The Ph.D. program in Philosophy at Indiana University Bloomington provides graduate students with a rich variety of contexts in which to explore their philosophical interests and to develop the skills and expertise they need to pursue a career of research and teaching. In seminars, colloquia, workshops, conferences, informal talks on work-in-progress, reading groups, and informal discussions, our graduate students study and discuss philosophy with each other, with faculty, and with a broad array of first-rate scholars from other universities.
Steps for completing a Ph.D. in Philosophy
The proseminar is taken in the first fall semester of enrollment in the program. The proseminar is a variable topics course which requires writing a paper each week for the first 10 to 12 weeks of the term and presenting to the seminar.
- Nine units of distribution requirements
These requirements are intended to ensure that the successful Ph.D. candidate has a well-rounded and broad understanding of philosophy. They are to be satisfied by the end of the third year.
- Four units of concentration requirements
These requirements are intended to ensure that the successful Ph.D. candidate has a deeper understanding of at least one branch of philosophy. They are to be satisfied by the end of the third year.
The areas include:
- Metaphysics and Epistemology
- History of Philosophy
- Value Theory
Each student in philosophy is required to have a minor (typically four courses) in another department or program. All coursework listed above, including the minor, 15-16 courses altogether, should normally be completed within the first six semesters of fulltime enrollment.
- Minimum grade requirement
You must receive a grade of B or better in any course that receives credit toward the 90 credit hours required for the Ph.D.
- Language requirement
There is no general foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. However, your Qualifying Committee or Dissertation Committee may require the student to achieve proficiency in a foreign language relevant to the student's research and may set the level of proficiency to be attained and the means of establishing that the required level has been attained. You should consult with the director of graduate studies (DGS) about whether you will need competence in a foreign language, and this consultation should begin in the student's first year, to allow adequate time for the student to develop competence.
- Qualifying exam and dissertation prospectus course
The qualifying examination consists of an essay with an oral exam on a topic which the student plans to pursue further in the dissertation. The qualifying exam tests whether the student is ready to write a dissertation on the chosen topic. The qualifying exam is taken in conjunction with P804, the dissertation prospectus course, which must be taken by the sixth semester of fulltime enrollment. Passing the qualifying examination is necessary and sufficient for passing P804.
- Dissertation prospectus
A one- or two-page plan of the proposed dissertation. This is to be submitted to the Graduate School after it has been approved by the dissertation committee. The prospectus should be completed by the end of the sixth semester of fulltime enrollment.
- Dissertation defense
The university's final examination, based on the student's completed dissertation.
Learn more in our student portal
Use your Graduate Academic Bulletin
Students pursuing a graduate degree in Philosophy should use the University Graduate School Academic Bulletin.