PhD in Philosophy

Admission Contact Information
Paul Weirich
College of Arts and Science
Department of Philosophy
415 Strickland Hall
(573) 882-6760

Note: Although we award the MA degree, we only admit students to our PhD program (with the MA obtained in the process). Any unusual circumstances regarding failure to meet the minimum requirements should be called to the attention of the director of graduate admissions.

Admission Process

In order to be considered for our graduate program, the following steps need to be completed (including receipt of transcripts and test scores) by January 15th:

  1. Arrange for all relevant official transcripts to be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by your college or university (student copies are not acceptable).
  2. Arrange with Educational Testing Services for your GRE scores to be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies (MU's school code is 6875; philosophy’s department code is 2801). Only electronic scores are acceptable.
  3. International students also should arrange for their TOEFL scores to be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies (MU's school code is 6875; philosophy’s department code is 2801). The minimum required scores are 100 (internet) total with a speaking score of at least 23 (internet). (For more information about scores, see the Office of Graduate Studies' TOEFL policy.)
  4. Complete the basic information in online Graduate Studies application.
  5. Upload a 750-word Statement of Interest to the Supplemental Information section of the on-line Graduate Studies application form. It should explain why are you are interested in graduate study in philosophy at the University of Missouri. We encourage you to address, if you wish, how you can advance the department's commitment to diversity.
  6. Upload a sample of your 15-25 page philosophical writing (e.g., a paper or thesis chapter) to the Supplemental Information section of the on-line Graduate Studies application form. For the sake of blind evaluation, do not include your name on the sample you upload.
  7. In the Recommendation section of the on-line Graduate Studies application form, enter the information for three letters of recommendation regarding your academic potential. You should first obtain agreement from the professors writing these letters. They will be contacted by e-mail to submit their letters electronically. If a professor is unable to send his/her letters electronically, you should still enter all his/her information in the Recommendation section, but you should write “(off-line)” immediately after her name.
  8. A hardcopy of the recommendation should then be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Philosophy University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-4160. Because all other materials are electronic, hardcopies often do not receive the same attention. It is thus in your strong interest to have your letters submitted electronically.
  9. Complete the Department Philosophy application form.

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Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: January 15

  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
100* 600
  • Average GRE scores:
When did you take the GRE? Verbal Quantitative
Prior to August 1, 2011 650 700
On or After August 1, 2011 163 155
  • Eligibility for any graduate work in philosophy requires the equivalent of the following six undergraduate courses in philosophy: formal logic, ethics, ancient philosophy, modern philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics.
  • Deficiencies may be made up after the student is enrolled at MU.
  • Average GPA in the major: 3.9 

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Required Application Materials

To the Office of Graduate Studies

  • All required Graduate Studies documents
  • 3 letters of recommendation (submission through the online application system strongly preferred, but postal mail submission directly to the department allowed)
  • Statement of interest (upload to the online application)
  • Writing sample (upload to the online application)
  • Departmental application (download this from https://philosophy.missouri.edu/grad/graduate-program and then upload to the online application).

To the Philosophy Program

  • GRE score report (electronic only) 

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Qualifying Exam

Qualification for the PhD program is established by a qualifying examination (typically by superior performance on the MA research requirement).

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Graduation Requirements for the PhD

  • 72 hours of course work in philosophy, with at least 42 hours of regular course work.
  • A distribution of graduate courses including an introductory seminar for all first year students, two advanced courses in logic, two courses in the history of philosophy, and one course in each of ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics.
  • A written and oral dissertation proposal requirement designed to ensure the student’s familiarity with the relevant philosophical literature and ability to analyze philosophical issues. A dissertation and a final oral examination on the dissertation.

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