Graduate Student Handbook

Doctoral study in Philosophy at Emory entails a structured curriculum of coursework, departmental examinations (logic, languages, comprehensive portfolio papers), and training in professionalization and teaching. 

The following handbook applies to students matriculating in Fall 2014 and after. For students matriculating prior to that, the previous handbook can be found here.

I. Curricular Structure

A. Course Requirements

Students are required to take full time course work for three years, totaling no less than 58 credit hours, observing the following curricular requirements:

PHIL 700: Professionalization Seminar. This 2-credit seminar is required of all Philosophy PhD students in their first semester of study at Emory University. This course is taken in addition to three philosophy seminars. See III. Teaching and Professionalization Training, below.

PHIL 777: Pedagogy Seminar. This 2-credit seminar is required of all Philosophy PhD students in their third semester of study at Emory University. It focuses on the theory and practice of effective teaching, specifically within the discipline of Philosophy. This course is taken in addition to three seminars. See III. Teaching and Professionalization Training, below.

PHIL 797r: Area of Specialization Directed Study. In the fall of their third year, students pursue a semester long directed reading designed to round out their breadth in their AOS, which may be a topical or historical area. This directed reading must culminate in a written project such as a literature review or term paper to be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members. Whatever kind of project is pursued, it must be accompanied by an annotated bibliography.

PHIL 797r: Dissertation Prospectus Directed Study. In the spring of their third year, students pursue a semester long directed reading on their particular dissertation topic. The reading will be lead by the dissertation director in consultation with the dissertation committee (see under IV. The Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, below). This directed reading culminates in a prospectus to be defended by the end of term. A successful prospectus defense is a condition for passing the directed study.

Distribution requirements. All students must take seminars from at least eight Philosophy core faculty members (must be met by end of the sixth semester). 

B. Curriculum Policy

MA Transfer Credit. Incoming students who have received the MA degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution may choose to enter with transfer credit. Should they do so, they are held to the same timetable of requirements as incoming students with full standing, but take no additional courses in their third year beyond the two directed studies outlined above (AOS and dissertation prospectus), a difference of four courses.

Course Credit and Load. Graduate philosophy courses are 3 credit hours, excepting PHIL 700 and 777, which are 2 credit hours each. The normal full-time course load for students is 9 hours per semester (3 courses). Course numbers followed by the letter “r” indicate that the course may be repeated for credit when the subject matter changes.

First Semester. During the first semester of graduate study, regardless of standing, all students take PHIL 700 and three graduate courses in Philosophy. After successful completion of the first semester students may, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, register for courses offered by other departments and programs.

Cross-listed Courses. All courses cross-listed with Philosophy count toward the credit hour requirement of the degree.

Courses in Other Departments. Courses hosted by other departments and not cross-listed with philosophy do not normally count toward the credit hour requirement for the degree. Students may petition the Director of Graduate Studies for such a course to count toward their degree, however, by providing an account of its relevance to their philosophical education.

A number of Emory graduate programs offer Graduate Certificates via an organized sequence of courses, for a complete list see here.

Directed Studies. Directed study opportunities (beyond the AOS and Prospectus directed studies) are available to students after their second semester. A student may register for no more than two such additional directed studies (regardless of department) during his/her time at Emory. Students considering enrollment in a directed study should consult with their faculty advisor and with the Director of Graduate Studies during the prior semester. Enrollment is dependent upon approval by the professor in question. No more than two students may take such additional directed studies with a professor at any one time. 

PHIL 599r/799r. These courses fulfill different roles in the program and students are automatically enrolled in them by the department's Academic Department Administrator. PHIL 599r: Thesis Research is for students not yet in candidacy and PHIL 799r: Advanced Research for those in candidacy. PHIL 599 is used for enrolling students pursuing a Master’s thesis or for students beyond their third year who are not yet in candidacy. PHIL 799 is used for enrolling students in candidacy for dissertation research. These courses are also used to continue full time enrollment over the summer.

PHIL 599 and 799 are graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Prior to candidacy, during the student’s first two summers, PHIL 599 is automatically graded as Satisfactory. After that point, PHIL 599 and 799 require evidence of accomplishment for the S grade to be awarded.

