Policies and Important Details

  1. The Ph.D. in Philosophy is for students with a background in philosophy. Normally at least a B.A. in Philosophy is required.
  2. To maintain status as a graduate student, registration in each fall and spring semester is required. Otherwise, admission lapses and permission to re-enter must be granted.
  3. Once a student has completed all course and required research credit hours, he or she must enroll in “Research in Residence” status until the degree has been granted. “Research in Residence” status is considered full time enrollment. Time restrictions on obtaining degrees will be strictly enforced and can be waived only by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  4. Upon completing the course requirements and passing the qualifying exams with a grade of 1 or 2, the student has completed the requirements for an M.A. in Philosophy.
  5. Upon completing the course requirements, passing the qualifying exams with a grade of 2, and successfully defending the Ph.D. proposal, the student is eligible for admission to Ph.D. candidacy.
  6. Upon passing the qualifying exams, the student in consultation with his/her selected Ph.D. dissertation committee chair will decide on the dissertation committee members. The dissertation committee will consist of not less than four members, three from the department's graduate faculty, and one from outside the Department. The chair has to be a member of the graduate faculty. The duties of the dissertation committee are:

a. To consult with and to advise students on their research.
b. To meet, at intervals, to review progress and expected results.
c. To read and comment upon the draft dissertation.
d. To meet, when the dissertation is completed, to conduct the final oral examination and to satisfy itself that the dissertation is a contribution to knowledge and that it is written in lucid and correct English and submitted in approved form.

The candidate is well advised to have a final acceptable typescript of the dissertation in the hands of each member of his/her committee at a time reasonably in advance of the final defense of the work.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should have successfully completed substantial undergraduate coursework in philosophy (normally in the form of a major, significant minor, or equivalent coursework in philosophy). The application must include three letters of recommendation from those in a position to comment on a student’s potential for graduate study in philosophy (normally former or current teachers), a philosophical essay (writing sample) representing the applicant’s best work in philosophy, a statement of purpose, and transcripts. Foreign students from non-English speaking countries are generally also required to submit their scores on the TOEFL or IELTS exam (this may be waived in special cases, e.g. for students who have a prior degree from an institution in the US or a degree from an English speaking country listed here).

Advice for Applicants:

1.     The letters of recommendation: Ideally, all of your writers should be philosophy professors who know your work well, and can comment on your achievements and promise in philosophy. You should provide them with your statement of purpose, writing sample, and other samples of your written work in philosophy to help them in writing their letter. 

2.     The writing sample serves as your ‘philosophical audition’: it is our chance to evaluate your philosophical work and abilities first-hand. This should be a substantive and polished paper (ideally: 12-20 pages) on a core philosophical topic, showing your ability to master a topic and contribute to a debate. It is also somewhat helpful if it is in the area of philosophy in which you intend to work. Do not submit writing samples on non-philosophical topics; that will not help your application.

3.     The statement of purpose: Should be no more than 1-2 pages (single spaced), and should outline why you intend to pursue graduate work in philosophy (be specific here: don’t just appeal to love of philosophy, which nearly all applicants share). You should also discuss what sorts of topics and issues you hope to work on, and why you think our department would be a good fit for your interests. If there is anything you think we should know about your academic record that won’t show up in the official documents, this would also be a good place to mention it.

4.     GRE and transcripts: GRE scores are not required. We do not make use of any GPA ‘cut-off’ scores, but rather evaluate applications holistically. With respect to GPA, we are generally more interested in your grades in philosophy courses than in other subjects, and are more interested in recent than in distant past grades. We will also be concerned to see how much academic background you have in philosophy. Students who do not have a major or nearly equivalent coursework in philosophy are generally better off applying to one of the many good free-standing MA programs in philosophy first, and thereafter applying to Ph.D. programs like ours. Official transcrips from all institutions attended are required and should be sent to the Department. A copy of the transcript may be emailed to the department and serve as a place holder only until the official transcript arrives. Official E-transcripts should be sent to philosophy@miami.edu. Otherwise, they can be mailed to the Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, 1252 Memorial Drive, Ashe 721, Coral Gables, FL 33124.

Curriculum Requirements

Students must accumulate a 60 credits in philosophy with satisfactory grades, 45 credits of coursework and 15 credits of dissertation research. At least 21 of the 45 credits must be for courses at the 700 level. At least 27 of these credits must be earned while in residence.

Logic Requirement3
Formal Logic
Ethics Requirement
Select one of the following:3
Ethical Theory
Political Philosophy
Epistemology and Metaphysics
Select two of the following:6
Evidence and Knowledge in Medicine
Mind and Language
Induction, Probability, and Scientific Method
Select one of the following:3
History of Logic
History of Ethics
Presocratics and Plato
Aristotle and Hellenistic Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Early Modern Philosophy
The Phenomenological Tradition
History of Analytic Philosophy
600 or 700 PHI Electives9
700 Level PHI Electives 21
Research Requirement15
Doctoral Dissertation
Post-candidacy doctoral dissertation
Qualifying Exam 1
Language Requirement 2
PHD Dissertation 3
Total Credit Hours60

A comprehensive qualifying exam must be taken. Exams are given the grade of 0, 1 or 2. A student must receive a grade of 2 in order to proceed to the dissertation stage.  The student is provided with a reading list in their intended area of specialization. The student studies the material on the reading list, writes a paper of around 8,000 words on a topic central to this material, writes a dissertation proposal of around 2,000 words, and participates in an oral defense of the paper and proposal as they relate to the reading list


A student must possess the linguistic proficiency required by the proposed dissertation topic. This is determined by the dissertation proposal committee on the basis of examinations or coursework.


Presentation and oral defense of an acceptable dissertation.


Our students will be well prepared to work as professional academic philosophers. They will have broad knowledge of the most important areas of philosophy and its history, and mastery of philosophical methods of argumentation. They will also have detailed knowledge in a particular sub-discipline of philosophy and (where relevant) its relations to other areas of inquiry, preparing them to conduct original research in this area. They will be able to disseminate philosophical knowledge by teaching a wide range of courses at the undergraduate level and specialist courses at the graduate level. They will also be prepared to become contributors to philosophical knowledge by presenting their work at conferences and publishing original research in the form of articles, monographs, and/or books.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate a deep and broad knowledge of the main areas of philosophy and their history, and mastery of philosophical methods.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to teach a wide range of philosophy courses at the undergraduate level, and courses in the area of specialization at the graduate level.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to contribute to philosophical knowledge by writing original philosophical research.