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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Admission and Financial Aid

philosophy department


The department receives about 170 applications to the doctoral program every year, and about 50 applications for the Masters program. The graduate committee, which functions as the admissions committee, consists of four faculty members plus the department chair and graduate program director. This committee makes offers to the first five applicants, and the next 10-15 applicants are notified that they are on a waiting list for admission. In recent years we have also made offers to a number of those on the waiting list. Some of those who apply to the doctoral program and are not admitted or placed on the waiting list are considered for the Masters program. Those admitted to the masters program in recent years have been successful in applications to doctoral programs, both at Boston College (we take an average of one student per year from our own masters program), and at other doctoral programs, such as Brown, Columbia, Boston University, Fordham, Georgetown, The New School for Social Research, Loyola University of Chicago, Temple, Vanderbilt, and Marquette.

As part of an application, the department requires official transcripts of all higher education studies, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (for international students), and three letters of recommendation. Personal statements and writing samples are required. The committee does not favor or disfavor those with a masters over a bachelors degree. We do not require an undergraduate philosophy major for admission, but some philosophy coursework and recommendations from philosophy faculty are considered important.

Financial Aid

The policy of the department is to offer students admitted to the doctoral program full funding. The department normally receives sufficient funding to admit five new students to the doctoral program each year. Funding comes in the form of tuition remission scholarships and of stipends (graduate assistantships and teaching fellowships). Funding is guaranteed for a number of years (typically four or five) at the time of admission. There is no need to reapply for funding, but satisfactory progress towards completion of degree requirements and satisfactory performance of assistantship and teaching duties are conditions for continuation of funding. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences funds, on a competitive basis, an additional program of dissertation fellowships in order to free doctoral students from teaching responsibilities and enable them to complete their dissertations.