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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Philosophy



What will I learn?

The Philosophy Department at UC Riverside is a nationally ranked program with a genuinely pluralistic emphasis. We have strengths in specific areas of analytic philosophy, 19th and 20th-century European philosophy, and the history of philosophy (especially the eighteenth and nineteenth century).

For the last several years we have been ranked near the top worldwide in Agency Theory (or Philosophy of Action) and in 19th/20th Century Continental Philosophy, and we have strengths in Kant, the philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, the history of analytic philosophy, moral theory, legal theory and philosophy of religion. There is a large amount of interchange among the different areas of strength in the Department and most faculty work in multiple areas.

Ours is a program where students can study both contemporary analytic and contemporary European philosophy, where there is a strong presence in the history of philosophy, and where no rigid barriers between these different areas of philosophy exist.

Coursework for the Ph.D.

Students are required to take 15 quarter courses for the Ph.D. (whether they enter the program with or a B.A. or with an M.A.) These include a series of three proseminars for first-year graduate students, two in metaphysics and epistemology, and one in moral philosophy (PHIL 275A, PHIL 275B, PHIL 275C). The proseminars are designed to acquaint first-year students with the current state of discussion in central areas of contemporary philosophy and to impart the skills needed to conduct their own research.

In addition to the proseminars, there is a distribution requirement. Students must take one additional course (beyond PHIL 275A and PHIL 275B) in metaphysics and epistemology broadly construed, 2 additional courses (beyond PHIL 275C) in the area of ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics, and three courses in the history of philosophy, with 1 of these in ancient philosophy. Finally, students entering the program in Fall 2018 and beyond are required to enroll in the 3rd and 4th year research seminar, PHIL 276, during winter and spring quarters of their third year and winter quarter of their fourth year. Phil 276 should be taken for 2 units on an S/NC basis in the winter quarters of the third and fourth years, and for 4 units on a graded basis in the spring quarter of the third year. The 4 graded units of PHIL 276 count as one of the 15 courses required for the Ph.D. (Students who have advanced to candidacy are exempted from the fourth year winter quarter requirement.)

Of the 15 courses required for the Ph.D., 10 must be seminars and workshops in the 272-285 series. (Only 4 graded units of PHIL 276 count towards the PhD course requirements). Up to 5 courses may be drawn from PHIL 125 (Intermediate Logic), courses in the PHIL 220-266 series (mixed undergraduate/graduate courses with an additional section for graduate students), or PHIL 290-292 (directed studies courses). Courses taken on a Satisfactory (S)/No Credit (NC) basis cannot be used to satisfy course requirements. Students are in addition expected to take one seminar on an S/NC basis each quarter after they have completed their course work until they advance to candidacy.

Normally students take 9 courses during their first year and 5 during their second year. Philosophy 276, the 3rd and 4th year research seminar, should be taken for 4 graded units in the spring of the third year. This counts as the student’s 15th course.

Which department am I in?

College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (18 quarters)

Tuition fees
US$32,287.86 per year
Start date

Expected June, September 2023


College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

3400 HMNSS Building,

900 University Avenue,



92521, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

A bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited institution. The degree must represent the completion of a program equivalent in subject matter and scholarship to that offered by the University of California. A minimum of a 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) GPA in undergraduate years and in post baccalaureate work.

For international students

A bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited institution. The degree must represent the completion of a program equivalent in subject matter and scholarship to that offered by the University of California.

A minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or B-equivalent (if GPA is not on a 4.0 scale). We recommend that you check with the graduate program as they may have a higher standard for their GPA requirements. If your GPA is below this, follow up with the graduate program you are interested. Applications are reviewed in their entirety and the program can look at your other components and advise you on potential admission.

English Language Requirement: TOEFL - The minimum acceptable scores are: 550 for the revised TOEFL paper-delivered test and 80 for the TOEFL iBT; IELTS - The minimum acceptable overall score is 7 with no score less than 6 on any individual component.

Applications completed by January 5th will receive first consideration for admission. An application is not complete until all supplemental materials have been received. We will continue to accept applications after this deadline.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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