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Curriculum

Doctoral Study


On successful completion of the program, students are expected

1. to have a breadth of knowledge of philosophy and its history


Assessment: Successful completion of the distribution requirements, which require a student to take courses across the field of philosophy. Partial completion must be achieved for the First Examination, full completion for the Second Examination.

2. to have a depth of knowledge in some areas of philosophy and its history


Assessment: Passing the First Qualifying Paper, required for the First Examination; passing the Second Qualifying Paper, required for the Second Qualifying Paper; passing the Dissertation Examination

3. to be able to present and defend a philosophical position in oral argument


Assessment: Passing the First Year Seminar, required for the First Examination; passing the Prospectus Examination; passing the Dissertation Examination; gaining the required number of course credits

4. to be able to write, at the level of professional philosophy: (i) a short paper; (ii) a long paper; (iii) a monograph

Assessment of (i): Passing the First Qualifying Paper, required for the First Examination; gaining the required number of course credits

Assessment of (ii): Passing the Second Qualifying Paper, required for the Second Examination
Assessment of (iii): Passing the Dissertation Examination

5. to be able to conduct sustained research on philosophical topics

Assessment: Passing the First and Second Qualifying Paper, and the Dissertation Examination

 

The five steps for the Ph.D.:

  1. First-Year Seminar
  2. Course Work: 60 credits of course work, meeting distribution requirements, with at least a B average.
  3. First and Second Qualifying Papers
  4. Prospectus: dissertation proposal (prospectus) examination
  5. Dissertation: oral defense of a completed dissertation
 

First-Year Seminar


In the Fall semester, first-year Ph.D. students are required to take an intensive seminar taught by two instructors. Its aim is to introduce students to high-level philosophical studies through detailed discussions of major philosophical texts. An approximate reading list will be sent out to incoming students during the summer. The seminar will have short weekly or bi-weekly writing assignments and regular student presentations. At the discretion of the Executive Officer, the seminar may count toward satisfying the distribution requirement with a grade of pass. The seminar is not open to other students.

Grades: Students will be graded "pass" or "fail." Students who fail may repeat once. Should a student fail twice, the Evaluations Committee will bring this to the attention of the Executive Committee and in the absence of considerations strong enough to override, will recommend that the student be dropped from the program.

 

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Course Work


A student must complete 60 credits of course work with at least a B average.

Credits in Other Fields: Up to 15 credits may, with the approval of the Executive Officer, be taken in related areas. Students admitted with an M.A. in philosophy are allowed 6 credits in related fields.

Transfer Credits: No more than 20 credits may be transferred from other programs. No transfer credits will be approved until the student completes four courses with at least a B average. The Executive Officer will determine how many credits the student may transfer.

Distribution Requirements: Courses are organized into five groups:

Group A: metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of logic and mathematics.

Group B: epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of physics.

Group C: ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, philosophy of law.

Group D: ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, modern philosophy.

Group E: logic.

Students are required to take two courses from each of groups A, B, C, and D, and one course from group E. In group D, one course must be chosen from ancient or medieval philosophy and one from modern philosophy. The distribution areas towards which a given course counts will be determined by the faculty member in consultation with the Executive Officer. No course shall count towards more than two distribution areas. A student may count a course towards at most one area. A student must achieve a grade of at least B+ for a course to count toward satisfying a distribution requirement. The requirement for logic may be satisfied by passing an examination in logic.

 

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Qualifying Papers


Students will be examined on two Qualifying papers. (See the Qualifying Papers section for full requirements.) The first, of 5000 words, with leeway of plus or minus 500 words, is due on the day before the first day of Spring semester in the student's second year. The second, of 7500 words, with leeway of plus or minus 500 words and on a different topic from the first, is due on the day before the first day of Spring semester in the student's third year. (The two Papers may be in the same area, however; for example, both may be in Ethics, or both in the Philosophy of Language.) No extensions will be granted except for a serious medical or other emergency. A student who does not submit a paper on time will fail the examination. Students are encouraged to base a Qualifying Paper on a course paper but this is not required.

First Examination: Students pass the First Examination upon successful completion of the First-Year Seminar, the First Qualifying Paper, and one course in each group, A to E. The Assistant Program Officer will notify the Registrar's Office of the completion of these requirements.
 
Second Examination: Students pass the Second Examination upon successful completion of the Second Qualifying Paper and the remaining distribution requirements. The Assistant Program Officer will notify the Registrar's Office of the completion of these requirements.

 

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En-route M.A.


Upon completing 45 credits with an average grade of B, passing the First Examination, and passing the Second Qualifying Paper, a doctoral student may apply for an en-route M.A. degree. Those seeking an en-route M.A. degree should have the Executive Officer and the Assistant Program Officer initiate the appropriate action. The En-Route M.A. is available only to eligible Ph.D. students.

 

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Master's Study - Requirements for the Master of Arts


The student must follow a program of study approved by an adviser, including a minimum of nine graduate courses.

Students are required to take one course from each of groups A, B, C, D, and E (see course groupings in the Distribution Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy). Up to two courses may be taken in a related program. These courses must contribute to a coherent program and must be approved by the Executive Officer. These distribution requirements may be modified for students pursuing an interdisciplinary program of study in philosophy and an allied discipline.

In the Ethics and Society specialization the courses must be distributed in the following manner: five courses in the area of ethics and society; one course in groups A or B or D or E. Up to three courses may be taken in a related program. These courses must contribute to a coherent program and must be approved by the Executive Officer.

No more than 12 credits may be transferred from other programs. No transfer credits will be approved until the student completes four courses with at least a B+ average. The Executive Officer will determine how many credits the student may transfer.

There is no language requirement.

 

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Contact Us


Philosophy Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Ave., Rm. 7113
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-817-8615
 
Executive Officer: Prof. Iakovos Vasiliou
Deputy Executive Officer: Prof. John Greenwood
Director of Admissions: Prof. Carol Gould
Director of Placement: Prof. Noël Carroll
Assistant Program Officer: Rosemarie Iannuzzi