Requirements for the PhD
The University requirement for the PhD is 72 credits. The department requires that 36 of these credits must be obtained by taking 12 seminars (including directed studies) offered by the philosophy department (or an approved seminar offered by another department) passed with a grade of at least B, and the remainder are typically satisfied by dissertation research.
Departmental requirements are fully spelled out in the Handbook of Rules and Policies for Graduate Study in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh (PDF). In summary, these requirements include:
- proficiency in French, German, Greek, or Latin, shown by passing a departmental translation examination
- proficiency in basic and advanced logic, normally shown by passing (with a grade of at least B) PHIL 2500
- proficiency in ethics, metaphysics and epistemology, and philosophy of science
- proficiency in the history of philosophy, shown by doing three units, where a unit is a graduate seminar or departmental examination covering a historical topic
When these requirements have been satisfied, the student is comprehensively evaluated and starts working on a paper to serve as the basis for comprehensive examination, which is the student is expected to take by the end of his or her seventh term. Students who pass this examination are then allowed to form a dissertation committee and to present this committee a prospectus for a dissertation. If the prospectus is approved, the student is admitted to Ph.D. candidacy and proceeds to writing the dissertation. Once the dissertation is approved for examination, the student must pass a final oral exam on the dissertation and their research.
In order to qualify for the PhD, each graduate student must, under the supervision of the faculty, teach or lead discussion sections for at least two different courses. Teaching assistants and teaching fellows satisfy this requirement in the course of fulfilling their teaching duties. Special arrangements are made to enable other graduate students to satisfy this requirement.