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Graduate Study

There are approximately 100 American universities that offer the PhD in philosophy, and an additional 20 to 30 noteworthy programs that offer a Master's degree only.

For the 2014 APA Guide to Graduate Programs in Philosophy, click here.

Some of these departments are predominantly devoted to Analytic philosophy, a smaller number are predominantly Continental, and others are devoted to both the Analytic and the Continental traditions. Graduate departments also vary considerably with respect to how much attention is paid to the history of Western philosophy, and whether non-Western philosophy is represented at all. Many of the programs that are not especially broad in their philosophical range do have strengths in particular areas. One of the best ways to learn about graduate programs is to check each department's website and pay attention to how it presents itself, paying attention to the research areas of faculty, to what courses have recently been offered at the graduate level, and to the titles of recent dissertations completed within the program.

Talk with your professors about the reliability of various online "rankings," and about the best ways of learning more about graduate study in philosophy and about specific programs. Keep in mind also that philosophy is a highly competitive academic discipline. Nevertheless, graduate school can be a great opportunity to take your pursuit of philosophy to the next level, and to find yourself stimulated by a more advanced intellectual environment. Funding is often available to admitted students and provided by the graduate school itself: this can take the form of a tuition waiver, teaching assistantship, or other fellowship support.

Application deadlines tend to fall in January for Fall Semester admission, and most schools require the following materials to be submitted: GRE scores, Undergraduate transcript, Writing sample, Letters of recommendation (usually three), Personal statement of purpose.