2010 - 2011 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Philosophy, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall:  January 15

Admission is competitive and determined only once a year. Applications to the Ph.D. program are automatically considered for financial aid.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required:  3

From Whom:  Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with your academic competence.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No specific coursework is required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Applicants normally will have majored or minored in Philosophy for their bachelor’s degree.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A master's degree is not required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree in Philosophy is standard, although not mandatory, for admission into the program.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words in length and should include the following elements: your interest in Temple's program; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Scores are typically in the 65-75% range on the verbal and quantitative sections.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 620 paper-based, 260 computer-based, or 105 internet-based.

Writing Sample:

The writing sample should demonstrate your ability to research and write a scholarly paper. The paper should be no more than 10 pages and fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual. It should be in the field of Philosophy or a closely related area.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 18, 12 of which are in preliminary examination preparation, dissertation proposal preparation, and dissertation supervision.

Required Courses:

PHIL 8601, a first-year pro-seminar, is required. Students must take one designated course each in the areas of Values/Ethics and Epistemology/Metaphysics, and three in the area of History of Philosophy (one course in each of the following areas: Ancient, 17th-18th Century, Kant and Hegel).

For a current copy of the Departmental Graduate Handbook, which lists all requirements, contact Sonia Lawson, the Graduate Coordinator, at 215-204-1742 or slawson@temple.edu.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: A language examination is required. Students must pass a written proficiency examination in French, German, or Ancient Greek. Other languages may be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, provided the student makes a compelling case that the language in question is useful for dissertation work.

Culminating Events:

Dissertation Advising:
It is the student’s responsibility, in consultation with her/his primary advisor, to assemble three advisory committees. It is best to form a committee that gives the student a variety of sympathetic but critical perspectives on the project. Three distinct committees, which are largely composed of the same members, must be in place at different phases of the proposal and dissertation processes. The committee guidelines are outlined below:

1. Proposal Advisory Committee:  This committee guides the student through the preparation and defense of her/his dissertation proposal. The Proposal Advisory Committee is composed of three Graduate Faculty members from the Philosophy Department. One member is named Chair. Additional members from outside the Philosophy Department may be included with written approval from the Chair and the Graduate School. Normally, the Proposal Advisory Committee becomes the Doctoral Advisory Committee upon approval of the proposal.

2. Doctoral Advisory Committee:  This committee guides the student through all stages of the dissertation. The Doctoral Advisory Committee must be in compliance with University guidelines as prescribed by the Graduate School. The committee must be composed of at least three Temple University Graduate Faculty members, two of whom must be from the Philosophy Department. A member of the committee from the Philosophy Department is named Chair.

If changes must be made in the Doctoral Advisory Committee after the student is elevated to candidacy, such changes must be approved by the Chair of the Advisory Committee and the Graduate School. A Dissertation Committee Change form, available at www.temple.edu/grad/forms, must be filed.

3. Dissertation Examining Committee:  This committee consists of the Doctoral Advisory Committee plus one Graduate Faculty member from outside Temple’s Philosophy Department OR one Outside Examiner. The Outside Examiner may be from another academic institution and should not have been a part of the dissertation writing process or the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be a member of the Temple University Graduate Faculty, but may not be the Chair of the student’s Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Chair of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be identified when the defense is posted through the Graduate School. The Outside Examiner must be approved at least two weeks prior to the defense.

Preliminary Examinations:
The preliminary examinations consist of writing original research papers in: 1) the History of Philosophy, defined as Ancient Philosophy through the end of the 19th Century; and 2) Contemporary Philosophy, emphasizing constructivist, analytical, or other philosophical approaches to a particular issue.  Students may submit either the historical or the contemporary paper first.  These papers are typically developed from a student's best coursework papers and are generally revised through consultation with the professors who originally evaluated them.  The papers should aspire to meet the standards of publication.  NOTE: A successful course paper typically requires considerable work to become a successful preliminary paper.  Preliminary examination essays should show both a mastery of relevant primary and secondary literature and put forward ideas that are an original contribution to the field.  Graduate students are strongly encouraged to consult with faculty several months before their preliminary examination essays are due.

The first Preliminary Examination Paper is due by 4:00 p.m. on the second Monday in October at the beginning of the student's second year, and the second paper submission is due by 4:00 p.m. on the second Monday in October at the beginning of the student's third year. Papers must be prepared for blind review and submitted both online and in hard copy (four copies) to the Graduate Secretary.  Papers should include an abstract of not more than 200 words.

The papers are evaluated by two faculty members.  In close cases, a third reader is consulted.  Papers are graded High Pass/Pass/Low Pass/Fail.  Students receiving a Low Pass are on notice that their performance is not up to the level expected for dissertation work.  Second-year students who fail a preliminary examination resubmit (along with their second preliminary examination) in the October of their third year.  Third-year students who fail one or two preliminary examinations resubmit by 4:00 p.m. on the second Monday of the following February.  Third-year students who fail a preliminary examination twice are dismissed from the program.

