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PhD Requirements, 2010-2011

The requirements for the Ph.D. in Philosophy are designed to provide broad knowledge of the main areas of philosophy and to develop the ability to do philosophical research. Students should be able to finish the program in five years.

Requirement Overview:

  • 14 seminars satisfying distribution requirements, passed with a letter grade of at least a B
  • An overall average of at least B+ in these 14 seminars
  • 2 additional seminars that are audited
  • 24 credits of "Research In Philosophy" following the completion of 48 credits of coursework
  • Dissertation proposal defense
  • Dissertation seminar
  • Dissertation (including oral defense)

Distribution Requirements:

  • Pro-Seminar (Fall of first semester)
  • At least one 500-level seminar in each semester of the first year (in addition to the pro-seminar)
  • Two history seminars (typically, one pre-modern, one early modern)
  • One advanced logic course (e.g., philosophically useful logic, set theory)
  • One ethics course (normative ethics or metaethics)
  • Three seminars selected from three of the following subjects: (i) philosophy of mind, (ii) philosophy of language, (iii) metaphysics, (iv) epistemology, (v) social, political, or legal philosophy, and (vi) philosophy of science

 New Distribution Requirements (changes in italics)

Distribution Requirements:

  • Pro-Seminar (Fall of first semester)
  • At least one 500-level seminar in each semester of the first year (in addition to the pro-seminar)
  • Two history seminars (typically, one pre-modern, one early modern)
  • One advanced logic course (e.g., philosophically useful logic, set theory)
  • One value theory course (normative ethics, metaethics; aesthetics; social, political, or legal philosophy; or applied issues in these fields)
  • Three seminars selected from three of the following subjects: (i) philosophy of mind, (ii) philosophy of language, (iii) metaphysics, (iv) epistemology, (v) one course in value theory, typically in a sub-area distinct from that taken to satisfy the value theory course, and (vi) philosophy of science

Students starting the program on or before fall 2010 may choose which requirements to satisfy; students starting fall 2011 or after must satisfy the new requirements.

Types of Seminars:
All 500-600 level courses are considered seminars.  500-level seminars presuppose less knowledge of their subfield and often cover a larger range of topics. A few 500-level seminars are designated surveys; they provide even greater breadth of coverage. The 600-level seminars are usually quite narrowly focused on a specific area of research. 500-level seminars require three or more shorter papers or tests; a final paper longer than 15 pages is not required, and writing assignments will generally be considerably shorter than that. 600-level seminars almost always require substantial research papers.


Some seminars can be taken at either the 500- or 600-level. Instructors will expect more advanced research from those students taking such a course as a 600-level seminar. They may establish a different timetable for completion of coursework by students enrolled at different levels.


With permission of the Graduate Director, students may take courses at other universities (there is a regular exchange with Princeton, NYU, Columbia and CUNY Graduate Center). With the approval of the Graduate Director, students may also receive credit for graduate courses taken prior to admission to the program (transferring no more than 8 courses, or 24 credits).


Pro-seminar:
The pro-seminar is a seminar in the history of analytic philosophy taken by all students in the Fall semester of their first year. Its aims are (i) to provide the background needed to understand several important contemporary debates, (ii) to introduce a number of widely used conceptual tools and argumentative strategies, and (iii) to provide a seminar setting in which class discussion is guaranteed not to be dominated by more advanced graduate students and professors.


Introductory Logic Requirement:
It is expected that most incoming students will have taken symbolic logic courses that include translations between English and propositional and predicate logic, proof techniques (e.g., natural deduction or truth trees), and the basic concepts of metalogic (e.g., soundness and completeness). First year students without appropriate undergraduate coursework must demonstrate competence in these areas by the end of Fall semester, either by taking an exam, by enrollment in a logic course, or by other arrangement with the director of graduate studies.


Timetable for Satisfactory Progress:

  • First Year: At least 6 Rutgers courses taken and coursework completed on schedule.
  • Second Year: At least 12 courses taken and coursework completed on schedule; at least six of these courses must be seminars that include substantial research papers.
  • Third Year: All course requirements completed by end of grading period, Spring semester.
  • Fourth Year: Dissertation proposal accepted by March 15.

Dissertation Proposal Defense:
The student forms a pre-dissertation committee of three members, to be approved by the director of graduate studies. With their guidance, the student selects a dissertation topic or project and can either write a review of literature relevant to that topic or a first chapter of the dissertation. After having also written a dissertation proposal, the student then meets with the committee for a proposal defense. Upon approval of the proposal by the committee the student advances to candidacy.


Dissertation Seminar:
A dissertation seminar is offered in the Spring. Before actively pursuing a full-time teaching position, students are expected to enroll in the dissertation seminar at least once, but may take it as often as they like while writing the dissertation. Each week, the seminar will focus on a chapter from a different student's dissertation. Although the faculty member leading the discussion and the other participants may not be experts in a given student's field, they will be able to provide useful feedback of other sorts. The main goals of the seminar are: (i) to help students learn to write more clearly and (insofar as the subject matter allows) simply; (ii) to promote facility in explaining the central ideas of their research to philosophers who are not working in their area; and (iii) to convey general departmental and university expectations about the structure of a dissertation.


Dissertation:
The student forms a dissertation committee (approved by his or her advisor and the director of graduate studies) consisting of at least three Rutgers philosophers (at least two of whom must be regular members of the department; others may be associates of the philosophy department based in another Rutgers department such as linguistics, psychology, or classics); students are strongly encouraged to include additionally a committee member from another university. The dissertation is a substantial piece of research. It may consist of a number of papers on related issues, together with an introduction that describes the ways in which the topics of the papers are interconnected or linked with broader problems; or a more sustained book length treatment of a single issue. The dissertation must be successfully defended (all members of the committee must accept it).


Requirements for Students in the Cognitive Science Program:

  • 12 courses in philosophy completed with a letter grade of B or better, and overall average (including all courses taken toward degree) of B+ or better
  • Distribution requirement:
    • Pro-Seminar (Fall of first semester)
    • At least one 500-level seminar in each semester of the first year (in addition to the pro-seminar)
    • Two history seminars (typically, one pre-modern, one early modern)
    • One advanced logic course (e.g., philosophically useful logic, set theory)
    • One ethics course (normative ethics or metaethics)
    • Two seminars selected from two of the following subjects: (i) philosophy of mind, (ii) philosophy of language, (iii) metaphysics, (iv) epistemology, and (v) social, political, or legal philosophy
    • One philosophy of science seminar
  • 4 courses in cognitive science areas (including the cognitive science pro-seminar) completed with letter grades
  • Completion of a cognitive science project
  • Satisfactory progress is defined as above, except that all course work is to be finished by the end of the first semester of the fourth year of study

 

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