Skip to main content

Graduate PhD Requirements

Category A: Logic. PHIL 641, its equivalent, or a higher level logic course

Category B: History of Philosophy. Students are required to take TWO courses from the History of Philosophy. Courses that fulfill this requirement are:

PHIL 611, Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 614, Medieval
PHIL 616, Modern Philosophy
PHIL 620, Contemporary Philosophy (through 19th century)
PHIL 623, American Philosophy
PHIL 661, Seminar in History of Philosophy (through 19th century)
PHIL 682, Philosophical Authors (when author is figure before 20th Century)

Contemporary Traditions

ONE course from each of the following categories:

These areas don’t have a fixed list of courses. Each semester, professors teaching graduate courses other than the ones mentioned above will decide which of the following areas their course will fulfill.

Category C: Analytic Philosophy: Metaphysics and Epistemology. This area encompasses work within the analytic and related traditions on metaphysics, epistemology, and similar topics. This should be read broadly to include topics like philosophy of science, language, or mind as well as others.

Category D: Analytic Philosophy: Value Theory. This area includes courses whose principal focus is work in ethics (theoretical or applied), social and political philosophy, and aesthetics that is done within the analytic and related philosophical traditions.

Category E: Continental Philosophy. Courses in this area focus principally on 20th Century European thought, and may include such themes as phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, post-structuralism, or critical theory.

Category F: New Perspectives on the Canon or non-European Philosophy. Courses in this area may focus on critical perspectives on traditional approaches to philosophy or examine philosophical traditions and authors that have traditionally not been represented in Analytic or Continental thought. Themes for these courses may include critical race theory, post-colonialism, black existentialism, Feminism Thought, and Latin American philosophy.

Restrictions: Only 6 hours of 685s may be used toward Electives; 685s may not be used for Area Requirements. Students wishing to take 685s or courses in other departments may do so under the auspices of the ‘Other’ category of credits.


Logic                                           3 hrs
Area Requirements                18 hrs
Teaching Practicum               1 hr
Electives                                   15 hrs
Supporting MA                30-36 hrs
Research                                  15 hrs

Other                                    8-14 hrs

Total                               96 if earning MA at TAMU
64 if entering with MA


  • A thesis option master’s at Texas A&M requires 30 credit hours and non-thesis option requires 36 credit hours.
  • The supporting degree must be in a field other than philosophy, and must supplement the student’s research and teaching interests in philosophy.
  • All supporting degrees must be approved by the department’s Graduate Program Advisory Council (GPAC), which must also approve the use of a master’s degree earned at another university.


  • The Early Modern Studies option requires 24-27 hours of approved non-philosophy graduate courses, of which no more than four courses (12 hours) are in the same academic department.
  • Students must complete a publishable-quality piece of original work (as determined by their interdisciplinary committee of advisors) that incorporates aspects of their interdisciplinary studies. Students may take 3 hours of research in order to complete this requirement.
  • All Early Modern studies plans must be approved by the department’s Graduate Program Advisory Council (GPAC).


Students writing their dissertation will normally complete a total of 24 hours of PHIL 691, Research.


Ph.D. students are also required to complete at least two advanced exercises assigned by their Advisory Committees. Committees will design these exercises, in consultation with the student, in order to best serve that student’s professional development. Examples of possible advanced exercises include written and/or oral exams based on reading lists, the submission of an article-length essay to a group of faculty who will judge whether it is of publishable quality, additional coursework in philosophy or another field, or a study abroad experience.


  • Students must complete and successfully defend a doctoral dissertation demonstrating the ability to make original contributions to a recognized area of philosophical research. The process of completing a dissertation begins with the formation of an Advisory Committee, composed of at least four members of the graduate faculty. A majority of the Committee, including the chair, must be a member of the Philosophy Department, and at least one member must be from some other department.
  • The Advisory committee is responsible for administering a written and oral preliminary examination of the student on the area in which the student’s dissertation proposal has been written, approval of the proposal itself, and conducting the student’s final oral defense of the dissertation.


There is no departmental language requirement for the Ph.D.. The student’s Advisory Committee will determine what language requirement, if any, is appropriate for the dissertation project the student wishes to undertake.


Satisfactory completion of an oral defense of the dissertation is the final step required for the Ph.D. degree. This examination must be scheduled in advance with the Office of Graduate Studies, and may be held only after the dissertation is in substantially final form, and all members of the student’s Advisory Committee have had sufficient time to review it.


  • University regulations permit students to receive credit toward the PhD for courses taken at other institutions, provided those courses were not used as credit for another degree. Whether such credit may be counted as part of a student’s degree plan will be determined by the student’s Ph.D. Committee, subject to approval by the Department of Philosophy Graduate Program Advisory Committee and the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Students who already have a Masters degree in Philosophy from another institution may petition the Graduate Program Advisory Committee to allow some of these courses to count towards area requirements in the Texas A&M Philosophy Ph.D.
  • The minimum hours required for a Ph.D. at Texas A&M is reduced to 64 for students already holding a master’s degree, so a student entering with the supporting master’s degree in hand can expect to finish up to two years earlier.

Review the Graduate Student Handbook (LINKED TO STUDENT RESOURCES) for additional policies governing the graduate programs.