PhD Program

Michigan's doctoral program offers broad and intensive training in nearly all major branches of contemporary philosophy. Faculty specialties extend from standard areas like ethics, political philosophy, history of ancient philosophy, history of modern philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language and mind to more specialized fields like feminist philosophy, medieval philosophy, rational choice theory, formal epistemology, and philosophy of physics.  Students are encouraged to pursue complementary studies in disciplines outside philosophy, thereby drawing on the strength of Michigan's many world-class departments.  Students typically complete all pre-dissertation requirements in three years and finish the dissertation in five to six years.

Michigan supports the study of philosophy in a variety of ways. There is a full schedule of talks given by visiting philosophers. Graduate students organize the annual Spring Colloquium which features presentations by three philosophers and comments by our graduate students. Michigan is, as well, one of nine institutions world-wide that hosts the annual Tanner Lecture for Human Values. Each year we invite a major intellectual figure to give the Tanner Lecture, which is followed by an interdisciplinary symposium involving distinguished scholars from around the world.  In addition, Michigan has been host to a  Philosophy and Linguistics Workshop organized by faculty and graduate students as well as a series of talks in ancient philosophy, co-sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy and Classical Studies.

As important as formal philosophical events are, informal philosophical exchange within the Department is more important still. Faculty members are readily accessible; they tend to live near campus and work in their offices, often with doors open.  The Graduate Student Working Group meets frequently to discuss work in progress.  Joint student-faculty discussion groups frequently develop and meet periodically on specific topics (See Groups page).

Graduate students actively participate in Department governance. Two graduate student representatives serve on the Department's Executive Committee, and another serves on the Department's Graduate Studies Committee.

Michigan's University Library is among the top ten academic libraries in the country. Tanner Philosophy Library provides an excellent setting within the Department in which to consult a large non-circulating collection of philosophical books and journals. The Department's facilities include a large graduate study spaces and a commons room for faculty and student discussion. Seminars and most other graduate level courses meet in the Department’s two classrooms.  Space for graduate student instructors to meet with undergraduate students is separate from the graduate study spaces.

Ann Arbor offers many advantages as a place to live and do philosophy. Located thirty minutes west of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Ann Arbor is a city of 110,000. Only forty miles from Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, it combines the intimacy of a moderate sized university town with rich and diverse cultural resources (especially in music), and the advantages of a large metropolitan area. Many graduate students will take advantage of the easy access to Chicago and Toronto for weekend excursions or conferences.