College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Philosophy > Graduate Program > Philosophy (MA and PhD) > Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The majority of students will be entering the graduate program directly from the BA and then proceeding through the MA on the way to a PhD. However, in rare cases, where a student has external funding (e.g. a Fulbright scholar visiting from abroad), a student may be admitted for a terminal MA. And also in rare cases, a student will enter the program with an MA in philosophy from another university. For these reasons, we outline the following paths through the program here: MA/PhD, PhD, MA​.1

MA/PhD Course Requirements 

A minimum of 112 quarter hours of graduate level course work (28 courses), including:

  • 104 quarter hours of course work (26 courses)
  • 4 quarter hours PHL 697
  • 4 quarter hours PHL 699

Of the 112 quarter hours (26 courses) required for the MA/PhD, 32 quarter hours (8 courses) must be taken in accordance with the following distribution requirements:

  • Four History of Western Philosophy Courses
    • Two in Ancient or Medieval: 8 quarter hours
    • Two in Modern or Nineteenth Century: 8 quarter hours
  • Two Contemporary European Philosophy Courses: 8 quarter hours
  • Two Normative Philosophy Courses: 8 quarter hours

MA Course Requirements

Of the 48 quarter hours of graduate level course work (12 courses) required for the MA degree, 16 quarter hours (4 courses) must be taken in accordance with the following minimal distribution requirements:

  • Two History of Western Philosophy Courses
    • One in Ancient or Medieval: 4 quarter hours
    • One in Modern or Nineteenth Century: 4 quarter hours 
  • One Contemporary European Philosophy Course: 4 quarter hours
  • One Normative Philosophy Course: 4 quarter hours

PhD Course Requirements

For those given credit for an MA in philosophy from another institution, 76 quarter hours of graduate level courses are required for the PhD, including:

  • 68 quarter hours of graduate course work
  • 4 quarter hours PHL 697
  • 4 quarter hours PHL 699

Of those 68 quarter hours of graduate course work (17 courses), 16 quarter hours (4 courses) must be taken in accordance with the following distribution requirements:

  • Two History of Western Philosophy Courses
    • One in Ancient or Medieval: 4 quarter hours
    • One in Modern or Nineteenth Century: 4 quarter hours
  • One Contemporary European Philosophy Course: 4 quarter hours
  • One Normative Philosophy Course: 4 quarter hours

Course Distribution List

History of Western Philosophy - Ancient or Medieval

Course Title Quarter Hours
PHL 400
SPECIAL TOPICS IN TRADITIONAL PHILOSOPHERS
PHL 410
PLATO I
PHL 411
PLATO II
PHL 415
ARISTOTLE I
PHL 416
ARISTOTLE II
PHL 420
AUGUSTINE
PHL 425
AQUINAS
PHL 500
SPECIAL TOPICS IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

History of Western Philosophy - Modern or Nineteenth Century

Course Title Quarter Hours
PHL 400
SPECIAL TOPICS IN TRADITIONAL PHILOSOPHERS
PHL 434
HOBBES
PHL 435
DESCARTES
PHL 437
LOCKE
PHL 438
LEIBNIZ
PHL 440
SPINOZA
PHL 441
ROUSSEAU
PHL 445
HUME
PHL 500
SPECIAL TOPICS IN THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
PHL 510
KANT I
PHL 511
KANT II
PHL 512
KANT III
PHL 515
HEGEL I
PHL 516
HEGEL II
PHL 517
HOLDERLIN
PHL 518
SCHELLING
PHL 520
MARX I
PHL 521
MARX II
PHL 525
NIETZSCHE

Contemporary European Philosophy

Course Title Quarter Hours
PHL 470
PHILOSOPHY OF WITTGENSTEIN
PHL 535
HUSSERL I
PHL 536
HUSSERL II
PHL 550
HEIDEGGER I
PHL 551
HEIDEGGER II
PHL 552
HEIDEGGER III
PHL 557
TOPICS IN CONTINENTAL PHILOSOPHY
PHL 559
FOUCAULT
PHL 560
THE PHILOSOPHY OF GABRIEL MARCEL
PHL 561
LYOTARD
PHL 565
MERLEAU-PONTY I
PHL 566
MERLEAU-PONTY II
PHL 570
SARTRE I
PHL 571
SARTRE II
PHL 577
DERRIDA I
PHL 578
DERRIDA II
PHL 585
RICOEUR
PHL 586
METAPHOR AND POETIC LANGUAGE
PHL 587
READING LEVINAS I
PHL 588
READING LEVINAS II
PHL 589
PHILOSOPHY, LITERATURE, COMMUNITY
PHL 590
TRENDS IN CONTEMPORARY FRENCH PHILOSOPHY

Normative Philosophy

Course Title Quarter Hours
PHL 443
MEDICAL LEGAL ETHICS
PHL 522
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
PHL 527
PHILOSOPHY, ETHICS, AND ECONOMICS
PHL 591
CRITICAL RACE THEORY
PHL 601
SEMINAR ON AESTHETICS
PHL 629
SEMINAR ON CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS
PHL 640
PROBLEMS IN ETHICS
PHL 641
SEMINAR ON THE CONTINENTAL TRADITION IN ETHICS
PHL 651
TOPICS IN BUSINESS ETHICS
PHL 656
SEMINAR ON SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT
PHL 657
TOPICS IN SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT
PHL 660
SEMINAR IN FEMINIST ETHICS
PHL 661
TOPICS IN FEMINIST THEORY

Additional Requirements

File Paper Requirements

Until all course work is completed, students will be required to submit two file papers per year. These papers will be read by a second member of the faculty who will judge whether the papers meet the standards of the graduate program. The Graduate Affairs Committee will review every student's progress toward the degree once a year, normally at the beginning of the Spring quarter. Students deemed not to be making satisfactory progress may be placed on probation or required to leave the program.