PHIL 599 and 799 are graded by the student’s pre-dissertation advisor or MA thesis advisor (PHIL 599) or by the student’s dissertation director (PHIL 799). At the start of each term (semester or summer) of enrollment in 599 or 799, students provide their advisors/directors with a one paragraph proposal of their planned activities for the term; at the term’s close, they provide a one paragraph report detailing their progress on what they proposed. The advisor/director informs the Director of Graduate Studies of the student’s grade for the term in question and the DGS submits the grades. Students must provide such evidence to their advisor/director of good progress in their research over the course of the term to receive a Satisfactory grade; it is not automatically awarded. Students failing to provide such evidence will be graded as Unsatisfactory and placed on probation (see “Probation” under V. General Policy and Procedure, below).

Department Colloquia. The department sponsors a colloquium series extending throughout the academic year. Speakers include both members of the Emory faculty and invited guests from other universities. All students are fully expected to attend the colloquium as part of their normal graduate education.

Incompletes. A grade of “Incomplete“ can be given in a course only under the most extraordinary circumstances, such as serious illness, and then only after the faculty member has consulted with the Director of Graduate Studies. Permission granted, the requisite course work must then be completed before the end of the following semester.

C. Discursive Norms for Graduate Seminars

The Philosophy Department is committed to rich and inclusive graduate seminars. It thus expects all participants to engage the material and one another in thoughtful, respectful, and generous ways. Participants should share their thoughts and leave room for, as well as respond to, others. 

Participants bring distinct dispositions, interests and background knowledges to class, and speak from positions of diverse social standing. A strong seminar not only tolerates but also embraces such differences and the insights and issues they generate, which can include disagreement. When disagreements arise, participants should be respectful and thoughtful regardless of whether one receives or delivers an objection. 

Just as there are multiple viewpoints and learning styles in a given classroom, so too there are various pedagogies and a wide range of valuable learning outcomes. The above norms are thus intended to function in accord with specific seminar requirements and objectives, subject matter, and enrollment size. 

If problems arise regarding seminar conduct, steps will be taken to address counter-productive behaviors. Concerned students should communicate directly with the instructor and should the situation persist, with the DGS or Chair, who will respond in accord with the LGS Conduct Code.

Graduate seminars can prove transformative when participants are open to learning new things and to changing their minds. To reach that goal, participants should respond thoughtfully and creatively to texts, remain open and responsive to one another, and continually co-create a community of inquirers that strives to foster the well-being and growth of all of its members. 


II. Departmental Examinations and Requirements

A. Logic Examination

Students are required to demonstrate competence in basic logic by taking a department-administered exam. The logic exam covers the following topics: 1) basic logical concepts and the analysis of arguments; 2) basic informal logic and fallacies; 3) basics of deductive reasoning, including propositions, syllogisms, truth tables, propositional logic, and first-order predicate logic; and 4) basics of inductive reasoning, including analogical, causal, and probabilistic explanations. These are topics found in standard introductory texts to logic, such as Logic by Copi, Cohen, and McMahon, A Concise Introduction to Logic by Hurley, Logic: Deductive and Inductive by Read, among others.

The logic exam is offered twice a year, once at the start of the fall semester and again during spring. Students should complete the logic requirement by the end of their sixth semester in the program. Past logic exams are on file in the department office.

B. Language Examinations

The language requirement can be fulfilled by passing an examination for reading competence in two languages other than English. Students must pass a language exam in the primary language(s) of whatever dissertation work they propose to undertake. Language exams are typically given in September, January, and April. Students should complete the two language exams by the end of their sixth semester in the program.

The language departments at Emory sometimes offer intensive courses for reading knowledge. Interested students are advised to make contact with the respective departments for scheduling. In rare circumstances, the graduate school may hire an instructor to teach an intensive language summer course (in Ancient Greek, for example) given adequate enrollment. The Philosophy department typically runs multiple non-credit reading groups in languages other than English. Past language exams are on file in the department office.

