Photos of university / #riceuniversity
Philosophy is best described as the attempt to think clearly and deeply about the fundamental questions that arise for us as human beings. What is the nature of knowledge (epistemology)? How are we to distinguish between what really is and what only seems to be (metaphysics)? What is the right thing to do (ethics)? Is there any meaning to existence? To study the history of philosophy is to study the best, most enduring answers that have been given to these questions in the past. Because every other field of study adopts some stance toward these questions, though often implicitly, philosophical issues arise in the natural and social sciences, history, linguistics, literature, art, and so on. Special courses in philosophy deal with each of these. Characteristic of philosophy are commitments to the construction and evaluation of arguments, to expressing thoughts clearly and precisely, and to defending one’s ideas and evaluating the ideas of others. The study of philosophy thus provides resources for critical participation in all realms of human endeavor.
The graduate program trains students to teach and pursue research in the main areas of department concentration: ethics (especially bioethics) and social and political philosophy, core portions of analytic philosophy (especially philosophy of mind), history of philosophy, and continental philosophy.
Upon completing the PhD degree program in Philosophy, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate advanced skills of reading philosophical texts critically and with understanding of the problems and contexts.
- Demonstrate the cognitive and formal abilities to critically evaluate the arguments of others as well as their own.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the strengths and limitations of formal methods.
- Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and logically their own views on a range of important philosophical problems at an advanced level.
- Demonstrate an understanding in depth of the content and context of one of the main areas of departmental focus: history of philosophy, value theory, epistemology, and metaphysics broadly construed.
- Propose, evaluate, and defend original views in at least one of the main areas of departmental focus.
- Candidate must complete with high standing 42 hours of course work approved by the department
- Demonstrate competence in logic
- Pass a qualifying examination
- Perform satisfactorily on an oral defense of their thesis proposal
- Complete a written thesis on a subject approved by the department (at least one year of thesis research must be spent in residence)
- Perform satisfactorily on a final oral examination
- Application Form: A completed https://philgradapps.rice.edu for admission.
- Unofficial Transcripts: From all colleges and universities attended.
- Recommendations: A minimum of three letters of recommendation who are familiar with the applicant’s scholastic and personal qualities. Submitting four letters is strongly encouraged.
- GRE: Scores from the GRE® General Test
- The school code for reporting your score is 6609.
- The department code is 2801.
- TOEFL: The Test of English as a Foreign Language test is required for any student whose native language is not English, but is waived for an international student who received a degree from a university in which English is the official language of communication.
- Fee: A $85 nonrefundable application fee paid online by credit card or electronic check with your application form.
- Writing Sample: 5 to 15 page philosophy paper, emphasizing philosophical virtues like clarity, focus, and solid argumentation. Originality, critical thinking, and evidence of familiarity with important philosophical concepts are, of course, also important.
Typically, every student accepted into our Ph.D. program receives substantial financial support – a full tuition waiver and a full stipend (for five years, assuming satisfactory progress).
The level of our Ph.D. stipend is about $21,000.
The total value of the average financial award, including both stipend and tuition waiver, is more than $47,000 per year.
In some cases Ph.D. students receive financial support for a full six years.
Stipend support is not dependent on a heavy load of teaching assistance, as it is in the case of many financial awards at Philosophy Departments around the country. In the first year of graduate study, no work for the Department is required at all. In subsequent years, a modest amount of teaching assistance or research assistance for the Department is required in connection with the Rice University stipend. As an additional benefit, in the later years of one’s Ph.D. work, opportunities exist for teaching one’s own courses at Rice University. Such teaching is paid for over and above the stipend payment, and it helps build a record of teaching experience beyond that involved in simply assisting full faculty members in their courses.