Philosophy Department Graduate Student Handbook

Department of Philosophy


(revised 2/1/18 & 1/22/21 & 5/11/21))

Note: This revision includes several substantive revisions to the requirements for the Ph.D. adopted by the philosophy faculty in January of 2018. Students who entered the program before 2/1/18 have the option of completing the program under the requirements of the previous handbook or completing the program under the requirements specified in this handbook.

Note: This revision also includes some minor revisions (concerning courses meeting the 800-level history and M&E requirements) adopted by the philosophy faculty in January 2021.

Note: This revision also includes minor changes to the M.A. program requirements in light of changes made to Grad Studies policies.


The UNL Department of Philosophy grants both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy. This Handbook describes the requirements for both programs and includes other useful information. It supplements the requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies, which are outlined in the Graduate and Professional Catalog.


The department Graduate Committee oversees the graduate program and includes the Graduate Chair. The Graduate Chair is normally also one of the graduate advisors; other members are appointed by the Department Chair. Only the Graduate Committee may waive or amend departmental requirements.

Area Committees for the various major sub-areas of philosophy are annually appointed by the Department Chair in consultation with the faculty. They normally include the continuing faculty teaching relevant core courses in the current or previous academic year.

Ph.D. students establish a Supervisory Committee, by the second semester of their third year. This committee consists of a chairperson, at least two department members and one faculty member from outside the department. This committee advises the student concerning his or her program and functions as the student’s dissertation committee. The student is free to ask any member of the graduate philosophy faculty to be the chairperson (supervisor), and the chairperson and student together determine the rest of the committee with the concurrence of the Graduate Committee.


Students entering the program with graduate work in philosophy at another institution may transfer up to eighteen hours of seminar course credit, as determined by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the student and the Graduate Committee. Since the number of hours of transfer credit is relevant to the conditions for normal progress, in many cases decisions on transfer credit may lead to setting a four-year goal for normal progress through the doctoral program. Students who come in with transfer credit they think they will want to transfer should meet with the graduate advisor and draw up a plan for transferring courses. This should then be put in the student’s file. Actual transfer is done on the Program of Studies form by the student’s Supervisory Committee by the end of the third year.


All students without a Supervisory Committee should meet with the Graduate Advisor before registering for courses. Once the Supervisory Committee has been formed, the student should consult the chairperson of that committee for advising.



The Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) 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 12) in doctoral dissertation hours (Phil 999).


Only graduate courses passed with a grade of B or better count in fulfillment of course requirements. Grades of B+ or higher are required in courses counting for core requirements and research seminar requirements.


There is no general language or research tool requirement. However, a student’s Supervisory Committee may require either reading ability in a foreign language or study in other departments if it determines that such ability or study is central to the student’s dissertation research.



The core requirements ensure that students possess a broad understanding of the central areas of philosophy and of the history of philosophy. Core courses are designed with the goal of providing an appropriate background for more advanced work and should (if possible) be taken early in a student’s career.


To receive a Ph.D., students must demonstrate competence in each of the core areas. This is usually done by passing the required number of core courses in each area with at least a B+. Alternatively (and rarely), 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.

Core areas and courses

Metaphysics & Epistemology (take 2 of 6)

  • 805: Philosophy of Language
  • 809: Theory of Knowledge
  • 814: Philosophy of Mind
  • 817: Philosophy of Science
  • 818: Metaphysics
  • 820: Philosophy of Social Science

Value Theory (take 1 of 1)

  • 823: Advanced Ethics

Logic (take 1 of 2)

  • 811: Formal Logic I
  • 812: Modal Logic
  • Note: 812 hasn’t been taught for many years and there are no plans to offer it anytime soon, so students should take 811 when it is offered.

History of Philosophy (take 1 of 4)

  • 850: Ancient Philosophy
  • 860: Modern Philosophy
  • 871: Kant
  • 880: Classical German Idealism

In any three-year period, the Department tries to offer core courses sufficient for completion of core requirements. The course numbers for Core courses may be subject to change. For instance, the Value Theory Core might be taught as a 900-level course. If so, the advertised course description will clearly indicate that the course is a Core course, not a research seminar, and the Department Administrator will record that the course taken was a Core course, not a research seminar.

Examination periods

Core examinations may be taken by arrangement with the relevant area committee.



The research seminar requirements aim at providing students with the skills needed for carrying out research in the main areas of philosophy. In general, students will take about half of their graduate courses at the research seminar (900) level.

