About the PhD Program

Our PhD students work on a diverse range of topics—from metaphysics, to philosophy of science, to philosophy of mind, philosophy of biology, history of philosophy of science, embodied cognitive science, ethics, philosophy of physics, and social and political philosophy.  We especially encourage students to explore the connections of their philosophical research to work in other disciplines by taking courses outside of our department.  In fact, many of our graduate students pursue MA degrees in other fields—including psychology, economics, criminal justice, psychological counseling, and artificial intelligence—concurrently with their PhD work.[1]  This both enriches their research and makes them uniquely qualified candidates on the job market.   

The experience of our PhD students is also enhanced by our program’s close connection to several independent research centers and institutes at the university.   The UC Center for Public Engagement with Science, led by philosophy professors Angela Potochnik and Melissa Jacquart, coordinates a broad range of research and public outreach activities centered on expanding and enriching the interface between science and the public.  The UC Ethics Center, led by philosopher and affiliate faculty member Andrew Cullison, sponsors our graduate students as Ethics Bowl coaches and community coordinators (bringing Ethics Bowl to local elementary, middle, and high schools), and allows them to coordinate other ethics-related outreach activities.  The UC Institute for Research in Sensing includes philosophy faculty members on its leadership team, as does the Strange Tools Research Lab—both providing graduate fellowships to support research spanning biology, psychology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science.  In addition, the Philosophy of Science Association (PSA) is currently housed at the University of Cincinnati and provides funding to our graduate students to support its activities—such as in organizing its influential biannual conference, where the University of Cincinnati has a strong presence.

PhD students choose between two tracks, the "Traditional Track" and the "Philosophy and the Sciences" track. In the traditional track, the first two years are devoted to course work and the third year is devoted to writing a conference paper and preparing a dissertation proposal. In the philosophy and the sciences track, two and a half years are devoted to course work, including a year of graduate courses in an empirical science, and the dissertation proposal is slightly postponed. The final year or two of residency are devoted to writing the dissertation.

Most students enrolled in the PhD program receive full tuition remission and earn a living stipend and health benefits by working as teaching assistants for regular faculty (or by assisting in other roles at the various centers and institutes at the university, mentioned above). Graduate students assist in the grading and advising of undergraduates and often lead their own recitation sections. Graduate students are also typically offered the opportunity to teach their own undergraduate courses—either during the summer or, occasionally, during fall or spring semesters.  At least one advanced graduate student in Philosophy per year is awarded a predoctoral Taft Dissertation Fellowship, which also carries tuition remission and a living stipend and eliminates any teaching obligations for the year.    

[1]  However, admission to those programs is a separate process from general PhD admission and generally takes place only after students have matriculated to the PhD program.

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