Graduate Program Policies and Requirements

Policies for the Philosophy and PNP PhD programs


The Philosophy and Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) PhD programs include coursework, teacher training, professional development, and supervised dissertation research. 

Students are not generally required to study any foreign language or fields outside philosophy (with the exception of empirical coursework for PNP students), but students might be individually required to pursue such studies for their particular research program. Some of our students complete coursework in Classics, Political Science, or Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS).

Our PhD programs are administered by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in Philosophy (Allan Hazlett), the Director of PNP (Ron Mallon), and the Graduate Program Administrator (GPA) for Philosophy (Jessica Gibson).

Degree Requirements

Our degree requirements are stated in the University Bulletin:

Philosophy and PNP PhD Degree REquirements

Orientations, Mentoring, and Advising

The DGS coordinates a departmental orientation prior to Fall semester for incoming students, to supplement the orientation sessions organized by the Office of Graduate studies in Arts and Sciences. At that time, students select a mentor other than the DGS for an additional source of advice, with whom they meet regularly, although of course all the faculty and graduate students serve as unofficial advisors to each other.

The DGS is the academic advisor for Philosophy students and co-advisor (with the Director of PNP) for PNP students. Academic advisors meet with students regularly to discuss course enrollment, leaves of absence, and research or study in absentia, and must authorize students to register each semester.

In addition, the DGS coordinates a departmental orientation on teaching, which is required for all students participating in a Mentored Teaching Experience (MTE). This supplements the Center for Teaching and Learning orientation for first time MTE participants.

Annual Review and Probation

All graduate students are reviewed formally by the faculty every spring, and the DGS shares the individual results of that review in letters to each of the students.

Students who fail to fulfill program expectations or to perform satisfactorily in courses and MTEs may be put on probation, whose terms call for specific achievements by specific dates to avoid dismissal from the program.  Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's probation policy:

Philosophy Graduate Probation Policy

As well as with WashU's graduate probation policy.


Philosophy and PNP PhD students are required to complete four semesters of Mentored Teaching Experience (MTE), usually in their second and third years.  This entails serving as an Assistant in Instruction (AI) for Philosophy and PNP courses.  There are also paid opportunities for students to teach courses for University College and the Arts & Sciences Summer Session

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's graduate student teaching policies:

Philosophy Graduate student teaching Policies

Graduate Study in Absentia

The department supports students who want to study or conduct research at other institutions; students should familiarize themselves with our policy on graduate study in absentia:

Philosophy Graduate study In absentia policy

 As well as with the Arts & Sciences policies on Regular Enrollment.

University and Arts & Sciences Policies and Requirements

Completion of the Philosophy and PNP PhD programs requires compliance with policies an fulfillment of requirements administered by the Arts & Sciences Office of Graduate Studies.  Students are responsible for knowing these policies and requirements:

This includes the timely submission of several forms:

  • Research Advisory Committee
  • Title, Scope, and Procedure
  • Intent to Graduate
  • Dissertation Defense Committee

MA Requirements

Students in our PhD programs can receive a Master of Arts once they have completed their required course work and fulfilled the qualifying examinations requirement.

Philosophy Department Forms