Graduate Programs

Our Programs

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.

Rick Shang

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Learn more about how to apply to our PhD programs, the admissions process, financial support, and more.

Admissions Information

Program Requirements

Students in our PhD programs must complete three years of coursework, prepare and defend a dissertation, and more.  Click below for more information.

Program Requirements

Placement

The Philosophy Department, the Career Center, and the Liberman Graduate Center are committed to providing professional development and job market support for our students.  

Our placement record
Fall on WashU campus

Activities & Events

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

Colloquia

The department and the PNP program coordinate regular colloquia, typically on Thursdays at 4pm. 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 organized by other departments at WashU, such as Psychological & Brain Sciences or Classics, and by philosophy departments at other local universities, such as those at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) and Saint Louis University (SLU).

Work in Progress Series (WIPS)

The Work in Progress Series (WIPS), typically on Fridays at 12pm, provides graduatre students (along with members of the faculty) to present and receive feedback on their work. 

Reading and research groups

In addition to ad hoc reading groups, there are several on-going reading and research groups that graduate students are encouraged to join, which regularly host visiting speakers.  These include:

  • History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine (HPSM) Group
  • Mind and Perception Group
  • Memory Group
  • Workshop in Politics, Economics, and Society (WPES)

For upcoming meetings of these groups, see our our Events page.

Conferences

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

WashU also regularly hosts one-off philosophy conferences and workshops. In recent years, these have included events on morality, moral psychology, the philosophy of neuroscience, and social epistemology.  St. Louis is also periodically the location for meetings of regional and national philospohical associations, including the Central Division of the American Philosphical Association, the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and the Central States Philosophical Association. 

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.

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.