What will I learn?

With access to top philosophical thinkers, students in the PhD program can earn an interdisciplinary degree that impacts many sectors of the world, including law, medicine, religion and politics.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Philosophy

The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies offers a newly redesigned PhD program that focuses on practical and applied philosophy. General areas of research include ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of law, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion and the history of philosophy. Members of the faculty are involved in interdisciplinary work in a variety of fields and enjoy close ties with the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, the College of Law, and a number of other graduate programs at the university. The ASU philosophy faculty group sponsors an active colloquium series and regular philosophical conferences on diverse topics. The Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics also sponsors a wide range of activities, including large-scale conferences, distinguished visitors and support for graduate study.

The doctoral program in philosophy features a focus on practical and applied philosophy and an interdisciplinary coursework component related to the student's research topic. Practical philosophy includes the fields of ethics, philosophy of law, social and political philosophy, feminist ethics and political philosophy. Applied philosophy includes both the application of theories developed within any of the sub-disciplines of philosophy to everyday problems or phenomena (for example, the application of the philosophy of language in relation to hate speech or the philosophy of mind in relation to computing and artificial intelligence). Applied philosophy also includes the application of research produced by methods used in other disciplines in order to understand and address philosophical questions (for example, the application of data-gathering instruments used in psychology to answer questions in experimental philosophy).

Students may design dissertation projects in any of the major subfields of philosophy. For their interdisciplinary coursework supporting the dissertation project, students might, for example, pursue a certificate in social transformation, gender studies, responsible innovation in sciences, or engineering and society, etc. The program is designed to prepare students for careers as philosophers, as teachers of philosophy, and in areas in which they may benefit from advanced training in philosophy, such as law, civil service and publishing).

Degree Requirements

84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

Required Core Areas (18 credit hours)

applied philosophy (3)

epistemology (3)

formal methods (3)

history of philosophy (3)

metaphysics (3)

value theory (3)

Electives (42 credit hours)

Research (12 credit hours)

PHI 792 Research (12)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)

PHI 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information

Students should see the academic unit for the list of courses approved for each required core area.

In completing the electives requirements, at least nine credit hours and no more than 18 credit hours must be from other disciplines supporting the student's proposed dissertation area. Thirty credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree may apply toward this requirement with approval by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College.

To ensure breadth in the traditional areas of philosophy, students must pass with a grade of "B" (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better.

Which department am I in?

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Study options

Full Time (84 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$25,200.00 per year
Start date

20 August 2020


Arizona State University

Tempe Campus,



85287, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

You must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from an international institution that is officially recognized by that country. You must have maintained a “B” (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) grade point average (GPA) in the last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate coursework. If you do not meet the minimum GPA requirements your application may still be considered.

For international students

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of a student's first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

English proficiency

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Score of at least 550 (pBT) or 80 (iBT); International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Overall band score of the academic test of at least 6.5; Pearson Test of English (PTE): Score of at least 60.