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Camden Newark New Brunswick/Piscataway
  Graduate School-New Brunswick 2017 Programs, Faculty, and Courses Philosophy 730 Programs  
Graduate School-New Brunswick

The faculty in philosophy offers a comprehensive program of doctoral studies covering the principal branches of the subject. The program ensures a breadth of knowledge before specialization. The curriculum, which provides a great deal of freedom in the later stages of study, is complemented by graduate-level courses in other disciplines at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Advanced students also often choose to take philosophy seminars at nearby universities (e.g., Princeton, New York University, Columbia, and CUNY Graduate Center), for which they receive credit at Rutgers as part of an exchange program. Normally, students are supported by fellowships during their first two years, completing all required coursework during that time.

The program's requirements may be divided into three types: (A) the course requirement, (B) steps necessary for advancement to candidacy, and (C) defense of the dissertation.

(A) The course requirement is met by taking 14 seminars (42 credits), each passed with a letter grade of at least a B and resulting in an overall average of at least a B+. Seminars are offered at two levels: 500 and 600. The 500-level seminars presuppose less knowledge of their subfield and usually cover a larger range of topics and require three or more shorter papers or tests. A final paper longer than 15 pages is not required; writing assignments will generally be considerably shorter than that. The 600-level seminars are more narrowly focused on a specific area of research and almost always require substantial research papers. The 14 seminars must include the following:

1. The proseminar, a seminar in the history of analytic philosophy taken in the fall of the first year of study. Its aims are (i) to provide the background needed to understand several important contemporary debates, (ii) to introduce a number of widely used conceptual tools and argumentative strategies, and (iii) to provide a seminar setting in which class discussion is guaranteed not to be dominated by more advanced graduate students and professors.
2. At least one 500-level seminar in each semester of the first year (in addition to the proseminar). All coursework for 500-level seminars must be completed by the end of the grading period (or earlier, if required by the instructor).
3. Two history seminars (typically, one premodern, one early modern).
4. One advanced logic course (e.g., philosophically useful logic, set theory).
5. One value theory course (normative ethics; metaethics; aesthetics; social, political, or legal philosophy; or applied issues in these fields).
6. Three seminars selected from three of the following subjects: (i) philosophy of mind, (ii) philosophy of language, (iii) metaphysics, (iv) epistemology, (v) one course in value theory, typically in a sub-area distinct from that taken to satisfy the value theory course, and (vi) philosophy of science.

In the year prior to actively seeking a job, students must take the dissertation seminar (a 3-credit seminar, taken Pass/No Credit). Its goals are (i) to promote facility in explaining the central ideas of one's research to nonspecialists, and (ii) to convey general departmental and university expectations about the style and structure of a dissertation. In addition to credits earned in coursework, students register for at least 24 credits of research in philosophy. A total of 72 credits of coursework and research is required for the Ph.D.

(B) After successful completion of 14 seminars, the student forms a predissertation committee of five members, to be approved by the director of graduate studies. With the committee's guidance, the student selects a dissertation topic or project and can either write a review of literature relevant to that topic or a first chapter of the dissertation. After having also written a dissertation proposal, the student then meets with the committee for a proposal defense. Upon approval of the proposal by the committee, the student has advanced to candidacy.

(C) As the student begins work on the dissertation, the graduate director, in consultation with the student, appoints a dissertation director and committee. The dissertation is a substantial piece of research, usually a sustained, book-length treatment of a single issue; however, it may consist of a number of papers on related topics, together with an introduction that describes the ways in which the papers are interconnected or linked with broader problems. The dissertation must be successfully defended: all members of the committee must judge that, in terms of style, scholarship, and originality, it would merit publication.

Normally, the master of arts (M.A.) is not offered as a terminal degree. To obtain a master's degree, a student must complete at least 10 seminars satisfying the distribution requirements listed above, passed with a B or better. For students in the Ph.D. program, the literature review or proposal defense constitutes the comprehensive examination. In the rare case of a master's degree conferred as a terminal degree, this is replaced by a research paper in a chosen subfield.

Master's in Legal Philosophy

Applicants must have completed at least one year of law school and must either be enrolled in law school or have completed their juris doctor (J.D.) degree. An application should include (1) a letter by the student indicating why she or he is interested in the M.A.; (2) a transcript from the schools the applicant is attending or has attended; (3) one or more letters of reference that speak to the applicant's ability to do work in philosophy or legal theory; and (4) a writing sample that demonstrates the applicant's proficiency in philosophy or legal theory. Applicants need not take the GREs; the LSAT will suffice. International applicants should include a TOEFL score.

To be awarded the master's in legal philosophy a student must successfully complete 30 credits and write a thesis. Up to 8 of the 30 credits can be transferred from the applicant's law school. The law courses that would be counted toward the master's must be approved by the program director of the graduate program in philosophy. Over a two-semester period of study at Rutgers-New Brunswick, persons admitted would consult with the program director on a plan of study that consists of at least five philosophy courses (for a total of 15 or 16 credits) and a master's thesis jointly supervised by the program director and an appropriate faculty member in the philosophy program or at one of Rutgers Law School's locations. It is realistic to expect that diligent students would be able to complete the degree program in one year (and perhaps an additional summer to finish the thesis).

For additional information, contact RU-info at 732-932-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

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