Course requirements

Students must pass with a grade of B+ or better at least one research seminar (i.e. course at the 900 level) in each of these three areas:

  • epistemology/metaphysics
  • value theory
  • history of philosophy

The instructor of the seminar determines which area it falls in. Because the content of seminars changes, the area can change, but graduate seminars usually fall in these areas:

  • epistemology/metaphysics: 903, 905, 913, 914, 915, 917, 923, 957
  • value theory: 920, 921, 925
  • history of philosophy: 950, 951, 952, 960, 971, 955


In order to advance to candidacy, students must write a paper of sufficiently high quality within their intended area of specialization. (This is normally done as a student nears completion of the coursework requirements outlined above or soon after completion of those requirements – usually at the end of the third year or early in the fourth year. As noted below, passing the Advancement Paper by the 30th of September in the fourth year is a necessary condition for making normal progress.) The paper must be orally defended before the student’s Supervisory Committee. (In arranging the oral defense, student should ensure that faculty members have enough time to read the paper before the defense.)

The Advancement Paper constitutes the Department’s written comprehensive exam (which is required of all Ph.D. programs at the university) and indicates that a candidate is ready for dissertation work. Specific requirements and expectations governing the paper are to be communicated to the student by the Chairperson of his or her Supervisory Committee. Once the Supervisory Committee passes the paper, a student will, assuming all other requirements are met, submit the signed "Admission to Candidacy" Form to the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS). That form is available here: Doctoral Candidacy


Starting in their fourth year, every funded graduate student is required to attend one 998 Dissertation Seminar per academic year that it is offered. The seminars are 3 credit hours each. Funded 4th+ year students must enroll in the course pass/fail. Unfunded students and Hinman scholars are strongly encouraged to attend, but do not need to register. The purpose of these seminars is to enable students to get feedback and advice from faculty and peers at various stages of the dissertation writing process and related activities. The particular assignments and policies of Dissertation Seminars are determined by particular instructors, which vary from year to year. This requirement is in addition to other course requirements; Dissertation Seminars do not replace any other courses. Exceptions to this requirement may be allowed by a students’ Supervisory Committee, in consultation with the Graduate Committee.



  • Complete a dissertation that satisfies your Supervisory Committee.
  • Pass an oral examination on the dissertation, judged by your Supervisory Committee.

Dissertation supervision and OGS Forms (Years 3-5)

Stage 1: The student consults with a graduate advisor on setting up a Supervisory Committee and selecting a chairperson for that committee. This committee should be formed in a student’s third year of coursework. If transfer credit is used to shorten a student’s program that may push formation of the Supervisory Committee to an earlier time frame.

Stage 2: The student secures the consent of a department member to serve as Committee Chairperson (Supervisor) and they jointly set up the full Supervisory Committee. Supervisory Committees consist of a Chairperson, at least two department members, and one faculty member from UNL but outside the department. An Appointment of Supervisory Committee form for approval of the supervisory committee is available on the OGS website and should be filled out and submitted to make this all official. That form is available here: Supervisory Committee

Stage 3:Very soon after OGS approval of the Supervisory Committee, the student prepares a preliminary version of the Program of Studies Form. (This must be done in the same semester as the Appointment of Supervisory Committee form.) Copies of this preliminary program form are conveyed to all members of the Supervisory Committee. The student may also provide the Supervisory Committee with a dissertation prospectus at the direction of the committee chair. The Program of Studies Form is also available here: Doctoral Committee

Stage 4: The Supervisory Committee then meets with the student and representatives of the Graduate Committee to discuss the program of studies. The Program of Studies Form is then filed with OGS. OGS rules say that this should be done before a student completes enrollment in more than 45 hours of coursework, but we have an agreement with them that we can do this up to the end of the 6th semester.

Subsequent alterations may be made to the program of studies with the approval of the Supervisory Committee and the submission of appropriate paperwork with OGS.

The student arrives at a suitable dissertation topic through consultations with his or her Supervisory Committee, with the concurrence of the Graduate Committee. The student and the Supervisory Committee should also discuss the format of the dissertation (e.g., whether it will be a sustained work on one topic, or a collection of three related papers). Substantial changes in the dissertation topic or format must be agreed upon between the student and his or her Supervisory Committee, with the concurrence of the Graduate Committee.

Stage 5: After satisfying all core and research seminar area requirements, and passing the advancement-to-candidacy paper, and completing the foreign language or research tool requirement (if any), the student may apply for formal admission to candidacy by completing and filing the Application for Admission to Candidacy Form with the Graduate College. That form is available here: Application for Admission to Candidacy

At this time OGS will check the student's file to determine whether all requirements have been met. Problems identified at this time should be immediately resolved. The notification of advancement to candidacy will include dissertation and graduation information.