C. Comprehensive Portfolio Requirement

Philosophy graduate students demonstrate their competence in the major topic areas of philosophy via a series of papers grouped into portfolios. Students submit a portfolio of two papers in four distinct problem areas – metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics, and social and political philosophy – as well as two additional papers comparing texts and issues across two of these problem areas (comparative papers are included in the portfolio of their main concern). Students thus submit a total of 10 papers across four portfolios (two portfolios with two papers, two portfolios with three papers). Additional details and requirements are found in the appendices to this handbook, “Comprehensive Portfolio Guidelines” and “Comprehensive Portfolio Reading List.”

D. Grant Writing Requirement

During their third year in the program, students are required to write a grant proposal for external (non-Emory) funding for their fourth year. Students who receive major external funding will be guaranteed a sixth year of funding at Emory. Students do not actually have to apply for a grant (should deadlines not allow), they can satify the requirement by submitting a completed proposal to the DGS.

The graduate school runs a program of workshops devoted to grant writing targeted at graduate students. The department encourages its students to participate in such programs in the quest for external funding for their research. Details can be found here

III. Teaching and Professionalization Training

Emory philosophy students are provided with professionalization training commensurate with the current demands of the discipline, including teaching duties. Successful completion of such training and teaching duties is a condition for the awarding of all advanced degrees. Special arrangements may be made for students admitted with MA transfer credit and extensive teaching experience elsewhere.

A. Teacher Training

Students receive training and support in a graduated, closely supervised series of teaching responsibilities culminating in the creation of a course of their own design.

TATTO. All PhD students participate in the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) course sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This consists in two days of pedagogy workshops and practice teaching taken by all students in mid-August prior to the beginning of their second year (regardless of standing). This course appears on the student’s fall transcript as TATT 600.

PHIL 777: Pedagogy Seminar. All PhD students regardless of standing take a 2-credit PHIL 777 pedagogy seminar in their third semester of study, dealing with issues specific to the theory and practice of teaching philosophy at the college and university level.

Teaching Assistantship. Students serve one semester as a Teaching Assistant in their third semester. Teaching Assistants typically attend classes, grade assignments, and hold regular office hours. The duties of a Teaching Assistant are determined by the faculty member responsible for the course. As TAs, students are automatically registered for TATT 605.

Co-Teaching (aka Teaching Associateship). Students serve one semester working with a faculty member as a Co-Teacher in their fourth semester. In addition to the duties of an Assistant described above, a Co-Teacher typically helps construct a course syllabus and course requirements, evaluates student work, lectures or leads class several times over the course of the semester, and helps write exams or other assignments. The duties of a Co-Teacher are determined by the faculty member responsible for the course. As Co-Teachers, students are automatically registered for TATT 610.

Grading Protection. No TA or co-teacher shall be responsible for, undertake, or complete more of the grading or related assessment of required undergraduate student work that serves as a basis for the final course grade than the instructor of record.

Teaching One’s Own Course. Students have the opportunity to teach courses of their own design during four semesters, typically in their third and fifth years. Student syllabi are subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies and, where the DGS deems appropriate, the Graduate Studies Committee. Syllabi are to be submitted to the DGS prior to the deadline for book orders (please note that these deadlines are extremely early: for fall courses, book orders are due in March, for spring courses, October).

While teaching their own course, students are to be observed teaching by their faculty advisor or by the Director of Graduate Teaching of the Graduate Studies Committee should their advisor be on leave.

B. Professionalization Training

The following aspects of our program have been designed to introduce and familiarize students with philosophy as a profession. Successful completion of these features is requisite for the awarding of any advanced degree.

PHIL 700: Professionalization Seminar. This seminar is required of all philosophy PhD students in their first year of study at Emory University. The course seeks to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on and develop professional skills geared toward success and advancement in the discipline. The course typically includes presentations by many Emory philosophy professors as coordinated by the course’s instructor, and familiarization with the resources available for professional development via the Woodruff Library, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, and related Centers and Institutes at Emory, as well as the American Philosophical Association.

