The Washington University Philosophy Department houses two PhD programs: a regular program that covers a broad array of philosophy — with special strengths in ethics, moral psychology, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and the history of philosophy — and a special interdisciplinary program called Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) that maintains a core faculty in philosophy and draws on Washington University's exceptional psychological and neuroscience programs.
The department accepts about 10% of the applicants to these PhD programs and maintains about 25 students in both programs. We are especially open to interdisciplinary work, and we are committed to providing methodologically and substantively broad training. We welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, but the most successful applicants have evidence of philosophical talent and promise.
PhD in Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology
Completion of the Philosophy and PNP PhD programs requires the following:
- Regular attendance at departmental colloquium talks
- Completion of course work, which is expected before the end of the third year
- Completion of four semesters of Mentored Teaching Experience, normally during the second and third years
- Completion of six qualifying examinations, normally before the end of the third year
- Satisfactory participation in the dissertation seminar, starting during the fourth year
- Preparation and defense of a dissertation prospectus, normally before the end of the fourth year
- Satisfactory presentation of a departmental colloquium talk
- Preparation and defense of a dissertation
- Fulfillment of Graduate School requirements
Students on special fellowship (e.g., Olin, Chancellor’s) are subject to the same requirements as other PhD students.
The Graduate School’s Policies & Procedures site includes information about taking leaves of absence as well as study or research in absentia.
We use the Philosophy and PNP Graduate Programs Requirements Checklist to keep track of student progress.
Students who entered the program prior to 2020 are not subject to all of these requirements; contact the director of graduate studies for details.