Students advanced to candidacy and registered for less than 9 credit hours per semester may be certified as full-time students provided they are working full time on their dissertations. To be granted such certification, a student must file a Full Time Certification Form. That form, which is submitted online, is available here: Full Time Certification Form

Stage 6: At a time agreeable to the student and the committee chairperson students work on the dissertation. Much of the feedback on this work will come from the committee chair but the student should keep other committee members apprised of progress and solicit comments from them on drafts where this would be helpful.

Stage 7: When the student has completed a full draft of the dissertation and the Supervisory Committee Chairperson has agreed it is ready to submit, it is distributed to all committee members. The two members who are readers will have at least four weeks prior to a (possibly informal) Supervisory Committee meeting to read the draft. Committee Members shall then decide whether it is suitable for the Ph.D. with at most minor revisions. If it is, an oral defense may be scheduled. Otherwise, the Supervisory Committee advises the student how to advance the dissertation to a state suitable for the Ph.D. When revisions are completed, this stage is repeated.

At the start of the semester of intended graduation, students should complete the Application to Graduate Form in My Red and submit Hooding Participation Form to the Doctoral Specialist.

More information, and the relevant forms, can be found here: Application to Graduate

Oral defense

When the Supervisory Committee has approved the dissertation, it is brought to OGS in final form (as specified in the dissertation instructions) with a completed Oral Examination Form three weeks prior to the oral defense. (The previous link will also take you to this form.) The readers must have approved the dissertation prior to its acceptance by OGS. All materials for the Oral Examination and graduation are given to the student at the time of this filing.

The oral defense must be announced before it is held. Interested faculty must have enough time to read the dissertation before the defense. Within reasonable limits, it must be scheduled so that all interested faculty can attend.

All faculty are invited to attend and participate in the oral defense. But only the members of the Supervisory Committee decide whether it passes. If a majority of the committee votes not to pass it, then the committee may schedule another oral examination. If they vote to pass it, then they may take a second vote to make the pass conditional on changes that can be completed within a reasonably short period of time (no more than four weeks).

If the dissertation passes, members of the Supervisory Committee will fill out the Report of Completion Form. That form, along with information about the final formatting and depositing of the dissertation, can be found here: Report of Completion


We recommend that all students without a Master’s degree in philosophy do the necessary paperwork to get one by the end of their second year. This will be useful for those seeking outside teaching opportunities before completing the Ph.D.


As of August 2021, students may choose one of the two options listed for completion of the Master's degree. Philosophy students pursuing the Ph.D., but getting an en route M.A., almost always pursue Option B (the non-thesis option).

Option A

  • Thesis required. 
  • Minimum of 30 credit hours, including 6-10 credit hours of thesis, passed with a grade of B or higher.
  • At least 8 credit hours, excluding thesis, must be in graduate-only courses (900-level).
  • May include a minor of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department.
  • No more than 9 of the 30 credit hours may be taken outside the department.
  • Two of the following Core classes are passed with a grade of B or higher: 805, 809, 814, 817, 818, 820, 823, 811, 850, 860, 871, 880.
  • Written Comprehensive Examination (Please discuss the requirements for, and scheduling of, the written comprehensive exam with the Graduate Chair.)

Option B

  • Thesis not required.
  • Minimum of 30 credit hours, passed with a grade of B or higher.
  • At least 15 credit hours must be graduate-only courses (900-level).
  • May include a minor of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department.
  • No more than 9 of the 30 credit hours may be taken outside the department.
  • Two of the following Core classes are passed with a grade of B or higher: 805, 809, 814, 817, 818, 820, 823, 811, 850, 860, 871, 880.
  • Written Comprehensive Examination (Please discuss the requirements for, and scheduling of, the written comprehensive exam with the Graduate Chair.)


Forms are available on the Graduate Studies Webpage

The official requirements and deadlines for these forms are also available on the Grad Studies webpage. Please consult that page, rather than this Handbook. But here are some forms that you will have to fill out, and some relevant information:

Memorandum of courses form

A student cannot file a Memorandum and graduate in the same semester or summer. Please take care to fill out this form out the semester before the semester in which you intend to graduate.

Any changes to the Memorandum after filing in Graduate Studies are submitted in writing as a memo/email from the student's advisor to the Master's Programs Coordinator, outlining the additions, deletions, or substitutions. Changing the Option may or may not be possible.

For full policy, see Master's Degrees in the Graduate Catalog.

Final Examination Report

Masters Final Exam

Application for the degree

An application for the degree ($25) must be filed at the Office of Registration and Records, the semester that the student intends to receive the degree. It is the student's responsibility to find out the deadline date at the beginning of each semester and file the application before that date. This application is effective during the current semester only, and must be renewed at the appropriate time if requirements for graduation are not completed until a later semester.

This form should be made available to you in MyRed. (Note that if you pursue Option A – the thesis option – there are additional forms and fees related to the submission of the thesis. Please consult the Grad Studies webpage for more information.)


Teaching assistantships are awarded to new students on the basis of undergraduate or previous graduate performance and promise for success in graduate studies. For students already in the program but as yet without assistantships, awards are made on the basis of performance and promise, as positions become available.

Teaching assistantships are renewed on the basis of both academic performance and skill in carrying out teaching assistant duties. If those duties are competently carried out, then normal progress, as described below, will ordinarily be sufficient to assure renewal of funding for up to three years. If a student has not received other financial aid, normal progress will ordinarily be sufficient to assure renewal for an additional fourth year. Whenever possible the department will renew for an additional year the teaching assistantships of students who demonstrate substantial progress on their dissertation in their fourth year of support.

Decisions on the award and renewal of teaching assistantships are made in February. Applications for assistantships should be conveyed to the Graduate Advisor by February 1. (In some cases, the deadline may be earlier. If so, students will be notified.) Applicants will normally be notified of department decisions by April 15.

First-year teaching assistants may be expected to attend a TA orientation session during the week prior to the fall semester.

Teaching assistants are responsible, in the performance of their duties, to the faculty member(s) of the course(s) to which they are assigned. The faculty are to provide instruction in teaching, student consultation, and grading—especially to new assistants. Teaching assistants assigned their own classes in the evening or summer programs are expected to meet ordinary department standards for good teaching.

Each faculty member assigned a teaching assistant will write a letter evaluating the teaching performance of his/her TA(s). One copy of this letter will go to the TA. Another will be placed in the student’s file to use for advising and placement purposes.

A teaching assistant may be relieved of his or her position at the end of any semester for an exceptionally poor academic performance, or at any time for seriously deficient teaching performance. If you, during the course of the semester, decide to leave the position, it is expected you will give 30 days notice. Likewise, if there is a need to terminate your assistantship, you will be given 30 days notice. You should be aware, that if you terminate your assistantship before completing 120 continuous days of the appointment, you will become responsible for the complete semester's worth of tuition and health insurance fees.



Students entering the program without transfer credit normally take and complete three classes per semester in their first six semesters. The fourth year normally includes work on the dissertation, and may include one or more seminars. Students with TA-funding should use any tuition credits they have, though to avoid an overload of classes some of them may have to be taken as dissertation hours.

To maintain normal progress students (with no entrance deficiencies or transfer credit) must complete the following:


Normal progress course requirements

  1. Pass all core requirements within the first three years (six semesters), each with at least a B+. Given that core courses are on a three-year rotation, students should take the Value Theory and Logic courses when they are offered. In general, students should aim to complete the core requirements early in their programs.
  2. Take three graduate philosophy courses per semester until completion of program of studies.
  3. Satisfy the research seminar requirement by the end of the third year (sixth semester).
  4. Maintain a GPA of at least 3.33 overall.
  5. Maintain a GPA of at least 3.33 over the previous two semesters.
  6. Have no incompletes except in Philosophy 999. The faculty will normally treat a student meeting all the other requirements but with no more than one non-999 incomplete as meeting normal progress.

Normal progress advancement to candidacy

  • Students should submit both their Supervisory Committee and Program of Studies forms to OGS by the end of the third year.
  • Submit and successfully defend the advancement-to-candidacy paper by 30 September of the student's fourth year.

Normal progress dissertation requirements

  1. Complete at least a substantial portion of a dissertation by the end of the student's fourth year.
  2. Complete a dissertation by the end of the student's fifth year.

Normal progress GPA requirement

Grade point averages for purposes of normal progress are computed on grades reported to the department with the following numerical values: C (2), C+ (2.33), B- (2.67), B (3), B+ (3.33), A- (3.67) and A or A+ (4).

