DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Philosophy > Graduate Program > Philosophy (PhD) > Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The following are the minimal degree requirements. Additional study may be required depending on the student’s academic background and his or her achievement in the program.

Course Requirements 

A minimum of 112 quarter hours of post-baccalaureate credit, including

Of the 64 quarter hours (16 courses) required for the PhD,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

History of Western Philosophy - Modern or Nineteenth Century

Contemporary European Philosophy

Normative Philosophy

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

Competence in two of French, German, Latin, or Greek are required. On approval of the Graduate Affairs Committee, competence in other languages may be used to fulfill the language requirements if deemed appropriate to the research undertaken by the student.  Student must pass ONE language competency exam before SCHEDULING their Dissertation Proposal Defense, and they must pass BOTH language competency exams before SCHEDULING their Dissertation Defense.


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 distributed 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 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:

Other Requirements

  • Students will be required to teach 2 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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