PhD in Philosophy

Admission Requirements

The department accepts only applicants who wish to be candidates for the PhD. Applicants are not admitted as candidates for the MA as a terminal degree. Applicants are considered on an individual basis. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Baccalaureate Field No restrictions. Prior academic work should include courses in modern formal logic, ethics, history of philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of science or philosophy of language.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study.
  • Tests Required GRE.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (New Paper-Based—after August 2018); 550 (Institutional Testing Paper-Based—prior to August 2018), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required, preferably from professors who are familiar with the student’s recent work.
  • Personal Statement Required; 250 words. The statement should address the applicant’s past work in philosophy and plans for graduate study.
  • Writing Sample Applicants should submit a writing sample that demonstrates their capacity for philosophical work, preferably an essay written for a philosophy course.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 36.
  • Course Work At least 24 hours must be in courses at the 500-level. At least 24 hours must be in courses in the Department of Philosophy, of which at least 20 must at the 500-level (excluding PHIL 590–599). Students must receive a B or better in one course in the history of philosophy; one course in metaphysics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of science, or philosophy of language; and one course in ethics, political philosophy, or aesthetics.
  • Comprehensive Examination None.
  • Thesis, Project, or Course-Work-Only Options Course work only. No other options are available.

Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 for students entering with a baccalaureate, and 64 for students entering with a master’s.
  • Course Work 
    • Students admitted with a BA only must achieve a grade of B or better in 14 graduate courses by the end of their third year (six semesters) of study
    • Students admitted with an MA in Philosophy (or related field) must achieve a grade of B or better in each of 10–14 graduate courses by the end of their third year (six semesters) of study. The specific number and area of the courses to be completed is individually determined by the department's Graduate Advisory Committee after the first year in the program.
    • For all students at least 10 of their required courses must be at the 500-level or be 400-level logic courses; and at least 10 must be in the UIC Department of Philosophy. PHIL 590, PHIL 591, PHIL 593, and PHIL 599 may not be counted toward the  required courses; no more than 8 credit hours of PHIL 596 may be counted.
    • Distribution Requirement: A grade of B or better in each of the following courses in the UIC Department of Philosophy: PHIL 500; three 500-level courses in the history of philosophy (at least one in ancient or medieval and one in modern); five 500-level courses (except one logic course may be at the 400 level) in (a) value theory (e.g., aesthetics, ethics, social and political philosophy, (b) non-value theory (e.g., epistemology, language, logic, metaphysics, mind, science), with at least two courses in (b); PHIL 500, PHIL 590, PHIL 591, PHIL 593, PHIL 596, and PHIL 599 may not be used to satisfy this distribution requirement.
    • Logic Requirement: A grade of B or better in PHIL 210 or a higher-level UIC logic course.
    • Research Seminar: Students must achieve a grade of S in PHIL 590 by the end of their third year (six semesters) of study.
  • Examinations 
    • Departmental Qualifying Examination: Required. The examination consists of a research paper and a written or oral exam within the student’s general area.
    • Preliminary Examination: Required. Performance in courses, departmental qualifying examination, and teaching will be considered in determining whether the student passes the preliminary examination.
  • Dissertation Required.
  • Language Requirement The language requirement for each student is decided by the department's Graduate Advisory Committee. This determination is based on a consideration of the student's area of interest. In no case is proficiency in more than two languages required. In those areas in which the primary sources are in English, a foreign language may not be required.
  • Teaching Seminar Students must achieve a grade of S in PHIL 591 to graduate.

Interdepartmental Concentrations

Students earning a graduate degree in this department may complement their courses by enrolling in select concentrations after consulting with their graduate advisor. Interdepartmental concentrations available for this degree include: