Application Information

Application Materials

The deadline for all materials sent to the Philosophy Department is January 15 each year. The deadline for the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies materials is January 15 each year.

A complete application must include: James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies application for admission, a scanned transcript from all universities attended, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a short writing sample.

Writing Sample

The Philosophy Department requires that applicants submit a writing sample. A term paper or selection from an honors thesis or master's thesis is appropriate. Before submitting your writing sample, it is worth your time to edit and proofread. Remember that the writing sample is going to represent your ability to express yourself in writing. It is an important component of the application.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose should provide a picture of you as a philosopher. It should say something about the philosophical questions and issues that attract your attention, and something about the philosophical schools, historical figures, or periods that interest you. While you should be as specific as you can, it is OK to have varied interests. We also understand that interests develop, and sometimes change completely.

The statement of purpose is also a place to mention any special facts about yourself that might be relevant to your graduate work. If appropriate, include in your statement of purpose any ways in which you as a student would contribute to the diversity of the Philosophy program. If you have a language background or research experience that is not reflected your academic record, this is a good place to describe it. Like the writing sample, you should carefully edit your statement of purpose. It is an important first impression of your ability as a writer.

GRE Scores

GRE scores are required of all applicants. The Philosophy Department looks at these as one part of the overall profile of an applicant, and they are balanced against the letters of recommendation, transcripts, statement of purpose, and writing sample. While an applicant's self-report of GRE scores on the Application Form will suffice for the early stages of the application process, official confirmation of the scores by GTS is necessary before an admission offer can be made.


The graduate program in philosophy at Emory requires students to pass two language exams. These are translations of a 400 word philosophical passage from the original language into English. German, French, Latin, Greek, and Italian are commonly studied. Other languages may be used for the language exam, if there is a philosophical literature in that language that is relevant to the individual student's research. Students who have some background in a relevant language, or who have demonstrated facility with languages, are good candidates for admission at Emory. Be sure that your linguistic background is well documented by your application.

Financial Support

All graduate students in the Philosophy Department receive five years of funding. This includes a stipend ($18,000 for the 2012-2013 school year) and full tuition support. After the fifth year, funding is available by working as an instructor with full classroom responsibility. While this funding cannot be guaranteed to students, in recent years demand for instructors has outrun the number of advanced students available.

The Philosophy Department embraces Emory University's commitment to fostering diversity of thought, experience and culture. The Department welcomes students from a variety of racial, ethic, cultural, socioeconomic, religious, national and international backgrounds. Several types of special fellowships, which either supplement the base stipend provided by the Graduate School or provide full stipend support at a higher stipend level than the base stipends, are also offered on a competitive basis. Awards are announced to students at the time they are accepted for admission.

Generous support is also available for student travel. Graduate students who present papers at professional conferences may be supported by funds made available through the Graduate School. There are also funds available for the summer study of languages, with opportunities to travel abroad for advanced language study. Finally, the Philosophy Department offers the Beck Fellowship to support research that requires travel. Recent recipients have been able to do archival research, or to study with specialists in other universities.

All students who are accepted into the program receive five years of funding and are eligible for travel support. There is no separate application for financial aid.