Jun 21, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy Major, PhD

Philosophy is an ancient discipline. It pursues systematic rational inquiry into human experience and the broader world. Its main subfields include: ethics, the study of what to do and how to live; metaphysics, the study of the nature of the world; and epistemology, the study of knowledge and understanding of the world. The history of philosophy is also an important subfield. Philosophy pursues its questions with a variety of methods. These have at their core commitment to precise, clear, and careful explanation, argument, and analysis; to the refusal of dogmatism; to ongoing openness to criticism; and to the production of a systematic and accurate view of both ourselves and the world in which we live. The serious study of philosophy broadens intellectual horizons. A PhD in philosophy also prepares students for a career as an academic researcher and teacher.

Campus Code

Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures

  • Admission to the graduate program is decided on a case-by-case basis. The deadline to apply is January 15.
  • An application to our program includes
    • a writing sample of approximately 5000-6000 words,
    • personal statement,
    • GRE scores,
    • transcripts from prior degree programs, and
    • three letters of recommendation.
  • While some prior experience in philosophy is necessary for admission, we are open to applications both with and without prior degrees (MA or BA) in philosophy.

Credit Hours Required

  • Minimum of 72 credit hours after the Bachelor’s or
  • Minimum of 48 credit hours after the Master’s

Required Courses

  • PHIL 600  (24 credit hours)
  • For students with a Master’s, 24 credit hours, or for students with only a Bachelor’s, 48 credit hours selected in consultation with the major professor and/or dissertation committee. These must include
    • the proseminar (PHIL 601 ) and
    • at least one other philosophy course at the 600-level

Additional Course Requirements

  • There are course distribution requirements, to ensure breadth of knowledge across
    • ethics and political philosophy,
    • metaphysics and epistemology, and
    • history of philosophy
    • Please see the department’s graduate student handbook for details of these distribution requirements
    • Prior graduate-level coursework may be used to fulfill these requirements.
    • Courses are selected in consultation with the major professor and/or guidance committee.

Non-Course Requirements

  • Students must normally demonstrate a reading knowledge of one living foreign language in which there exists a significant body of philosophical literature.
    • In special circumstances relating to the area of dissertation research, the Graduate Committee may (i) approve a language that does not satisfy these conditions or (ii) waive the requirement of a foreign language in favor of another appropriate research skill.
  • Preparation and defense of a dissertation