Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Philosophy Ph.D.

Philosophy Department
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Philosophy, 271 19th Avenue South, 831 Heller Hall, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0310 (612-624-6563; fax: 612-626-8380)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2020
  • Length of program in credits: 62 to 68
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The Department of Philosophy offers both PhD and MA degrees. Students are primarily admitted to the PhD program, while admission to the MA is intended for those with professional goals in other fields and disciplines. The stand-alone MA program is not considered a laddering program into the PhD program at the University of Minnesota or any other institution. Students admitted to the PhD program usually choose to complete an MA Plan B en route to the PhD unless they already hold a master's degree in philosophy from another institution. Philosophy is noteworthy for its emphasis on the individual student's research interests. With the help of an advisor, students design their own program of study, which consists of the philosophy major and either a supporting program or a minor. The minor or supporting program, drawn at least in part from a department or departments other than philosophy, complements the student's research focus. Students gain a broad base of knowledge through required coursework. PhD students take courses in four main areas: history of philosophy, logic, ELMS (epistemology, philosophy of language, metaphysics or mathematics, philosophy of science), moral and political philosophy, and value theory. These areas provide a firm foundation for research and teaching beyond the PhD program.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Recognizing that evidence of ability to pursue graduate study in philosophy is diverse, the department does not specify prerequisites for admission. Normally, those admitted have a broad undergraduate background that includes some courses in philosophy.
Special Application Requirements:
Students must apply to both the University and the Department of Philosophy. The department application for admissions and aid is available from the Admissions and Aid Committee at the address listed above or may be downloaded from the philosophy website at All application materials may be uploaded electronically to the Graduate School Admissions web site. Department materials required include a completed application form, personal statement, transcripts, three academic letters of recommendation, and a philosophical writing sample that does not exceed 25 pages. Students interested in DOVE or ICGC Fellowship (Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change) should include a statement expressing their interest. Students interested in the ICGC Fellowship should also contact the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change. Applications, together with all supporting materials, must be received by December 31 for full consideration. The philosophy department reviews applications once a year, and only admits students for fall semester.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
26 to 28 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 3 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Use of 4xxx level courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval. For graduate credit, students must enroll in the appropriate 8xxx level (1 credit) accompanying workshop. A maximum of nine (9) 4xxx level courses is allowed according to University policy. Successful second-year department review includes completion of coursework with specified requirements, which constitutes passing the preliminary written examination. Successful third-year department review includes passing a three-paper examination, Stage 1 and Stage 2 review constitutes passing the preliminary oral examination. Students then write and defend a dissertation proposal and later defend a dissertation at the final oral examination. For details, see the Philosophy Department degree program policy, which is available as a PDF on the philosophy website:
Required Philosophy Courses
The courses taken in philosophy should show that consideration has been paid to the diversity and variety of areas of philosophy as well as to the student's specialized interest. The department recommends that students consult with their advisor and the director of graduate studies (DGS) when choosing coursework. Some courses outside the department of philosophy may be used in certain circumstances towards major requirements, with permission from the DGS.
Take 26 - 28 credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 5xxx
· PHIL 8xxx
Outside the Major in a Supporting Field
Take 12 credits outside the major in a supporting field or minor.
Thesis Credits
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
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· College of Liberal Arts

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PHIL 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required