Foreign Language Requirements

The Philosophy Department at DePaul places a very high priority on working in original languages, rather than translations. For PhD students, competence in TWO languages of research are thus required. These are commonly French, German, Latin, or Greek, although competence in other languages may be used to fulfill the language requirements, if it is deemed appropriate to the research undertaken by the student. Prior to beginning preparation to pass a language requirement (by either of the two paths outlined below), the student should submit a short paragraph to the Director of Graduate Studies, to be reviewed by the Graduate Affairs Committee, outlining why the language in question will be important to the student’s future research. The student must complete the requirement for ONE language before SCHEDULING the Dissertation Proposal Defense, and must complete the requirement for a SECOND language before SCHEDULING the Dissertation Defense.

There are TWO ways in which students can complete their requirements: 

  1. They can pass a departmentally administered Language Competency Exam, which are offered just before the start of every quarter. This usually involves asking the student to translate a page or two from a philosophical text in the original language. Past exams can be obtained by asking the Director of Graduate Studies.
  2. Students can also meet their language requirements by taking a certain number of classes in the Modern Languages Department and maintaining a B+ average each quarter. For ancient languages, students must take through the first year (GRK 103/LAT 103) and for modern languages students must take through year two (FCH 106/GER 106/SPN 106/ITA 106). Ask the Director of Graduate Studies for details.

Dissertation

For PhD students, the student must first form a doctoral dissertation committee by filling out the official Dissertation Committee Constitution Form and submitting it to the director at least two weeks prior to the Proposal Defense. If the proposal is successfully defended in the eyes of the committee, and all other requirements have been fulfilled, the student then transitions to ABD status and begins officially working on his or her dissertation. Once the dissertation has been written, the student should distribute the complete and thoroughly copy-edited document to the committee a minimum of one month prior to the scheduled Dissertation Defense, a public oral defense of the completed project before the student's committee members. The doctoral dissertation is ordinarily 200-275 pages, including scholarly apparatus.

Graduate Certificate in Bioethics

The Graduate Certificate in Bioethics is an option for doctoral candidates in Philosophy who want (a) to cultivate their ability to engage in critical analysis of bioethical issues, and (b) to train to teach bioethics, biomedical ethics, or medical ethics to a variety of different kinds of students.

The Certificate requirements are as follows:

Course Requirements:

A minimum of 16 quarter hours including:

Course Title Quarter Hours
PHL 529THE PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BIOETHICS4
Select three other approved elective courses within the DePaul Philosophy Department’s graduate offerings. The elective can be selected from the following courses:12
PHL 416
ARISTOTLE II
PHL 425
AQUINAS
PHL 511
KANT II
PHL 520
MARX I
or PHL 521
MARX II
PHL 641
SEMINAR ON THE CONTINENTAL TRADITION IN ETHICS
PHL 656
SEMINAR ON SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT
PHL 660
SEMINAR IN FEMINIST ETHICS
PHL 661
TOPICS IN FEMINIST THEORY
Training/Teaching Requirements
  1. Students must participate in the Biomedical Ethics Training Program or serve as a Teaching Assistant for PHL 229 BIOMEDICAL ETHICS with a tenured or tenure-line faculty member. 
  2. Upon completion of the training program or assistantship, students must teach at least two sections of Biomedical Ethics (PHL 229). 

Applicants apply for the Certificate by sending a letter of intent to the Director of Graduate Studies. Applicants agree to make the above required courses part of their program of study for the Ph.D and must maintain a B average in all Certificate courses.

Graduate Certificate in Business Ethics

The Graduate Certificate in Business Ethics is an option for doctoral students in Philosophy who want to gain a competency in business ethics, qualifying them to teach undergraduate and MBA courses in that subject. This Certificate does not require a dissertation in applied ethics. Rather it is designed to give students, regardless of their area of specialization, a strong background in business ethics so that they will be competent and competitive in the academic market, as well as comfortable teaching business ethics both at DePaul and in their academic careers.  

A minimum of 16 quarter hours including:

Course Title Quarter Hours
PHL 527PHILOSOPHY, ETHICS, AND ECONOMICS4
or PHL 640 PROBLEMS IN ETHICS
MGT 500MANAGING FOR EFFECTIVE AND ETHICAL ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR (or another graduate level course in Commerce approved by the Certificate Chair)4
PHL 641SEMINAR ON THE CONTINENTAL TRADITION IN ETHICS4
Select one other approved elective course within the DePaul Philosophy Department’s graduate offerings. The elective can be selected from the following courses:4
PHL 437
LOCKE
PHL 441
ROUSSEAU
PHL 520
MARX I
or PHL 521
MARX II
PHL 559
FOUCAULT
PHL 651
TOPICS IN BUSINESS ETHICS
PHL 656
SEMINAR ON SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT

Other Requirements

  • Students will be required to teach two Business Ethics courses (this could be in the Department of Philosophy, the Religious Studies Department or in a Management Department at DePaul or in other area universities.) Given that many PhD students in Philosophy are required to teach, this is not always an additional teaching requirement. 
  • Attend and participate in at least one professional conference or complete an internship in applied ethics. In terms of Conferences, students will have to present a paper at the annual meeting of the Society for Business Ethics or the annual Vincentian conference on Business Ethics. (Expenses will be covered by the Institute for Business and Professional Ethics.) A publishable paper would be the optimal goal. In terms of internships, such opportunities will have to be directly related to Business Ethics, Sustainability or Societal Justice. This will be approved by the Certificate Chair in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Applicants can apply by sending a letter of intent to the Certificate Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies. Applicants must have at least a B average and will agree to make the above required courses as part of their program of study for the PhD.​​​

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