Annual spring financial aid meeting

Financial aid for the subsequent year is decided in the spring, usually early February. The normal progress criteria will be applied to each class of students in the following way:

First-Year Students

  • One core requirement passed (B+ or better).
  • In position to pass a second core requirement by the end of the semester.
  • No incompletes.
  • 3.33 or higher GPA in first semester.

Second-Year Students

  • Three core requirements passed (B+ or better).
  • In position to pass remaining core requirements by the end of the semester.
  • No incompletes.
  • 3.33 or higher GPA overall.
  • 3.33 or higher GPA over previous two semesters.

Third-Year Students

  • All core requirements passed (B+ or better).
  • No incompletes other than in Philosophy 999.
  • 3.33 or higher GPA overall.
  • 3.33 or higher GPA in previous two semesters.
  • In position to have passed (B+ or better) research seminars in each research area by the end of the semester.

Fourth-Year Students

    All core requirements passed (B+ or better).No incompletes other than in Philosophy 999.All research seminar area requirements passed (B+ or better).All classes completed.Advancement Paper passed.Substantial work on dissertation completed.

Whether a student is “in position” to pass a requirement is ordinarily based on work in progress, e.g., the student is currently enrolled in an appropriate seminar and performance in that seminar is of a kind supportive of a grade of at least B+.


Students should be familiar with the discussion of academic dishonesty in section 4 of the Student Code of Conduct, which explains some types of academic dishonesty and the penalties for it. Besides the types of academic dishonesty listed there, the Department regards as cases of academic dishonesty:

  • submitting a paper to satisfy course requirements which has been submitted in another course here or elsewhere, without permission from the instructor.
  • quoting words from another person without properly acknowledging the source and placing them in quotation marks or block quote format. Students sometimes inadvertently plagiarize because of the way they take notes.
  • Any instructor who discovers that a Philosophy graduate student has engaged in academic dishonesty must report it in writing to the Graduate Advisor, and give a copy of that report to the student. That report becomes part of the student’s permanent record. Instructors may require that this report be sealed, and opened only if a second incident is reported to the Graduate Advisor, or with the instructor’s permission. Students who dispute a faculty member’s or committee’s claim that they have engaged in academic dishonesty, may appeal it. They must use the procedure established in the Student Code of Conduct, or (where the procedure isn’t applicable) to the Graduate Committee.

Academic dishonesty can have serious consequences. Besides penalties for the course for which the work was done, academic dishonesty may result in a student’s losing financial aid, being placed on probation, or being dismissed from the program.

Decisions about programmatic sanctions are made by the Graduate Committee, and may be appealed by the student to the entire Department.



Graduate students should use this procedure to appeal grades in Philosophy courses, and to appeal any decision by faculty members or committees that their work (e.g. an advancement paper) does not satisfy a departmental requirement. Many of these disputes can be solved informally. We encourage students who have questions to discuss them with the faculty member or committee. If any disagreement remains after this discussion, the student may ask the Department Graduate Advisor or the Department Chair to mediate. The Department Chair and Graduate Advisor can often help resolve the problem by talking with the student and instructor, and may use any informal mechanisms that may help resolve it.

A student may ask the Department Chair or Graduate Advisor to review a case without notifying the faculty member or committee. The Chair or Advisor may tell the student whether they think the student has a prima facie case, if they think doing so is appropriate. They may not contact the faculty member or members in question without the student’s permission.

The Department Chair may change an instructor’s grade only if the Department Graduate Committee or the College Grade Appeals Committee formally decides that it should be changed, except when the Department Graduate Committee cannot meet by the time the decision must be made. In those cases, the Department Chair will use the criteria listed below. The Graduate Advisor may not change a grade.

If a dispute about a grade is not resolved by these informal attempts, the student may submit a formal grade appeal in writing to the Department Graduate Committee. The Committee will examine any relevant evidence it can obtain, and issue a written decision. Students and instructors may appeal decisions of that Committee to the College Grade Appeals Committee. (For information about appeals to the College Committee, one may contact the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.)


Instructors traditionally have a great deal of latitude both in establishing course requirements and in determining how well students have met those requirements. The Graduate Committee will not change an instructor’s grade simply because members of the Committee would have assigned a different grade. Similarly, the Committee will not change a faculty decision that work does not satisfy a departmental requirement simply because members of the Committee would have reached a different decision. The Committee will change a faculty member’s or committee’s grade only if it has clear evidence that the faculty member or committee has acted in an arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise clearly unfair manner. Among the situations that might justify changing a grade are these:

  • changing the grading procedures stated in the syllabus, without giving reasonable notice to students.
  • requiring students to agree with the faculty member’s or committee’s views on controversial topics. (Note: requiring students to defend their views and to respond to questions about them does not constitute requiring students to agree with the faculty member’s or committee’s views.)
  • assigning grades to a student for reasons other than the student’s academic performance in the course.