Academic Professional Ethics Requirements (JPE). All graduate students at Emory University are required to undergo training in academic professional ethics. Satisfaction of this requirement entails completion of the three part “Jones Program in Ethics” (JPE). Completion of elements 1 and 2 are required for candidacy, and 3 is required for graduation.

1. JPE 600: A 6 hour core seminar in scholarly integrity, supported by the Laney Graduate School in collaboration with the Emory Center for Ethics. Participation in this seminar will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

2. Program-Based Instruction: A minimum of 6 hours of program-based ethics material. The disposition of this discussion time is at the program’s discretion. These discussions may take place within existing courses, such as methodology or professionalization courses. They may also take the form of faculty-led workshops or journal clubs. The intention of this part of the program is to promote student discussions with their own program faculty, and to integrate explicit attention to ethics into the regular course of graduate education.

3. JPE 610: Minimum of 4 workshops. These workshops will be sponsored by the LGS, the Emory Center for Ethics, and will include any other relevant occasional lectures or workshops. Students will register for these sessions individually, and participation will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

Grant Writing Requirement: See II. Departmental Examinations and Requirements, D. Grant Writing Requirement above.

C. Professional Support

Professional Development Support (PDS) Funds. The graduate school provides students with funding for purposes of conference participation, research (including archive work), and training (including advanced language study), along with other similar professional development activities. A fixed amount is provided non-competitively to each Emory graduate student. Further PDS funding is available on a competitive basis. Amounts and details can be found here.

Note that all university funded travel must be booked in accordance with the guidelines found here

Support Beyond the Fifth Year. Students preparing to enter their sixth year of graduate study are eligible to apply for Dean’s Teaching Fellowships, which are awarded by the Graduate School on a competitive basis. A number of other fellowships and funding opportunities are available at the university library, the writing center, and other units on campus. For a complete list see here

IV. The Doctor of Philosophy, PhD

A. Doctoral Candidacy: The Dissertation Prospectus

In addition to the successful completion of all course requirements, departmental examinations and requirements, and teaching responsibilities (items I–III above), the Doctor of Philosophy degree requires: A) entering doctoral candidacy by passing a written dissertation prospectus and an oral defense of it; and B) writing a doctoral dissertation and passing an oral defense of it. Students failing to satisfy these requirements may be eligible for a Master’s degree (see C below).  Beginning with the class of 2017, students must reach candidacy by September 15 of their fourth year. 

In order to be admitted to doctoral candidacy, the student must have completed three years of coursework in residence (including PHIL 700, 777, and JPE 610), for a minimum of 58 credit hours (46 for students admitted with MA transfer credit) met all logic and foreign language requirements, passed the comprehensive portfolio requirement, successfully completed elements 1 and 2 of the Jones Program in Ethics, and submitted a dissertation prospectus acceptable to the faculty.

The student must successfully defend his/her dissertation prospectus during the sixth semester. Students who do not successfully defend a dissertation prospectus by this time may be: put on probation while they prepare to submit and/or defend the prospectus, directed to a terminal MA degree (see C. below), or recommended to the Dean for dismissal. The decision is determined by majority vote of the department core faculty.

The Dissertation Prospectus. Students prepare a dissertation prospectus in their third year. The choice of the director of the prospectus is determined by the student with the approval of the faculty member concerned. In consultation with the student, the director proposes at least two additional faculty members as committee members to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval. A faculty member from another institution may serve as a prospectus committee member for special reasons, such as the subject matter of the proposed dissertation. This requires the approval of the graduate faculty of the department and the Graduate School. Note that LGS requires that the “Dissertation Committee” form, submitted at the time of the prospectus defense, include no fewer than three Emory faculty members, even in cases where a faculty member from another institution is serving as a prospectus committee member.

When the director and committee members are satisfied with the dissertation prospectus and the research it proposes, the student submits it to the graduate faculty of the department for formal approval. The prospectus is to be presented during the student’s sixth semester, as part of the Dissertation Prospectus Directed Study (PHIL 797r). The prospectus includes a descriptive statement of the problem of the dissertation, an outline of the contents, a timeline for completion, and a bibliography of basic works to be used. The prospectus is normally approximately 10–12 double-spaced pages exclusive of bibliography.

