Philosophy Department

303 College Hall
600 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: 412 396 6500
Fax: 412 396 5353

Ron Polansky

Daniel Selcer
Director of Graduate Studies

Michael Harrington
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Joan Thompson
Administrative Assistant

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Ph.D. Course of Study

• Coursework credits. Ph.D. students take a minimum of 48 graduate course credit hours (16 courses). These must include at least a minimum of one in ancient philosophy, one in medieval philosophy, one in modern philosophy, and one in contemporary philosophy (note: not all graduate courses offered by the department fall into one of these categories). With the approval of the Chair, six credits (2 courses) may be taken through other Duquesne departments or at area universities. Ph.D. students normally complete their coursework in three years, taking 9 credits (3 courses) each semester during their first two years and 6 credits (2 courses) each semester during their third year. Later years are dedicated to dissertation work.

• Transfer credits. After a reasonable period has elapsed to observe performance at Duquesne, the Chair may approve the transfer of up to 9 credits of prior graduate coursework in philosophy. In some cases, larger transfers may be allowed for philosophy coursework completed at non-U.S. institutions. Please note that this Philosophy graduate transfer credit policy is more limited than the general Graduate School policy.

• Comprehensive examinations. Ph.D. students must pass two rounds of comprehensive exams: written exams taken no later than the third semester in the program and oral exams taken no later than the sixth. Students entering the Ph.D. program with prior philosophy graduate coursework at Duquesne may be assigned abbreviated exam schedules. Those who fail either comprehensive exam twice will be asked to leave the program. More details about comprehensive exams are available to enrolled graduate students through the Philosophy PhD Students Blackboard community website.

• Language requirements. Ph.D. students must demonstrate research competence in two foreign languages (normally ancient Greek, Latin, French, or German). Other languages may be allowed when demonstrably related to dissertation research. Language requirements must be satisfied before dissertation prospectus submission and so are usually completed during the first three to four years of the program. Tuition assistance is usually available for semester language courses at Duquesne and intensive summer language study abroad.

• Supervised teaching & pedagogical training. Ph.D. students funded by stipend are initially required to serve as Teaching Assistants and later to teach introductory-level courses. Typically, students assist for three semesters and then begin teaching. The semester prior to teaching their first course, students receive pedagogical training through the Graduate Teaching Philosophy Seminar (PHIL 689/690). Faculty mentors and the Center for Teaching Excellence provide additional pedagogical training. During their first two semesters of teaching, students register for Supervised Teaching of Philosophy (PHIL 691/692). Classroom performance is reviewed periodically. PHIL 689/690 and 691/692 are credit- and tuition-free; they do not count toward the 48 required course credits.

• Grant submission requirement. All Ph.D. students are required to make at least one application for an external grant (for research, travel, language study, or other relevant purpose) before submitting a dissertation prospectus. A copy of the grant application should be sent to the Chair.

• Dissertation. A prospectus detailing plans for dissertation research may be submitted once all coursework requirements, language requirements, grant submission requirements, and comprehensive exams are complete. The prospectus should be discussed with the student's proposed Dissertation Director and is not approved until formally accepted by the director and two readers. An approved prospectus must be submitted to the Chair no later than two years after completing the comprehensive exams (in most cases, the prospectus is submitted within six months). At this point, the student commences dissertation research and writing. Students have four years following completion of comprehensive exams to submit, revise, and publically defend a dissertation. The dissertation will be considered complete once defended and approved by all committee members and submitted to the University.

• Dissertation credits. After completing all coursework credits, Ph.D. students must register for 6 dissertation research credits (a minimum of 1 credit/semester) (PHIL 701). These credits do not count toward coursework requirements.

• Continuation credits. After completing coursework and dissertation credits, Ph.D. students must register for fee-based continuation credits (GRAS 701) to maintain their enrollment status at Duquesne. Continuous registration does not apply to students on leave of absence. These credits do not count toward the coursework requirements detailed above. Note that online registration for these credits is not available; a message stating intent to register for continuation credits must be sent to the Dean's Office and the Philosophy Department each semester.

• Satisfactory Progress. The Chair and Director of Graduate Studies periodically review progress toward degree. Students deemed not to be making satisfactory progress may be placed on probation or asked to leave the program. University policy requires all work leading to a Ph.D. degree to be completed no more than eight years after matriculation.

• Degree conferral. Ph.D. candidates must make a formal application for the degree at the office of the Registrar prior to the date specified in that year's University Calendar and should be present at graduation. Students must make complete settlement of their financial accounts with the university before any degree will be conferred.

• Exchange programs. Students who wish to pursue an exchange program, such as the one set up with Heidelberg University, may only do so after finishing their required coursework at Duquesne.

Additional Links:

Philosophy Faculty

Ph.D. Funding

Ph.D. Placement

Ph.D. Application

Graduate Courses

Departmental Speakers and Events

Graduate Students in Philosophy Organization