courses, six of which satisfy distribution requirements in the three main areas of contemporary philosophy and in the history of philosophy. (2) At the end of the second year and the beginning of the third year, the student writes the Preliminary Essay (an independent piece of work that goes through a process of drafts, criticism by faculty advisors, and revision). (3) During the last two and a half years of the Program, the student writes the PhD dissertation under the direction of a faculty committee. (4) Over the last three years of the Program, student also gains teaching experience, first as an assistant in faculty-taught lecture courses and then as a teacher in stand-alone tutorials and small courses. In addition to lecture courses and seminars, students and faculty participate in a variety of workshops and reading groups in all of which, though to different degrees, students present their own work for criticism by their peers.