The oral defense of the prospectus is chaired by the director of the prospectus committee. A copy of the prospectus is made available to all members of the department one week or more prior to the defense. All members of the department are invited to attend. The student presenting the prospectus and the members of the student’s prospectus committee are required to be present. An accepted prospectus marks the formal beginning of the student’s dissertation work. Upon acceptance of it, the student enters doctoral candidacy (i.e., is ABD, “all but dissertation”). Students who fail to do this may be eligible for a Master’s degree. Sample successful prospectuses are on file in the department office.

B. The Dissertation: Research and Defense

The Dissertation Committee. This committee is composed of the same members of the graduate faculty who supervised the preparation and successful oral defense of the prospectus. The chair of the committee is the dissertation director (Co-Directors of two Emory faculty members are possible with GSC approval). This committee of three members works closely with the student in the preparation of the dissertation and guides it to completion.

After the successful defense of the dissertation prospectus, the dissertation director (in consultation with the student) proposes two additional people for the dissertation committee. At the director’s and student’s discretion, these additional people may serve as either “readers” (receiving the completed dissertation before the defense and preparing questions about it for the defense) or as “members” in full standing (working with the student in the development of the dissertation prior to the defense). No more than two people on the committee may serve as readers, though no one need do so.

Of the five people on the dissertation committee (whether members or readers): a) one must be from outside Emory Philosophy, either a faculty member at Emory in a program other than Philosophy or a faculty member at another institution regardless of program, and b) no fewer than three must be Emory Philosophy faculty members (not affiliated faculty).

PHIL 799r: Dissertation Research. Upon successfully defending the dissertation prospectus, students in candidacy are enrolled full time for 9 credit hours in PHIL 799r: Dissertation Research. Students in candidacy are automatically enrolled in this course for each semester, including summers, up to and including the semester of their dissertation defense. For further details, see above, “PHIL 599r/799r” in I. Curricular Structure.

Limits on Time to Degree. Any student who has not completed the PhD by the end of his/her 7th year is subject to being dropped from the program. The student and his/her dissertation director may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for a one-year extension on the basis of evidence that the student is making appropriate progress toward the degree and that a completion date has been determined. The petition must include a timeline signed by the student and dissertation director and some explanation for why the student has not completed the degree. The GSC will forward the petition and their recommendation to the Dean of the graduate school who will approve or deny the request on a one-year basis. Only two such extensions can be granted (i.e., 9 year maximum time to completion).

The Dissertation. Dissertations submitted to the department are expected to be 200–400 pages (60,000–120,000 words, inclusive of text, notes, and of bibliography), formatted according to Graduate School guidelines. In exceptional cases, these strictures may be waived by the Graduate Studies Committee, on recommendation of the dissertation director.

The Dissertation Defense. Approximately four weeks before the oral examination the dissertation is made available to faculty members and graduate students of the department. At this time a formal announcement of the examination date, time, place, and title of dissertation is given to all faculty and graduate students in the department and circulated to other appropriate departments and interested faculty. The examination has a public character within the university community and wider community of scholars. In particular, graduate students in philosophy are welcome to attend the examination. The examination itself is chaired and conducted by the director of the dissertation.

C. The Master of Arts

The Philosophy department does not offer a terminal Masters program for entering students. There are, however, two ways in which students admitted into the PhD program may earn an MA: 1) by reaching candidacy en route to the PhD. Conferral of the actual Master’s degree (including transcript annotation), should the student desire it, is dependent upon formal application to the graduate school; see policies/completion.html. Master degrees are not awarded retroactively after completion of the PhD; 2) by completing two years of course work (40 credit hours including PHIL 700 and 777), passing the logic exam, the language exams, the comprehensive portfolios, the Jones Program in Ethics, and then completing a Master’s thesis.

The Master’s thesis. The length of the Master’s thesis is 80–120 pages (24,000–36,000 words, inclusive of text, notes, and of bibliography), formatted according to Graduate School guidelines. In exceptional cases, this limit may be waived by the Graduate Studies Committee, on recommendation of the thesis advisor.