The student should write a formal description of the situation for the Department Graduate Committee, including:

  • what the faculty member or committee did that led to the appeal.
  • why the faculty member’s or committee’s actions justify the Graduate Committee’s changing the grade (taking account of the criteria listed above.)
  • a phone number and an address at which the Committee can contact the student.
  • any relevant written evidence (which may include the syllabus, exams, papers, and anything else that supports the student’s case.)
  • Students are primarily responsible for gathering relevant evidence, and should ensure that they submit all evidence that helps support their case.

This description can be submitted to the Department Graduate Committee by giving it to a Department Secretary (in 305 Louise Pound Hall), the Department Chair (in 315C Louise Pound Hall), or any member of the Department Graduate Committee.


If any faculty member who is a party to the appeal is a Department Graduate Committee member, the Department Chair will choose a substitute in consultation with the other members of the Graduate Committee. The faculty member will not participate in this decision. The Department Chair will also appoint substitute members to hear appeals if any Department Graduate Committee members are not available.

Students initiate a formal grade appeal by filing a written complaint with the Department Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will provide a copy of the complaint to the faculty member or committee, who may (but need not) file a written response. The Committee will provide a copy of any written response to the student. The Graduate Committee may request information from the faculty member or committee (e.g., the course syllabus). The Graduate Committee will then hold a hearing.

The Graduate Committee will designate one Committee member to prepare a written summary of any evidence offered orally. This summary will become part of the permanent record of the appeal.

The Graduate Committee will, if possible, hold a private meeting with any party to the grade appeals case who requests one. The Committee will designate one Committee member to prepare a written summary of the testimony at any private hearing, will provide copies of that summary to all parties, and will allow responses. All other meetings at which the Committee hears testimony will be open to the parties, and at most one advisor for each party. The Committee may choose whether to allow witnesses to remain through the entire hearing. Other people are permitted to attend only by special arrangement with the Committee.

The Graduate Advisor will ensure that the Committee reaches a decision as quickly after the initial complaint is filed as is feasible and consistent with all parties’ having adequate opportunity to present all relevant evidence.

The Graduate Committee will issue a written decision, summarizing its reasons for approving or rejecting the appeal. Any party may appeal that decision to the College Grade Appeals Committee.

The Graduate Advisor will keep complete records of the appeal (including both its written decision and the evidence submitted to it), ensuring that the record will allow review by the College Grade Appeals Committee, and will provide the record to the College Grade Appeals Committee if the Department Committee’s decision is appealed.


  • Students may examine their files in the main office, except for items to which they have waived their right of access.
  • Students may examine their teaching evaluations in the main office.



In addition to teaching assistantships, the department is sometimes able to fund several graders each semester. Graduate students who wish to serve as graders should contact the department chairperson at the start of each semester.


Summer teaching is often available at rates set either by the Division of Summer Sessions or the Division of Continuing Studies. These assignments are made primarily on the basis of teaching experience and performance. Interested graduate students should contact the Department Chairperson early in the Spring semester.


University funding (e.g., graduate student loans) requires that at least 2/3 of courses taken be passed (grade of at least B as reported to the Registrar). Incompletes count as courses taken but not passed.


A variety of competitive fellowships are available through the University. Information on these fellowships is available from the Graduate Advisor.


A small amount of funding is available to aid TAs who want to attend a philosophy conference such as the Central Division APA.



Primary responsibility for aiding students in job placement lies with their Supervisory Committees acting in coordination with the Department Placement Director. Students should realize that they are the primary determiners of their own success at finding a job and that going on the job market is a stressful process. Faculty recommenders typically need months of notice and time with a sample of a students work prior to writing recommendation letters. Thus it is important to have substantial work to one’s recommenders by the end of the summer before the term in which one goes on the market.


The department strongly urges the graduate students to maintain their own organization. The faculty is particularly interested in course recommendations which represent the interests of the graduate students as they perceive them, in graduate student evaluations of individual courses, and in evaluations of graduate program design and function.


The Department is fortunate to have funds for an excellent program of speakers from outside the university. Graduate students are welcome and strongly encouraged to attend. The graduate students also present papers to one another on most Fridays when there is no outside speaker. We strongly encourage participation in these sessions as they really help students make philosophical progress.