DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Philosophy > Graduate Programs

Graduate Program

DePaul University’s Graduate Program in Philosophy offers students the opportunity to study the history of philosophy from a broad, though not exclusively, European perspective and to work with some of the leading scholars in contemporary Continental thought, German Idealism, social and political theory, the history of philosophy, and ethics. Our highly innovative MA and PhD programs are designed for students who are interested in reading the history of philosophy extending from early Greek thought, through Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz and Kant, to more contemporary thinkers such as Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Irigaray and Derrida. While focusing on 19th and 20th century Continental Philosophy and the historical sources of these movements, we also provide our students with the necessary background to become conversant with other philosophical traditions and styles. Both the content of our offerings and the style in which we pursue our studies differ from those of most other schools in the English-speaking world.

We emphasize focused research seminars rather than broad survey, research papers rather than exams, guided research with students rather than comprehensive examinations. We prefer close-reading of texts to distant talk, careful and disciplined research to pedagogical rites of initiation. Students are strongly encouraged to refer to texts in the original language, in addition to translations, and are expected to acquire reading abilities in the foreign languages relevant to their research - at least one at the MA level and at least two at the PhD level.

The department offers courses, seminars, mini-courses, directed research and colloquia to stimulate the student’s investigation of various philosophies and philosophical problems. It also stresses faculty counseling so that the program of each student can be tailored to his or her particular needs. Our program includes a regular Graduate Student Seminar, a student-organized forum in which students present papers and discuss their work. In addition, the department hosts a national conference for graduate students each Spring. Graduate students also elect a representative each year to represent the graduate students to the faculty.

The department’s graduate programs seek
1.) to prepare those for teaching and research who have the scholarly competence to pursue academic work culminating in the master’s or doctoral degree; and
2.) to offer to the capable adult whose philosophical goals are non-vocational the opportunity to study philosophy for personal enrichment. In keeping with the interests of its faculty and the need for focus on the graduate level, the department concentrates on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Continental Philosophy and the historical sources of these movements.

Master of Arts

The department offers two programs:  an MA/PhD and a terminal MA degree.  The first is intended for those desiring to complete the doctoral degree. Even students taking a terminal master’s degree can profit from the experience of writing a thesis, however, and upon the approval of the graduate committee this option is open to them. Learn more about the MA and MA/PhD options.​

Doctor of Philosophy

Students are accepted into the MA/PhD program, and are expected to complete their Masters on the way to their doctoral degree.  Students entering with a master's degree may be given credit for their previous studies and this possibility will be discussed at the time offers of admission are made. It is also possible to apply for a terminal MA degree in philosophy, although there is no funding for this course of study and there is no chance of entering into the PhD program after completion of the MA.  The terminal MA degree should be considered only by those not interested in pursuing a PhD in philosophy, but for whom their MA studies would serve as a complement to other pursuits.
The department offers courses, seminars, independent studies and dissertation direction culminating in the award of a PhD in philosophy. While the program touches diverse areas of philosophy, its chief orientation is toward Continental Philosophy, with many members of the department concentrating on issues in ethics and values studies within the tradition or in relation to the broader philosophical tradition.

Most graduate courses are taught in a series of streams organized each year under generic titles, such as German Idealism; Ethics; Society and Politics; or Contemporary French Philosophy. These are all research courses, with no distinction being made between MA and PhD course levels. The expectation is that MA students will pursue the three courses of a stream through the year, unless they can offer convincing reasons for a shift from one stream to another; PhD students, after completion of the MA, are free to move in and out of streams as their research and interests dictate. Learn more about the PhD program.​