The choice of the advisor of the Master’s thesis is determined by the student with the approval of the faculty member concerned. In consultation with the student, the advisor proposes two additional faculty members as committee members to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval. The Master’s committee is comprised of these three faculty members (there are no “readers”). There is no oral defense of a Master’s thesis, the degree is awarded by majority vote of the committee.

V. General Policy and Procedure

A. Assessment of Progress

Student progress is monitored each semester by the Director of Graduate Studies and reviewed on an annual basis by the Philosophy faculty as a whole. At the end of each semester, the DGS places on probation any student failing to make satisfactory progress in the program requirements for his/her respective semester in the program (see “Probation” below).

Annual Letter. At the end of the spring semester, the DGS solicits comments on each student from all faculty members who have had formal contact with the student (as student in seminar and/or directed readings, advisee, TA, co-teacher, research assistant, etc.) and composes a composite letter on behalf of the faculty as a whole detailing student progress in satisfying the requirements of the program as outlined in this handbook. The DGS’s letter is sent to the student in question after the end of each year and becomes part of his/her permanent file.

B. Probation

Students are automatically placed on probation at the end of any semester in which they have failed to complete the program requirements specified for it in this handbook. Students placed on probation consult with their faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies to devise a plan for completing the outstanding requirements so as to return to good standing by the end of the following semester.

Students who fail to return to good standing after a semester on probation are put up for consideration by the faculty as a whole. By majority vote, one of the following outcomes is decided, whereby the student is: a) granted an additional semester of probation, on the basis of evidence indicating the student will return to good standing in that time, b) placed into the MA program for a terminal Master’s degree (see “The Master of Arts” above), c) directed into taking a leave of absence until such time that he/she can resume in good standing, or d) recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School for dismissal from the program.

C. Grievance Policy

Students who have a grievance related to some aspect of their program in Philosophy should report it to the Director of Graduate Studies. (If the grievance concerns the DGS, the student should report it to the Chair.) The student should describe the grievance and relevant details in a letter addressed to the DGS, who will try, if possible, to resolve the grievance in conversation with the student and relevant parties. If this is not successful, the Director will appoint a committee of three Philosophy faculty members (or faculty members outside the Philosophy if the situation warrants) or use an existing standing committee, who will review the grievance and propose an appropriate response. If it is impossible to resolve the grievance within this committee or within the framework of the Philosophy administrative structure, the Director will forward the grievance to the Office of the Senior Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School. From this point forward, the grievance will be handled according to the Grievance Procedure outlined in the Laney Graduate School Handbook. If the issue is with the Director, the student should go directly to the Senior Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School.

Note that issues of discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct are handled by the university’s Title IX officer in the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Apart from cases of sexual assault, the complainant will have input on the resolution of the case, whether it be handled in a formal or informal manner. For further details see the Laney Graduate School Handbook (under “Honor, Conduct and Grievance” and/or “Selected University Policies: Sexual Misconduct”).

D. “Ten Hour” Rule

The Graduate School prohibits any student on financial aid from working in non-academic work in excess of ten hours per week over and above the normal departmental duties as a graduate assistant. The department fully endorses and supports this policy.

E. Additional Points of Policy

For further policy details, please see the Laney Graduate School Handbook.

VI. Appendices: Comprehensive Portfolio Guidelines and Reading List

A. Comprehensive Portfolio Guidelines

Students will submit a portfolio of papers in four distinct problem areas: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics, and social and political philosophy. Each portfolio will include two papers in these problem areas. Additionally, two of the four portfolios must include a third paper that compares texts and issues addressing two (rather than just one) of these problem areas.

