The PhD Program
The Northwestern Philosophy Department offers courses in a number of fields. At the higher levels, graduate course offerings reflect the department's research strengths: Ancient Philosophy, Epistemology and Metaphysics, European Philosophy, Mind and Language and Moral and Political Philosophy.
The Philosophy Department does not have a terminal master's program but a student may receive the MA degree after two years of satisfactory work in the PhD program.
The doctoral program, designed to be completed in five years, includes three components: core courses, a background competence requirement, and dissertation. The core course requirements include two proseminars that emphasize supervised writing and research, courses in the history of philosophy, two courses in contemporary philosophy (one in moral or political philosophy, the other in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, or philosophy of science), and minimal literacy in logic. The background competence requirement (which replaces our previous language requirement) requires one of the following (to be decided in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies): (i) Competence in a second language other than English; (ii) Completion of a course in advanced logic (200 level or above); or (iii) Work in a related discipline (Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Mathematics, etc) or a complimentary philosophical area. To receive the PhD, students must pass an oral examination qualifying them for the dissertation, and then write a dissertation and orally defend it at the doctoral examination (final defense). Details of these requirements are available on request from the department.