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Graduate Program

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Graduate Program

The Shyam Dev Patwardhan Department of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma offers programs of study leading to two advanced degrees: a terminal MA, either with thesis or without, and a PhD.

The MA requires either 30 hours of coursework (for students who write a thesis) or 36 hours of coursework (for students who take the MA exam). The standard prerequisite is a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, although in exceptional cases an applicant may be admitted with a Bachelor’s degree in another field if the applicant has completed substantial philosophy coursework. MA students take classes alongside PhD students and receive full faculty support and attention.

We are now offering some assistantships to MA students, which carry a stipend of $16,500, plus health insurance and a tuition waiver. MA students who are not funded may complete their degrees part-time and may begin their studies in either the fall or the spring.

You may be admitted to the PhD program either with an MA degree in philosophy or with only a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy. If you enter with an MA in philosophy, you may be granted up to 30 hours of coursework toward your PhD. This corresponds to two years’ worth of coursework as a full-time PhD student. If you are admitted with only a Bachelor's degree in philosophy, then you will be required to complete the full 51 hours of coursework (plus 39 hours of dissertation research) here in our program. In exceptional cases, an applicant may be admitted with a degree in another field if the applicant has completed substantial philosophy coursework.

Each of our PhD students receives an assistantship. For students entering with a BA, the assistantship is guaranteed for five years, assuming satisfactory progress toward the PhD. The department also has a strong record of placing our students in tenure-track positions.

See our Degree Requirements and Applications page for degree requirements and related information about the graduate program.

The department offers broad training in the major fields of philosophy. We are highly ranked in a number of fields: philosophy of religion, Chinese philosophy, and aesthetics, and also have particular strengths in epistemology, philosophy of language, virtue ethics, political philosophy, and the history of modern philosophy.

An excellent teacher-to-student ratio combined with small class size assures students of a program of study with extensive interaction with faculty. In addition to classes and seminars, the department offers a rich and lively philosophical environment with an emphasis on informal interaction between faculty and students. The department has an active program of visiting speakers, graduate students and faculty organize a wide variety of reading groups, and the University Libraries have large and comprehensive holdings in philosophy.

Like many in the profession, we are concerned that philosophy has failed to keep pace with the increased number of women and minority graduate students in other disciplines. We are eager to recruit qualified women and minority applicants. We welcome applications from people with disabilities and from people of any sexual orientation and gender identity. We are highly committed to offering a positive climate for members of underrepresented groups.


Everyone admitted to the PhD program is automatically awarded a Graduate Assistantship, which is typically a half-time (20 hours per week) appointment. Assistantships may also be awarded to up to two MA students per admissions year. The application deadline for both the funded MA and the PhD is January 15.

The 2023-24 assistantship stipend is $16,500 per year for MAs and $17,500 for PhDs. Tuition, up to the number of hours required for the degree, and some fees are waived for Graduate Assistants who enroll in at least 5 credit hours each spring and fall, provided they satisfy a few training and paperwork requirements. All Graduate Assistants are eligible to receive free basic single health coverage as a benefit of employment. An upgrade to a more comprehensive plan or the addition of a spouse and/or children to one's coverage is available by paying an additional premium.

Degree Requirements and Applications

Learn about applying to and completing the graduate program 

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Graduate Seminars

Find course descriptions of current and past graduate seminars

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Current Students

Find past exams and other helpful documents for current students

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Placement Record

Learn about where our graduates are now

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