Saint Louis University

Philosophy | Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Graduate Program offers a range of courses in the history of philosophy with principal emphases in ethics, social and political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, medieval philosophy and philosophy of religion. Special resources available to the program include: the international philosophical journal, The Modern Schoolman; the Vatican Film Library, one of the finest repositories of its kind in the Western hemisphere; the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies; a formal faculty and student exchange with the University of Frankfurt, Germany, for exchange of faculty and students and the James Collins Visiting Professorship through which noted European scholars are invited to teach in the graduate program in the department.

[NEW:] The Personal Potential Index (PPI) is highly recommended to complete your application for admission. Visit SLU's page about the PPI evaluations and requirements or go to The ETS page to learn more about the PPI.

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Application Deadline for Beginning Term The Application Package Apply Online
Fall: Feb. 15 (International: Feb. 15) Transcript(s); Three (3) Letters of Recommendation; GRE G scores; Resume; Writing sample; Professional Goal Statement;
Three (3) Personal Potential Index evaluations is recommended

(Advantages of the web application)
Spring: No admittance
Summer: No admittance
Tel. No.: 314.977.3149
Chair: Rev. Theodore Vitali, C.P., Ph.D.
Admissions Coordinator: Heather Hulsey

Assistantship Application Deadline: February 15

Required Additional Application Materials for International Students

Check our English Proficiency Policy page for specific TOEFL and IELTS score requirements. You may also visit our international prospects, applicants and students page for more information about international application requirements.

Applicant Criteria

  • High GPA
  • Proven skills in Philosophy via GPA in the major/minor, writing sample and testimony by faculty
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL score for International Students

Philosophy Application Review Process

  • Applications are reviewed by committee of Philosophy Dept. faculty members
  • The APA (American Philosophical Association) rules stipulate an April 15 national deadline to make formal offers to Philosophy graduate studies applicants and for those applicants to accept the formal offers to attend

Admission Statistics

  • At Saint Louis University, the Philosophy Department accepts approximately 12-15 students for the doctoral program; it generally funds 5-6 doctoral students. The department accepts approximately 5-6 graduate students for the MA and MA(R) programs, but offers only partial tuition remission when available to MA(R) students.

Rankings/Honors: The Philosophical Gourmet 2009 ranks the SLU Philosophy Department highly in five areas: medieval philosophy, philosophy of religion, epistemology, action theory, and social and political philosophy. | The Philosophical Gourmet 

Credit Hours/Coursework: Fifty-four (54) credit hours of graduate courses are required with the following distribution: twenty-one (21) hours in the history of philosophy (two (2) seminars/courses in the following areas: ancient, medieval, and modern; one (1) seminar/course in contemporary history); fifteen (15) hours in "topics" in three (3) of the following four (4) areas: ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and social and political; nine (9) hours of electives; one (1) course (3 credit hours) in advanced logic; six (6) credit hours of two (2) three-hour reading courses in the topic of the dissertation culminating in the dissertation prospectus. | Graduate Student Handbook (GSH)

Program Description: The doctoral program is designed to prepare students to enter the field of Philosophy as teachers at all levels, undergraduate and graduate, and as scholars prepared to engage at the highest levels of philosophical discourse practiced in the discipline. | Philosophy Graduate Department

Careers Possibilities: Diplomat; Professor; Law; Church ministry; Public Service Official. | Graduate Placement Record 

Curriculum & Program Details: The program of study that you work out with your supervisory committee is to prepare you for admission to candidacy, culminating in a doctoral dissertation which represents a contribution to Philosophy. Instruction examines historical as well as contemporary issues such as current problems in metaphysics, epistemology, social and political, ethics, and philosophy of religion, among others. The historical periods include ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary. | Philosophy at SLU

About the Philosophy Faculty: The faculty of the philosophy department are internationally renowned. | Full-time Philosophy Faculty | Visiting Scholars 

Scholarships & Financial Aid: At present, there are six different forms of financial aid available to graduate students in Philosophy in good academic standing: Teaching Assistantship, Graduate Fellowship, Minority Fellowship, Presidential Fellowship, Dissertation Fellowship and Tuition Remission. | Philosophy at SLU  | Student Financial Services at SLU

Program Highlights: Faculty and student reading groups; colloquia with internationally renowned scholars, particularly the biannual Henle Conference, the Wade Memorial Lecture and the Globalization Conference co-sponsored by the University of Frankfurt; Midwest Epistemology Conference, among others; training in teaching; mock interviews for students entering the job market; portfolio preparation; faculty mentoring. Other on-campus resources include:

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