Programs by Campus


College of Arts and Sciences

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 Degrees Offered

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)


Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination General Test. Those who have an inadequate background in philosophy may, with the approval of their faculty advisor, enroll in P590 for supplemental work, provided that the number of gradu­ate credits so acquired does not exceed 9 credit hours. Upon admission, a graduate major in philosophy will be assigned a departmental faculty advisor who, in conjunction with the di­rector of graduate studies, will help plan the student’s program of study.

Master of Arts Degree

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, at least 20 credit hours of which must be in philosophy. These must include at least one course in each of four subject areas: history of philosophy, metaphys­ics and epistemology, logic, and value theory.


A minimum grade of B (3.0) is required in each course that counts toward the degree.

Language/Thesis Requirements

The student must either demonstrate reading proficiency in classical Greek, French, German, or Latin; or write an accept­able thesis. Up to 6 hours of thesis credit may be applied to the course requirements and may be counted in the 20 credit hours of philosophy.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, including dissertation (minimum of 30 credit hours).


A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) is required of work that counts toward the degree.

Foreign Language Requirement

There is no general foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. However, a student’s 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. A stu­dent should consult with the director of graduate studies about whether he or she 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.

Distribution and Concentration Requirements

The distribution requirements can be satisfied by taking four courses in metaphysics, epistemology, and logic; two courses in value theory; and three courses in the history of philosophy. Generally, concentration requirements can be satisfied by tak­ing a total of four courses in one of these areas. Specific course choices must be approved by the student’s graduate advisory committee. Distribution requirements are normally satisfied by the end of the student’s second year and concentration re­quirements by the end of the third year. Students who are tak­ing extensive course work (18 credit hours or more) in another department outside of philosophy can apply for exemption from two of the nine distribution units.

Qualifying Exam

An essay, together with an oral exam, on a topic that the stu­dent plans to pursue further in the dissertation. The qualifying exam will test whether the student is ready to write a dis­sertation on the chosen topic. Students who have passed the qualifying exam and have satisfied the course and language requirements are ready to be nominated for candidacy. The qualifying exam should normally be taken by the end of three-and-one-half years of graduate study. Students who have not been admitted to candidacy by the beginning of their sixth year will be dropped from the program. Ph.D. students in Philosophy may use the Qualifying Exam essay also to satisfy the Lan­guage/Thesis requirement for the M.A. degree (above) if they enroll in 3–6 hours of P590 or P803 during which the essay for the Qualifying Exam is written.

Dissertation Prospectus

A one- or two-page plan of the proposed dissertation that is submitted to the graduate school after it has been approved by the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Chapter Exam

A long essay (about 25 pages long) on the dissertation topic, with an optional oral component. The dissertation chapter exam should be taken within one year of passing the qualifying exam.

Ph.D. Minor in Philosophy

Doctoral students outside the department may minor in philosophy by completing 12 credit hours of graduate-level philosophy courses with a B (3.0) average or higher. No more than 9 credit hours may be taken as P590, and no more than 6 credit hours may be transfer credit hours originally earned at other universities. The program must be approved by the director of graduate studies of the Department of Philosophy. Students planning to take P590 as part of their program must, in addition, obtain consent to do so from the instructor of that course.

Ph.D. Minor and Graduate Area Certificate in Pure and Applied Logic

The Department of Philosophy participates in the Program in Pure and Applied Logic, along with the Departments of Com­puter Science, Linguistics, and Mathematics. For details of the requirements for the Logic Minor and the Logic Certificate, see the booklet IU Program in Pure and Applied Logic, available in the departmental office, Sycamore 026.

Philosophy Ph.D. students may minor in logic, provided that (1) no courses are double-counted for major and minor, (2) at least three of the minor courses are taken outside the Department of Philosophy, and (3) the courses constituting the minor are approved by the Philosophy Logic Area Committee.

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