All of these papers must engage material from the reading list (see Appendix B. Comprehensive Portfolio Reading List, below) and treat a question/issue central to the author(s)/text(s) in question. Students must therefore submit a total of 10 papers across 4 portfolios, abiding the following guidelines:

  • One paper in each of the problem areas must treat a single text at length, e.g. Augustine’s Confessions, Hegel’s Phenomenology, and substantially engage at least three secondary sources per paper, i.e. situate itself relative to the position presented in each source. Secondary sources are works that deal explicitly and principally with the primary text in question.
  • The second paper in each of the problem areas must compare two texts by two different authors in the same problem area, e.g. Arendt and Habermas on public reason, or Plato and Hume on the nature of knowledge.
  • Two additional papers must compare texts and issues that address two different problem areas, e.g., the relations between accounts of knowledge and ethical theory in the work of Aristotle and Dewey, or the relations between views of human nature and politics in the work of Arendt. These comparative papers are filed in the portfolio of greatest relevance to their topic (as a third paper in that portfolio).
  • The four portfolios must include at least one paper and not more than three papers from each of five distinct historical periods (as per the Comprehensive Portfolio Reading List below): ancient philosophy; medieval and renaissance philosophy; modern philosophy; 19th century philosophy; and 20th century philosophy.
  • A single paper can only satisfy one area and one period requirement, i.e. a paper on Spinoza and Schelling counts as either a modern philosophy paper or a 19th century philosophy paper, but not as both; a paper on metaphysics and politics in Aristotle counts as either a metaphysics paper or a social and political philosophy paper, but not as both.

Each paper must be no less than twelve pages (3,600 words) in length (double-spaced, standard font, standard page margins).

The faculty will teach some courses that directly deal with reading list texts in each of the four problem areas, and papers written for, or revised from, these courses may be included in student portfolios. However, portfolio papers need not come from any particular graduate seminars or from graduate seminars at all.   

Paper Format: Each paper submitted is to include an abstract summarizing the paper's central thesis and indicating which area the paper is designed to satisfy, e.g. ethics and aesthetics, and which historical period(s) it engages, e.g. ancient philosophy. The texts being addressed should also be named, including approved additions. This abstract is to be found at the start of the paper itself, not on the blind review cover sheet.

Each paper must also include a brief discussion of how the issues treated in the paper engage the problem area, e.g. metaphysics, and close with a discussion of how that paper contributes to the problem area.

Submission Protocol. Papers should be prepared for blind review. A cover sheet should accompany each portfolio with the student’s identifying information and the titles of the papers in the portfolio being submitted. Neither the student’s name nor any other identifying information should appear on the submitted papers themselves. Additionally, identifying information should be stripped from the “Properties” of the electronic file (under the “File” menu in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat). Papers are to be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator, Michael Hodgin, by the due date.

Papers are to be submitted by email to the Graduate Coordinator, Michael Hodgin, by the due date.

Submission Deadlines. Individual papers can be submitted apart from complete portfolios. Four to six papers are due 8/15 at the beginning of the student’s second year. The other four to six papers are due 8/15 at the beginning of the student’s third year.

Grading. Three-person committees staffed by graduate faculty in Philosophy will grade anonymous papers and return them to students by 9/15 of that same academic year. Papers will be graded P or NP on the basis of the accuracy of their explication and the depth of their philosophical engagement with the issue at hand. All papers must pass in order for a portfolio to pass.

Students who do not pass will receive feedback and be provided an opportunity to resubmit by the subsequent 1/15. In any case in which a student’s resubmission does not pass, the full faculty will consider the case and determine an outcome, which could (but need not) include: an additional resubmission by a specified deadline, termination from the program, or other courses of action.

Reading List Additions. The reading list consists of 97 texts, allowing for 18 in each period and 25 in 20th Century. Individual students will also be allowed to propose two additional texts per problem area, with DGS approval. Requests for such individual additions to the reading list must be made before the end of the Fall semester for the January 15th due date, and by July 31st before the August 15th deadline.

B. The Comprehensive Portfolio Reading List

Note: individual students may add two texts to each historical area with approval of the Graduate Studies Committee (see “Reading List Additions,” above).

