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.
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.
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
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).