About the PhD Program
PhD students choose between two tracks, the "Traditional Track" and the "Philosophy and the Life Sciences" track. In the traditional track, the first two years are devoted to course work and preparing for a qualifying exam, and the third year is devoted to writing a conference paper and preparing a dissertation proposal. In the philosophy and the life 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. Graduate students assist in the grading and advising of undergraduates and often lead their own recitation sections. Advanced graduate students may be offered the opportunity to teach their own undergraduate courses. Some of these courses take place during the regular academic year, but most take place during the summer. 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