Students must take at least one course in the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University, at the 300- or 400-level, in each of the following areas:
- Ancient Philosophy
- Modern Philosophy
- Contemporary Philosophy Category A: moral or political philosophy
- Contemporary Philosophy Category B: metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, or philosophy of science.
The Graduate Advisory Committee will consider granting exceptions, and will determine, in borderline cases, whether a course falls into one of the above categories. A course that covers topics from two categories can only be counted as satisfying one of the requirements. Elective courses taken at the 400-level to satisfy the distribution requirements count towards the 12 required graduate seminars in the Department of Philosophy. In normal cases, these requirements are to be completed before a student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D.