The Department of Philosophy offers work leading to the doctor of philosophy with a major in philosophy.
The M.A. is granted to Ph.D. program students when they pass their preliminary examinations and become a dissertator. When a student must leave the program early and is unable to complete a Ph.D., a terminal M.A. is granted upon satisfying the department's criteria for a master's degree.
The Ph.D. degree is awarded in recognition of a successfully completed program of advanced studies in philosophy, culminating in a dissertation which represents a contribution to philosophy or to philosophical scholarship.
The Ph.D. program falls into two major stages. The first consists of work that prepares the student for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Studies during the first stage of the program are devoted to acquiring the philosophical skills and learning needed to do philosophy in the second stage when writing a successful dissertation.
The department offers five years of support to all incoming graduate students. Support begins with the first fall semester and continues for at least nine additional semesters, provided the student makes satisfactory academic progress and carries out duties acceptably as a graduate assistant.
The department assigns a faculty member as placement officer and devotes a significant portion of staff resources to help graduates find employment.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
|Fall Deadline||January 5|
|Spring Deadline||The program does not admit in the spring.|
|Summer Deadline||The program does not admit in the summer.|
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)||Not required.|
|English Proficiency Test||Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).|
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT)||n/a|
|Letters of Recommendation Required||3|
For admission to the Ph.D. program with full graduate standing, a student must have completed the equivalent of a B.A. with a major in philosophy. Promising students who do not meet this requirement may be admitted with deficiencies provided that they have completed at least 12 credits in philosophy.
The deadline for applications is January 5. You must apply online by that date to be considered for admission.
The process begins with the application to the UW–Madison Graduate School.
Answer all required questions and be sure to submit the following:
- Reasons for Study (also called Statement of Purpose)
- Names of at least three professors and their email addresses for letters of recommendation
- TOEFL or Melab scores if your native language is not English
- Supplemental application (questionnaire about what philosophy courses you've already studied)
- Writing sample (4,500–6,000 words recommended, which is 15–20 pages double-spaced, devoted to a philosophical subject)
GRE scores are not required and will not be looked at.
Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Please see the specific English proficiency requirements here.
If you have questions about the process of applying, contact Miriam Fagan, graduate coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-263-5278.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.
We offer five years of support to all incoming graduate students, beginning their first fall semester, and continuing for at least 9 additional semesters, provided the student makes satisfactory academic progress and carries out duties acceptably as graduate assistants.The support you receive may vary from year to year between assistantships and lectureships.
Note to International Students
Please be advised that all students who are not U.S. citizens must prove that they have the financial means to live and study in the United States, before they are granted a visa. For an explanation of this policy, see International Applicant Financial Information.
Additional Financial Aid
Citizens of the United States and permanent residents should contact Student Financial Services (phone: 608-262-3060) for more information on eligibility, how and when to apply, and types of aid.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.
Evening/Weekend: Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules. Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.
Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.
Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats. Contact the program for more specific information.
Online: These programs are offered 100% online. Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||51 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||32 credits; 27 credits must be taken in PHILOS coursework|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||All 51 credits except for 3 credits must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (http://my.wisc.edu/CourseGuideRedirect/BrowseByTitle). |
*For students seeking a dual Ph.D./J.D., 42 of 51 credits must be in graduate-level coursework.
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required.|
|Other Grade Requirements||The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester. |
Courses must be passed with a grade of B or better, except for PHILOS 701, which requires a grade of S.
|Assessments and Examinations||Doctoral students must pass a preliminary examination, which includes a written exam, oral defense, and a dissertation proposal defense. Doctoral students are required to take a comprehensive preliminary/oral examination after they have cleared their record of all Incomplete and Progress grades (other than research and thesis). Deposit of the doctoral dissertation in the Graduate School is required. writing the dissertation, candidates must pass an oral defense of the completed dissertation.|
|Language Requirements||No language requirements. Students in the History of Philosophy area may find it important to take additional language courses in consultation with their advisor.|
|Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements||All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.|
Students must complete the requirements for the Philosophy M.A. In addition to those requirements, students must adhere to the following:
|Beyond the restriction at the MA level, only one more course may be at the 700 level. 1|
|Earn the remainder of the credits by taking directed research or thesis-prep courses (e.g., PHILOS 990 Research and Thesis).|
Reading seminars: Each seminar meets with a concurrently offered reading seminar PHILOS 701 Reading Seminar. Students attend all the seminar meetings and do the readings, but have a substantially lighter workload, determined by the professor before the beginning of the semester. Students may take as many PHILOS 701 Reading Seminars as they like; however, only two PHILOS 701 Reading Seminars can count toward the seminar requirement for the Ph.D. No more than two PHILOS 701 Reading Seminars can be applied to the 51-credit-hour requirement for the Ph.D.
Some students may take any other PHILOS seminar between 800 and 984 (excluding 990) instead of this requirement.
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.
UW–Madison University Special
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 500 or above taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor.
To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects students to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.
The Assistant to the Chair serves as the advisor for the first year or so. Students then select an advisor and, as coursework and other requirements are completed, a committee of faculty is selected by the student to serve as advisors. The primary advisor serves as the dissertation chair. The dissertation committee members (typically 3 faculty from the Department of Philosophy) serve as readers.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.
A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.
grievances and appeals
These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:
- Bias or Hate Reporting
- Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures
- Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Policies and Procedures
- Dean of Students Office (for all students to seek grievance assistance and support)
- Employee Assistance (for personal counseling and workplace consultation around communication and conflict involving graduate assistants and other employees, post-doctoral students, faculty and staff)
- Employee Disability Resource Office (for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities)
- Graduate School (for informal advice at any level of review and for official appeals of program/departmental or school/college grievance decisions)
- Office of Compliance (for class harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence)
- Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (for conflicts involving students)
- Ombuds Office for Faculty and Staff (for employed graduate students and post-docs, as well as faculty and staff)
- Title IX (for concerns about discrimination)
Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
- Expert ability to think critically about arguments.
- Expert ability to interpret complex texts accurately and analyze them logically.
- Ability to design curriculum for undergraduate courses in their areas of expertise and competence.
- Ability to communicate very precisely and concisely in both writing and in speech.
- In-depth familiarity with the history of Western philosophy and the major debates within that tradition.
- Ability to write a book length manuscript which constitutes an original and valuable contribution to the field.
- Interpretative charity, and intellectual honesty, which includes appropriate attribution to others of their ideas, and recognition and frankness about the limitations of one's own ideas.
- Fosters ethical and professional conduct.
- Ability to engage in high quality undergraduate instruction in their areas of expertise and competence.
- Well-equipped to pursue continuous professional development with respect to goals.