Students must be registered for at least one credit of PHIL 9994: Preliminary Exam Preparation in the semesters in which they submit their preliminary examinations.  Students who are required to resubmit their preliminary examinations must re-register for one credit hour of PHIL 9994 in the semester in which the exam is to be resubmitted.

Dissertation Proposal:
The dissertation proposal is an opportunity for the student to develop and clearly articulate the project of the dissertation. The dissertation proposal has two components: written and oral. The written component should be 15-20 pages in length and include a statement of the problem, a critical literature review, and a sketch of how the student intends to address the philosophical problem(s) at hand. The student needs to make clear how the dissertation will be an original contribution to the field of philosophy. A detailed bibliography and chapter outline are also expected. The approved dissertation proposal serves as a contract between the student and her/his Doctoral Advisory Committee; the student agrees to complete the work outlined in the proposal under the guidance of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.

When the written component of the proposal is judged ready by the Proposal Advisory Committee, an oral examination date is set. At least two weeks before this examination, the defense is announced to the department faculty and at least two copies of the written proposal are made available in the Graduate Coordinator’s office.

The oral examination, which is conducted by the Proposal Advisory Committee, constitutes an opportunity for the student’s committee to make positive suggestions as well as to test the candidate’s preparedness. Other faculty may attend the oral examination and ask questions after the Proposal Advisory Committee has completed its questioning. The Proposal Advisory Committee decides, by majority vote, whether the candidate passes or fails the written and oral parts of the dissertation proposal.

The dissertation should constitute a definitive and original contribution to the field of philosophy. It needs to show mastery of the relevant philosophical literature. The dissertation should be in the hands of the Dissertation Examining Committee by October 1 for January graduation and by March 1 for May graduation.

All Ph.D. students must formally and publicly defend their dissertations before the Dissertation Examining Committee. The candidate must submit the official, signed notice of the Oral Defense to the Graduate School 10 or more working days before the scheduled defense. A defense cannot be held without written confirmation of approval and receipt of the defense paperwork from the Graduate School.

The defense should be announced publicly and is open to all members of the University. During the defense, primary questioning is restricted to the members of the Dissertation Examining Committee. Then, Philosophy Department faculty members who have submitted written questions in advance may address the candidate. Lastly, other members of the Philosophy Department faculty may address the candidate. The Dissertation Examining Committee decides, by majority vote, whether the candidate passes or fails.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Philosophy
Anderson Hall, 7th Floor
12th and Berks Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Department Contacts:

Graduate Coordinator:
Sonia Lawson

Director of Graduate Studies:
Dr. Miriam Solomon

Dr. Paul Taylor

About the Program

Temple’s Department of Philosophy has strengths in several areas of philosophical study. The department has a rich history and continuing presence in the field of aesthetics. Professors Monroe Beardsley and John Fisher were in the department for many years, and now the department is home to Professors Philip Alperson, Noel Carroll, Susan Feagin, Espen Hammer, Joseph Margolis, and Paul Taylor. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism has its editorial offices in the Department, and graduate students have the opportunity to work for the journal. Faculty specializing in social and political philosophy include Professors Lewis Gordon, Paul Taylor, and Shelley Wilcox. The Department also has expertise in Africana philosophy, continental philosophy, epistemology, feminist philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of race, and philosophy of science. The Ph.D. program itself is designed to provide students with a breadth of knowledge in Philosophy while emphasizing depth of knowledge through intensive work on particular philosophical issues of interest to the student. The program has been recently revised to stress early development of professional writing standards and oral skills. Ph.D. students are generally given the opportunity to teach courses under the guidance of the Department's Teaching Mentoring Program.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Main, Center City

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Part-time status (8 credit hours or less per semester) is permissible.  Most classes are offered before 4:30 p.m., however, so it is not possible to complete the degree with evening classes only.

Department Information:

Dept. of Philosophy
Anderson Hall, 7th Floor
12th and Berks Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

The program permits students in the Ph.D. program to take a limited number of courses in non-Philosophy programs at Temple. Students may earn the Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies in conjunction with the Ph.D. in Philosophy. Many students take courses in African American Studies, Art History, English, and Psychology.


The Greater Philadelphia Consortium provides expanded course options for graduate work in Philosophy. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Temple may take graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Job Placement:

Graduates typically find employment in college or university teaching and research. A departmental placement committee assists students with the job search.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students may register for courses after an interview with the Director of Graduate Studies, at which time they should present academic transcripts. Credit toward a subsequent degree program at Temple University is limited to 9 credits.

Financing Opportunities

Support is available in the form of University Fellowships, Teaching Assistantships, and Academic Internships. University Fellows are typically supported with a stipend and full tuition remission for four years, teaching for two of those years. Teaching Assistants are typically required to teach introductory philosophy courses or recitation sections in large courses taught by professors. Teaching Assistantships carry a stipend and full tuition remission. Academic Interns typically work in editorial positions for scholarly journals, such as The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. All Ph.D. applications are automatically considered for financial aid.

Updated 9.16.09