Part Two: The Preliminary Requirement
The Preliminary Requirement for the PhD consists of several
components - the Course Requirement, the Seminar Requirement,
the Distribution Requirement, the Starred Paper Requirement,
and the Area Examination requirement.
8. Course Requirement
Each student in the program must pass fifteen University graduate
level philosophy courses (45 hours) at the 500-, 600-, 700- and
800- level. Philosophy 699 (Master's Thesis) and 899 (PhD Dissertation)
may not be used to satisfy the Course Requirement; at most six
hours of Independent Study may be used.
9. Seminar Requirement
Each student in the program must pass seven University philosophy
seminars, each of which is at the 700- or 800- level. Philosophy
796 and 896 (Independent Study) may not be used to satisfy this
10. Distribution Requirement
Each student in the Program must pass University graduate
level courses in the following fields.
1 Ancient History
1 Modern History
At the beginning of each semester, the GPD will issue a memorandum
to graduate students indicating, for each course scheduled to
be given during that semester, which field, if any, the course
falls under. Independent Study will not satisfy the Distribution
11. Transfer Credit
Graduate level philosophy courses at institutions other than the University and courses in fields other than philosophy may be used to satisfy the Course, Seminar, or Distribution Requirements only with Departmental approval (i.e., in virtue of a vote of the Philosophy Faculty). A course is eligible for transfer only if it was taken while the student was enrolled in a graduate program. Acceptance of non-Departmental courses as satisfying either the Seminar Requirement or the Distribution Requirement is unlikely; it will happen only in exceptional cases. Furthermore, the upper bound on non-Departmental courses accepted as satisfying the Course Requirement is six in the case of a student who had an MA in philosophy at the time of enrolment in our Program; the upper bound is three in the case of those who do not have philosophy MAs; these upper bounds will be reached only in exceptional cases.
The Department will consider requests for transfer credit only from students who have completed at least two semesters in the PhD Program.
12. Starred Papers
A Starred Paper is a substantial work giving solid evidence
that its author is able to do the kind of original research and
writing required to complete a satisfactory doctoral dissertation
13. Starred Paper Day
At the beginning of each semester, the GPD establishes a Starred Paper Day for that semester. Normally, Starred Paper Days fall in November and April. Any student planning to submit a Starred Paper must notify the GPD at least eight weeks before the relevant Starred Paper Day. The notification should state the title of the proposed paper, give a short description of the subject matter, and specify the field of submission.
14. Starred Paper Committees
The SC will establish appropriate Starred Paper Committees for grading Starred Papers. Each Starred Paper Committee consists of three members, one of whom serves as Chair. The student is informed of the membership of the Starred Paper Committee and is required to have at least one meeting with the Chair. Students are encouraged to consult with all three members of the committee prior to submitting the paper. The SC will aim to bring it about that prior to completing the Starred Paper Requirement each student will have been graded by a wide selection of the Philosophy Faculty.
Any student who has properly notified the GPD and has met with the chair of the Committee may submit a Starred Paper on Starred Paper Day. The SC sees to it that all members of the appropriate Starred Paper Committees receive copies of papers promptly after submission.
16. Grades on Starred Papers
(Revised 2012) Each Starred Paper Committee assigns to its paper exactly
one of the following grades: PASS, FAIL, NEITHER-PASS-NOR-FAIL (NPNF).
Within ten school days of Starred Paper Day, the Starred Paper
Committee reports the grade to the SC on the Starred Paper grade
The SC reports each grade submitted to it to the
student in question. Overall grades on Starred Papers are determined
by the following chart.
After consulting with other Starred Paper Committee members,
the Chair of each committee produces a brief written statement
of the committee's evaluation of the paper. One copy of this
statement is given to the student, another is placed in the student's
file together with the paper. Students are encouraged to discuss
their papers with committee members.
17. Starred Paper Requirement
Each student must receive two passes on Starred Papers. The
papers must be in two distinct fields.
18. Area Examinations
(Revised 2007) After selecting the area of the intended dissertation (normally near the end of the fifth semester in the Program) a student may notify the GPD that he or she wishes to take an Area Examination. The SC then forms a suitable Area Examination Committee composed of three members of the philosophy faculty, one of whom serves as Chair. The student and the Committee members then agree on a list of readings in the area of the intended dissertation.
The student then prepares an Area Exam Document of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 words containing summary exposition and brief discussion of the main doctrines and arguments in the area of the proposed exam. The Area Exam Document is submitted to members of the Area Examination Committee, who then may either approve it or ask for modifications. When all members of the Committee have approved the document, the Chair proceeds to schedule the Area Exam.
The Area Examination is an oral exam lasting approximately 90 minutes. Questioning in the exam should be primarily focused on doctrines and arguments discussed in the Area Exam Document. Grading and reporting of grades on Area Examinations follow the pattern of grading and reporting on Starred Papers (outlined above in Section 16).
19. Area Examination Requirement
A student satisfies the Area Examination Requirement if he
or she receives a grade of pass on the Area Examination.
20. Preliminary Requirement
If, by the end of his or her Prelim Decision Semester, a student
has completed all components of the Course, Seminar, Distribution,
Starred Paper, and Area Examination Requirements, then he or
she will be certified as having completed the Preliminary Requirement
for the PhD in Philosophy.
If, by the end of his or her Prelim Decision Semester, a student
has completed all components of the Preliminary Requirement except
for the Starred Paper Requirement or the Area Examination Requirement,
and the student has received a total of three grades of PASS or NPNF on Starred Papers and the Area Examination,
then the Department will consider the case as a whole and either
(a) certify the student as having completed the Preliminary Requirement,
or (b) drop the student from the program, or (c) otherwise resolve
Any student who has not been certified as having completed
the Preliminary Requirement by the end of his or her Prelim Decision
Semester, and who has not been granted an extension permitting submission of another Starred Paper or another Area
Examination, will be dropped from the program.
21. One Pass Rule
Any student who does not receive at least one pass on a Starred
Paper by the end of his or her fourth semester in the Program
will be deemed to be in bad standing in the Program, and the
student may be dismissed from the Program.
22. Two Fail Rule
Any student who receives two fails on Starred Papers will
be deemed to be in bad standing in the Program, and the student
may be dismissed from the Program.
23. Master's Degree
Students in the PhD Program may receive the Master's Degree
upon completion of all components of the Preliminary Requirement
other than the Area Examination, as well as applicable requirements
of the Graduate School.