Philosophy Graduate Program

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

A student preparing for a doctorate in philosophy must meet general requirements and, before officially enrolling in PHIL 999 Dissertation, must satisfy these special requirements:

Complete at least 39 credit hours of graduate work in regular philosophy courses numbered 500 or above with grades in each course of at least B– and an overall grade-point average of at least B in all graduate philosophy courses. At least 24 of these hours must be at the 800 level or above (including PHIL 800 Tutorial and PHIL 901 Ph.D. Tutorial). Beyond the 39-hour requirement, additional hours in PHIL 999 Dissertation are required as appropriate in accordance with the rules of the Office of Graduate Studies and the Department.

  1. Complete PHIL 800 Tutorial with a grade of B- or higher in the first year of enrollment.
  2. Formal Philosophy Requirement: Complete PHIL 610 Symbolic Logic or PHIL 666 Rational Choice Theory with a grade of B- or higher.
  3. Ph.D. Course Distribution Requirement:
    Metaphysics and Epistemology (6)
         Select two of the following:
    PHIL 620
         Philosophy of Natural Science
    PHIL 622
         Philosophy of Social Science
    PHIL 628
         Philosophy of Logic
    PHIL 630
         Philosophy of Mathematics
    PHIL 638
         Philosophy of Language
    PHIL 648
         Theory of Knowledge
    PHIL 650
          Metaphysics
    PHIL 654
         Philosophy of Mind
    PHIL 850
         Topics in Recent Philosophy: _____
    PHIL 860
         Topics in Philosophy of Science: _____
    PHIL 862
         Topics in Logic: _____
    PHIL 868
         Topics in Philosophy of Language: _____
    PHIL 870
         Topics in Metaphysics: _____
    PHIL 872
         Topics in Theory of Knowledge: _____
    PHIL 877
         Topics in Philosophy of Mind: _____
    PHIL 888
         Topics in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences: _____
    Value Theory (6)
        Select two of the following:
    PHIL 504
         Philosophy of Sex and Love
    PHIL 555
         Justice and Economic Systems
    PHIL 662
         Aesthetics
    PHIL 668
         Political Philosophy
    PHIL 670
         Contemporary Ethical Theory
    PHIL 671
         Feminist Theories in Ethics
    PHIL 672
         History of Ethics
    PHIL 674
         Philosophy of Law
    PHIL 676
         Medical Ethics: Life and Death Issues
    PHIL 677
         Medical Ethics: Professional Responsibilities
    PHIL 850
         Topics in Recent Philosophy: _____
    PHIL 880
         Topics in Ethics: _____
    PHIL 884
         Topics in Social and Political Philosophy: _____
    PHIL 885
         Topics in Law and Philosophy
    PHIL 886
         Topics in Applied Ethics: _____
    Ancient Philosophy (3)
        Select one of the following:
    PHIL 508
         Early Greek Philosophy
    PHIL 605
         The Philosophy of Plato
    PHIL 607
         The Philosophy of Aristotle
    PHIL 608
         Hellenistic Philosophy
    PHIL 805
         Plato
    PHIL 807
         Aristotle
    PHIL 820
         Topics in the History of Philosophy: _____
    Modern Philosophy (3)
        Select one of the following:
    PHIL 820
         Topics in the History of Philosophy: _____
    PHIL 824
         Hume
    PHIL 828
         Kant
    Nineteenth- and 20th-Century Philosophy (3)
        Select one of the following:
    PHIL 560
         Nineteenth Century Philosophy
    PHIL 562
         Kierkegaard
    PHIL 570
         Nietzsche
    PHIL 580
         Marxism
    PHIL 582
         Existentialism
    PHIL 590
         Phenomenology
    PHIL 592
         Contemporary Continental Philosophy
    PHIL 820
         Topics in the History of Philosophy: _____
    PHIL 831
         Hegel
    PHIL 835
         Frege
    PHIL 843
         Heidegger
    PHIL 848
         Wittgenstein
    PHIL 850
         Topics in Recent Philosophy: _____
    PHIL 852
         Quine
    PHIL 855
         Davidson
    PHIL 890
         Topics in Continental Philosophy: _____ (Topic, instructor, and specific prerequisites to be announced in the Schedule of Classes.)
  4. PHIL 901 Ph.D. Tutorial: Students may not enroll in PHIL 901 before the third semester and normally should enroll in PHIL 901 no later than the sixth semester.
  5. Research Skills & Responsible Scholarship Requirement.  The University requires that every doctoral student have training in responsible scholarship and research skills pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before taking the comprehensive oral exam. For Philosophy doctoral students, this requirement is met by the following:
    • PHIL 800
    • PHIL 901
    • Demonstrated competence in an approved foreign language, OR completion of a faculty-approved course in a discipline related to the student's research interests. 
  6. Pass the comprehensive oral examination for Ph.D. candidacy. This examination must be taken after all of the above requirements have been completed, or in the semester in which the requirements will be completed.
    After the oral comprehensive examination has been passed, the student must write a dissertation of substantial merit showing the planning, conduct, and result of original research and must pass a final oral examination and defense of the dissertation.

Reduction of Credits

University graduate credit policy does not allow for a direct transfer of credits toward the Ph.D.; however, the department’s requirement of 39 credit hours of acceptable graduate work for the Ph.D. may be reduced by departmental petition depending on the amount and quality of equivalent graduate work completed at another institution. At minimum, 24 hours of acceptable graduate work must be taken in the Department of Philosophy at KU.


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