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Philosophy, Ph.D.

Saint Louis University's Doctor of Philosophy program is designed to prepare students to enter the field of philosophy as teachers and scholars prepared to engage at the highest levels of philosophical discourse.

Curriculum Overview

Courses in SLU's philosophy graduate program examine historical as well as contemporary issues, such as problems in metaphysics, epistemology, social and political ethics and philosophy of religion, among others.

Graduate Handbook

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Unique resources available to the program include the international philosophical journal Res Philosophica; the Vatican Film Library, one of the finest repositories of its kind in the Western hemisphere; and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

There are regular opportunities to work with eminent visiting scholars, numerous colloquia and conferences, a wide variety of reading groups and opportunities to participate in exchange programs.

Admission Requirements

There are no necessary requirements for acceptance into the graduate program in philosophy. However, a philosophy major is strongly recommended. In general, at least six philosophy courses are expected, including logic and history of philosophy.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Résumé
  • Professional goal statement (including areas of research interest)
  • A sample of your philosophical writing (c. 10-15 page paper).

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Assistantship Application Deadline

Students who want to be considered for a philosophy assistantship must submit their application by Dec. 15.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by a committee of philosophy department faculty members. Consistent with the Council of Graduate Schools' “April 15” resolution, no student will be required to make a final decision to accept or reject an offer of funding prior to April 15.


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,310

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships, Assistantships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for a graduate assistantship, apply by the program admission deadlines listed. Fellowships and assistantships provide a stipend and may include health insurance and a tuition scholarship for the duration of the award. 

Explore Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

  1. Graduates will be able to make a scholarly contribution to the field of philosophy.
  2. Graduates will be able to teach philosophy effectively (meeting expectations on all dimensions of the “Checklist for Review of Graduate Student Teachers”).
History of Philosophy
Select two courses with the "Ancient Philosophy" attribute6
Select two courses with the "Medieval Philosophy" attribute6
Select two courses with the "Modern Philosophy" attribute6
Topics Courses
The 15 credits in the topics area must also be distributed over three of the following four areas:15
Courses with the "Epistemology" attribute
Courses with the "Metaphysics" attribute
Courses with the "Ethics" attribute
Courses with the "Social and Political Philosophy" attribute
Advanced Symbolic Logic
PHIL 6220Advanced Logic *3
Select 9 credits of Electives9
PHIL 6990Dissertation Research (taken over multiple semesters, 12hrs total)0-9
Total Credits57

Professors will specify in which of these four topic areas their courses fall. No course may concurrently fulfill both a history and a topics requirement.

Nine credits of these topics courses must be relevant to an Area of Competence (AOC).


This course, which examines the metatheory of propositional and predicate logic, must be passed with a grade of "B" or higher, and ordinarily is to be taken during the first year of graduate studies. Students who have taken a similar course prior to entering the program may have this requirement waived by the chair of the department, in consultation with the chairs of the department’s graduate admissions committee and graduate logic committee. Alternatively, students may take an exam covering the material of the Advanced Symbolic Logic course. The course requirement would then be waived if the student achieved a grade of "B" or higher on the exam. Students who have this requirement waived will then choose an additional course as an elective.

Non-Course Requirements

  • The dissertation prospectus, to be completed by the end of the sixth semester of study.
  • A two-hour oral examination on the dissertation prospectus covering:during which any aspect of the written prospectus may be discussed and questioned.
  • Proficiency in a foreign language, if required for research.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
PHIL 6400 Ancient Philosophy (See Program Notes) 3
PHIL 6220 Advanced Logic (See Program Notes) 3
PHIL 5300 Problems in Ethical Theories (See Program Notes) 3
PHIL 6450 Medieval Philosophy (Aquinas) 3
PHIL 6340 Advanced Epistemology 3
PHIL 6300 Advanced Ethics 3
Year Two
PHIL 6500 Modern Philosophy 3
PHIL 6260 Problems in Philosophy of Religion 3
PHIL 6000 Seminar in Major Philosopher in Ethics 3
PHIL 6200 Philosophy of Science 3
PHIL 6340 Advanced Epistemology 3
PHIL 6360 Seminar in Political Philosophy 3
Year Three
PHIL 6450 Medieval Philosophy (Ockham) 3
PHIL 5100 Problems in Epistemology 3
PHIL 5980 Graduate Reading Course (Ethics) 3
PHIL 6990 Dissertation Research (See Program Notes) 1
Year Four
PHIL 6990 Dissertation Research 2
PHIL 6990 Dissertation Research (See Program Notes) 3
Year Five
PHIL 6990 Dissertation Research 3
PHIL 6990 Dissertation Research 3
 Total Credits57

Program Notes

By the end of the sixth semester of study, the student should have taken 45 credits of coursework.

By the end of the 10th semester of study, the student must have completed 12 credits in PHIL 6990 Dissertation Research.

For more information about our program, please contact:

Kent Staley, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Department of Philosophy