I. Ancient Philosophy

1. A Presocratics Reader (eds. Curd and McKirahan; Hackett)

2. Plato, Five Dialogues (Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo)

3. Plato, Republic

4. Plato, Symposium

5. Plato, Theaetetus

6. Aristotle, De Anima

7. Aristotle, Metaphysics

8. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

9. Aristotle, Politics

10. Aristotle, Poetics

11. The Hellenistic Philosophers (eds. Long and Sedley; Cambridge)

12. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

13. Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Skepticism

14. Plotinus, The Enneads

15. Tao te Ching

16. Confucius, The Analects

17. Zhuangzi, The Essential Writings (ed. Ziporyn; Hackett)

18. The Upanishads

II. Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

1. Augustine, Confessions

2. Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will

3. Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

4. Classical Arabic Philosophy (eds. McGinnis and Reisman; Hackett)

5. Al Ghazali, Deliverance from Error

6. Anselm, Proslogion

7. Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed (eds. Guttmann and Rabin; Hackett)

8. Aquinas, Selected Philosophical Writings (ed. McDermott; Oxford)

9. Duns Scotus, Philosophical Writings (ed. Wolter; Hackett)

10. Ockham, Philosophical Writings (eds. Boehner and Brown; Hackett)

11. Cusanus, Of Learned Ignorance

12. Pico della Mirandola, On the Dignity of Man

13. Marsilius of Padua, The Defender of Peace

14. Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy

15. Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies

16. Galileo, Dialogues Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

17. Dogen, A Primer of Soto Zen

18. Machiavelli, The Prince

III. Modern Philosophy

1. Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period (ed. Atherton; Hackett)

2. Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

3. Bacon, The New Organon

4. Hobbes, Leviathan

5. Descartes, Selected Philosophical Writings (eds. Cottingham, Stoothoff, Murdoch; Cambridge)

6. Spinoza, Ethics

7. Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics

8. Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding

9. Locke, Second Treatise of Government

10. Hume, A Treatise on Human Nature

11. Smith, Theory of the Moral Sentiments

12. Vico, The New Science (eds. Bergin and Fisch; Cornell)

13. Rousseau, The Social Contract

14. Rousseau, Second Discourse on Human Freedom

15. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason

16. Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

17. Kant, Critique of Judgment

18. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, The Answer

IV. 19th Century Philosophy

1. Fichte, Science of Knowledge with the First and Second Introductions

2. Schelling, Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom

3. Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man

4. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit

5. Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation (ed. Payne; Dover)

6. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

7. Nietzsche, The Gay Science

8. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals

9. Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844

10. Marx, Grundrisse

11. Mill, Utilitarianism

12. Mill, On Liberty

13. Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (2nd autobiography)

14. Emerson, Essays (eds. Ferguson and Carr; Harvard)

15. Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century

16. Thoreau, Walden

17. Darwin, On the Origin of Species

18. Peirce, Philosophical Writings (ed. Buchler; Dover)

V. 20th Century and Beyond

1. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

2. James, Pragmatism

3. Dewey, Experience and Nature

4. Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks

5. Anzaldua, Borderlands

6. Dussel, The Invention of the Americas

7. Black Feminist Thought, 2nd ed. (ed. Collins; Routledge)

8. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

9. Rawls, A Theory of Justice

10. Martinich and Sosa, eds., Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology*

11. Brandom, Making It Explicit

12. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment

13. Habermas, Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 1: Reason & Rationalization of Society

14. Husserl, Cartesian Meditations

15. Heidegger, Being and Time

16. Sartre, Being and Nothingness

17. de Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity

18. Arendt, The Human Condition

19. Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception

20. Foucault, The Order of Things

21. Derrida, Limited, Inc.

22. Levinas, Totality and Infinity

23. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

24. Irigaray, Elemental Passions

25. Butler, Gender Trouble

* This volume is divided into 7 sections with articles by these authors: Philosophy of Language: Frege (2), Russell, Strawson, Grice, Davidson, Kripke, Putnam; Metaphysics: Russell, Wittgenstein, Strawson, Quine, Black; Epistemology: Moore, Wittgenstein, Russell, Chisholm, Gettier, Hempel, Goodman, Quine; Philosophy of Mind: Armstrong, Putnam, Davidson, Nagel, Lewis, Searle; Freedom and Personal Identity: Malcolm, Strawson, Chisholm, Williams, Davidson; Ethics: Moore, Stevenson, Rawls, Anscombe, Foot; Methodology: Langford, Moore, Ayer, Carnap, Austin, Quine, Grice & Strawson, Sellars, Wittgenstein.