Oct 18, 2021
PhD Degree Program
Program objectives are: (1) development of expertise in the subject matter to teach a variety of undergraduate courses in area of specialization; (2) development of ability to produce original research papers of sufficient quality for presentation at professional meetings and conferences and publication in professional journals, in addition to ability to impart research skills to students at all levels; (3) ability to contribute to philosophical discussions across the subdivisions of the field; and (4) preparation to assume the role of a philosophy faculty member.
The Philosophy Department admits students for the fall semester of each academic year. Information and application forms can be found on the department web site. Applications received after January 5 cannot be guaranteed consideration for an assistantship for the upcoming academic year.
- Fulfillment of university requirements for admission to the Graduate School, including a score on the GRE acceptable to the department.
- The equivalent of the BA degree, usually with a major in philosophy. This must include at least the following courses or their equivalents: intermediate logic, survey of ancient philosophy, survey of modern philosophy, and ethics. Students lacking one or more of these courses may be admitted to the program provisionally, on the condition that they make up the missing course work as soon as possible (graduate credit will not be granted for make-up work).
- Three letters of recommendation, to be submitted by persons competent to judge the prospective student’s ability to undertake graduate work. (These letters are to be sent directly from the referee to the department’s coordinator of graduate admissions).
- Transcripts of prior academic work. Official copies should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. A minimum GPA of 3.00 (on a scale of 4.00) will be expected.
- A 10-20 page writing sample and a 1-2–page statement of purpose should be submitted to the Coordinator of Graduate Admissions in Philosophy.
A student will be retained continuously in the program until completion of the degree providing the following conditions are met:
- All students will be required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5. Should the student’s GPA fall below that mark, a period of one semester will be allowed to correct the deficiency. At the discretion of the chair and the coordinator of graduate studies, this period may be extended one additional semester.
- Students will be expected to demonstrate satisfactory progress in fulfilling the graduation requirements outlined below.
- A minimum of 72 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor’s degree is required. At least 60 hours credit must be at the 7000 level or higher.
- If a student has completed 18 or more hours of graduate credit at another institution, but did not complete the graduate degree, then at most 18 hours of that work may be transferred and applied towards the 72 hours required for the PhD at Memphis. Only graduate hours that relate in content to the graduate program, and that do not exceed university time restrictions can be transferred.
- If a student did complete the master’s degree in another graduate program, at most 30 hours of graduate credit may be transferred and applied towards the 72 hours required for the PhD at Memphis (whether or not that graduate program required more than 30 hours). Consequently, a minimum of 42 hours of graduate credit is required beyond that master’s degree. At least 36 hours of graduate credit must be at the 7000 level or higher. More hours may be required at the discretion of the department’s advisory committee.
- If a student completes the master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Memphis and is then accepted in the PhD program at the university 30-33 hours of graduate credit will be accepted towards the 72 hours required (33 hours in case the student did not take the MA thesis option).
- No more than 18 credit hours of dissertation (PHIL 9000 ) will count towards satisfying the total number of graduate hours required for the PhD. A minimum of 6 hours of dissertation is required for the PhD.
At least 24 credit hours must be earned while the student is in continuous residence in the program.
Core Requirements—Students must take a core of twelve hours in the history of philosophy (at least three in ancient and three in modern), six hours in theoretical philosophy, and six hours in practical philosophy.
- Comprehensive Examinations—The Comprehensive Examinations must be taken no later than the student’s fourth semester in the program. This examination includes a written part and an oral part and covers the primary area of the student’s research interest (i.e., the area in which the student intends to write a dissertation).
- NOTE: It is expected that the doctoral comprehensive examination will be coordinated with the master’s comprehensive examination, so that those whose scores fail to qualify them for advanced doctoral study but are sufficient for the master’s degree may then complete the requirements for a terminal master’s degree.
Research Tool Requirements:
Students must demonstrate sufficient ability in either (a) one natural language relevant to the student’s dissertation area (or two natural languages if the director of the student’s dissertation determines that this additional capability is required for successful research in the student’s area of specialization) or (b) one non-natural language or research tool (i.e.,logic) if such a language or tool is determined to be most useful to the student’s area of research.
- Dissertation Committee—The student must select a dissertation director. The coordinator of graduate studies in consultation with the graduate faculty will select three additional readers.
- Dissertation Proposal Defense—The student will submit a proposal for the dissertation to the committee and defend the proposal before the graduate faculty. This defense will normally occur before the end of the sixth semester.
- Dissertation Defense—The dissertation committee will schedule a defense of the completed dissertation in coordination with the chair and the coordinator of graduate studies. Notice will be given, copies of the dissertation made available, and a public oral defense of the dissertation will be held. Upon approval of the dissertation committee and faculty, the dissertation will be submitted to the Graduate School and the degree awarded.
- Students should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before beginning to write.