The doctoral program has long been committed to the study of the history of philosophy with particular attention to developments in contemporary European thought. It is nevertheless committed to pluralism, diversity, and inclusion, with a range of courses in Anglo-American philosophy, and a number of scholars working closely in contemporary ethics, social and political philosophy, critical philosophy of race, epistemology, philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion. We are convinced of the importance of interdisciplinary work, with active, formal programs in philosophy and law, psychoanalytic studies, Lonergan studies, Medieval thought, and philosophy and theology. We cultivate a strong sense of both the American and international contexts for our work, with a number of faculty members connected to Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.
The department normally can admit five new students to the doctoral program each year. Their studies are fully funded, by tuition remission and stipends (graduate assistantships and teaching fellowships), for five years (four for those who already have an M.A. when they enter the program). Students with institutional external funding (e.g. Fulbright) may be admitted in addition after examination of their dossier. Students entering the program without an M.A. earn an M.A. on their way to the Ph.D.
Training in Teaching and Research
The department emphasizes the importance of training doctoral students in teaching, and in philosophical research and writing. Doctoral students follow a “Professional Development Curriculum” committed to each of these areas, which prepares them to an academic career. During the first year of the program, doctoral student work closely with faculty members as a Research Assistant, and attend the Teaching Seminar to prepare for the teaching of their own two-semester undergraduate introductory course to philosophy in the following years. Students teach for each of the next three years, and still participate to the Teaching Seminar in their second year. The Writing Seminar, geared towards publishing and led by a faculty member, meets throughout the academic year. Students may participate for the entirety of their doctoral studies. Other meetings prepare to bibliographical research, inform about main trends in current scholarship, etc. Finally, students are guaranteed a last year of funded research and writing, without any other obligation than writing their dissertations. See the Graduate Studies Handbook for a time-table and additional details.
For specific questions about the Philosophy department's graduate programs please contact the graduate program assistant, Sarah Dustin Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). All other requests onthe application process should be made to the Graduate School at the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.
Student Life in the Department
At any given time, there are approximately forty students actively at work in various stages of the program, over half of which are present on campus. Many of our students come from other countries, including Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, India, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. Those who are from the United States come from a wide range of liberal arts colleges and universities coast to coast. A number spend part of their time in the program conducting research abroad (e.g., in recent years, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom). Students maintain several lively study groups each year, and organize at least one major conference each semester (e.g. a Workshop on Contemporary Philosophy in the fall and a Graduate Student conference in the spring; see Graduate Activities). There is also a bi-annual off campus community day, at which faculty and doctoral students undertake extended discussion of professional and social concerns chosen by the students. Some funds are available to assist graduate students who are delivering papers at scholarly conferences. See also the section “Resources” in the Graduate Studies Handbook.