Graduate Program

Our Program

The Washington University Philosophy Department houses two PhD programs: a program in Philosophy — with strengths in philosophy of mind, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of science, metaphysics, and the history of philosophy — and a special interdisciplinary program in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) that maintains a core faculty in philosophy and draws on Washington University's exceptional psychological and neuroscience programs.

The department accepts about 10% of the applicants to these PhD programs and maintains about 25 students in both programs. We are especially open to interdisciplinary work, and we are committed to providing methodologically and substantively broad training. We welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, but the most successful applicants have evidence of philosophical talent and promise.

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Application Details

Learn more about admission requirements, process, financial support, and FAQs.

Graduate Admission Info

Program Requirements

Explore the program's advising resources, coursework requirements, dissertation information, and more.

Requirement Details

Activities & Events

We list here a few of the ways in which philosophy graduate students extend themselves outside the classroom.


The Department and the PNP program coordinate regular colloquia, typically on Thursday afternoons at 4:00 PM. These represent a major part of the education experience in the department, and graduate students are expected to attend. The upcoming talks can be found on our Events page.

In addition, many students attend talks in other departments, such as Psychological & Brain Sciences or Classics, or at other universities, such as the philosophy colloquia at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and Saint Louis University (SLU).


There are several avenues for graduate students to present and comment on works in progress, including the regular "Works in Progress" series.

There are also interdisciplinary workshops in which philosophy students participate regularly:

  • WPES [Workshop in Politics, Economics, and Society]; see WUSTL Political Science
  • History & Philosophy of Science & Medicine Brown Bag Series

In addition, the graduate students themselves organize an irregularly scheduled series of work-in-progress talks, called the "Cave Series."

Reading Groups

There are several standing reading groups that attract philosophy graduate students. Please contact the Department for more information.

In addition to the standing reading groups, ad hoc reading groups regularly form, to read this or that manuscript or recently published book.


St. Louis is home to several regular conferences, including:

  • Robert J. Henle Conference at SLU (biennial)
  • SLACRR [St. Louis Annual Conference on Reasons and Rationality]
  • SLAPSA [St. Louis Area Philosophy of Science Association]

WashU also regularly sponsors one-off philosophy conferences and workshops. In recent years, these have included events on morality, moral psychology, the philosophy of neuro-science, and epistemology.

Finally, some larger philosophical organizations occasionally meet in St. Louis, including the Society for Philosophy and Psychology (most recently 2006), the Central States Philosophical Association (2011, 2017, 2019), and the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association (most recently 2015).

Graduate Student Governance and Activities

The philosophy graduate students share a variety of responsibilities for the program, and can engage with graduate students in other programs in a variety of ways, including special development workshops and social events.

  • The Graduate Student Senate
  • Liberman Graduate Center 

Social Events

The philosophy department hosts several regular social events, including a holiday party in December, and the recruitment weekend each spring. There are also receptions following every colloquium.