Philosophy, PhD

The Penn Philosophy Department has a long and distinguished history. Philosophy has been taught at the University since 1755, and Penn was among the first universities in the country to offer the PhD degree in Philosophy, in 1882. The Department has always prized breadth, and its members are prepared to supervise advanced research in metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, logic, philosophy of language, ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy of law, and the history of philosophy.

The Ph.D. program includes course work, a teaching requirement, a preliminary examination, and the preparation and defense of a dissertation.   Required coursework includes two courses in contemporary epistemology and metaphysics (including philosophy of science, mind, language, and mathematics); two courses in value theory (ethics, political or legal philosophy, aesthetics); three courses in history of philosophy, and a logic requirement.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.

Required Courses

The total course units required for graduation is 20.

Philosophy Proseminar
PHIL 6000Proseminar1
Logic Requirement
PHIL 5710Introduction to Logic (or satisfied by examination)1
or PHIL 6723 Introduction to Mathematical Logic
History of Philosophy Requirement
Select three courses 13
Value Theory
Select two courses2
Contemporary Metaphysics & Epistemology
Select two courses2
Other Philosophy or Approved Courses
Select four courses 24
Teaching Practicum
Four semesters4
Dissertation Workshop
PHIL 7000Dissertation Workshop1
Preliminary Examination
PHIL 9999Independent Study (Fall and Spring, for 2CU over the year)2
Total Course Units20

Must include one course in ancient and one course in early modern through Kant.


One course unit must be a regularly offered Philosophy course.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.