The Philosophy Department offers graduate programs leading to both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, with most students pursuing the latter. The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students for the profession in terms of both research and teaching experience.

The Admissions committee may look at your overall GPA, but will primarily be interested in your grades in philosophy classes. Doing well outside of philosophy might help, if you do well in any area relevant to your philosophical interests. For example, if you're interested in philosophy of physics, doing well in advanced physics courses will help; if you're interested in classical Greek philosophy, doing well in Greek and Latin language courses will help. But since we're primarily interested in your philosophical abilities, your philosophy courses matter more.

The Ph.D. program comprises a core program consisting of basic seminars in logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics, social-political philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy of language, history of ancient, and history of modern philosophy; and a research program consisting of advanced seminars in a wide range of more specialized areas. The Department offers twelve to fourteen graduate courses a year, divided about evenly between the core program and research program.

The Graduate College requires 90 semester hours of graduate credit with at least 45 of these hours completed at UNL. The requirement of 90 semester hours is satisfied by credit hours earned in graduate courses and seminars (at least 54) and an appropriate number of hours (at least 20) in doctoral dissertation hours (Phil 999).

To receive a Ph.D., students must demonstrate competence in each of the core areas. This is usually done by passing a core course in each area with at least a B+.  Alternatively, a student may satisfy a core requirement by passing an area examination in a core area with a grade of B+ or better. These examinations are graded by the appropriate area committee. Core examinations can be repeated only under special circumstances and with permission of the Graduate Committee.

Courses taken to satisfy core requirements are normally completed in the semester in which they are taken. A student who takes a course to satisfy a core requirement, but does not receive a grade of at least B+, may request a grade of 'Incomplete'. This request will be granted if the Incomplete replaces a grade of B in the course, and otherwise only at the option of the instructor. Students will normally remove an Incomplete in a core course by retaking the course the next time it is offered.

Normal Progress
Graduate Teaching Assistants usually take three courses per semester. In their first year, students typically take four basic seminars, including one or two in the history of philosophy, and two research seminars. In their first two years, students normally complete all of the core requirements, most of the research area requirements, and submit at least one research area paper for review. Students normally complete all course work and satisfy all requirements other than the dissertation by the end of their third year. Work on the dissertation begins in the first semester of the fourth year and is normally completed in five years. Students who have completed an MA in philosophy elsewhere are able to accelerate this schedule up to a year.

The Philosophy Department currently has 13 regular faculty members, several visiting or adjunct faculty members, and approximately 30 graduate students in residence. The research and teaching interests of the faculty span all the major subject areas of philosophy (ethics, epistemology, history of philosophy, logic, and metaphysics), and many of the important specialties (including aesthetics, philosophy of language, philosophy of law, philosophy of mathematics, and political philosophy).

More about particular faculty

Computers and printers are available for graduate student use. Office space is provided for students holding teaching assistantships or fellowships. A comfortably furnished common room housing a variety of philosophical journals, books, computers and printers provides a study area for students and a setting for faculty-student interaction outside the classroom.

Graduate Student Handbook 

More information about applying to the philosophy graduate program

For further information about the graduate program in philosophy, contact:

Reina Hayaki, Admissions Chair
Department of Philosophy
1039 Oldfather Hall
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0321
PHONE: 402-472-2031
FAX: 402-472-0626