Ph.D. students who enter the program without an M.A. degree in philosophy must pass 16 graduate courses, of which at least 8 are at the 700 level. Students entering the program with an M.A. degree in philosophy must pass 8 or more courses at USC, of which at least 6 are at the 700 level. In either case, at least 12 additional hours of 899 (dissertation preparation) are required. Courses taken at USC must satisfy various distribution requirements listed below. To satisfy all of these requirements, more than eight USC courses may be required for some students entering the program with an M.A. degree.
All Ph.D. students must pass the following core courses, normally within the first two years of course work:
Ph.D. students must pass at least one course in philosophy of science. Which courses count as satisfying this requirement is at the discretion of the graduate director.
Ph.D. students must pass at least one course in each of three historical periods, normally to be one course from each of the following three lists:
PHIL 760, Special Topics in Philosophy, and PHIL 797, Independent Study, may count as history courses depending on the material covered in individual cases. PHIL 707 may count as either early or late modern depending on the material covered in the course. These determinations are made by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the instructor.
Learning a foreign language is an important part of professionalization as a philosopher. It is therefore expected that students will satisfy a foreign language requirement. If a student’s research area demands knowledge of a particular foreign language, the student will be expected to be proficient in that language. The Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures administers tests of foreign language competency. In rare cases, the students Ph.D. comprehensive examination committee may determine that it is advisable for the student to substitute for the foreign language requirement a substantial competence in a research method relevant to the student’s research.
Normally, Ph.D. students with teaching assistantships will be given full responsibility for teaching a course beginning in their 3rd year in the program. In the spring semester of their 2nd year, they will be required to take the 3-credit hour pedagogy course, PHIL 790 (Teaching Philosophy). This course may count toward the 16 courses required for the Ph.D. degree.
Each student in the PhD program will be supervised by three successive advisory committees: an initial advisory committee, a comprehensive exam committee, and a dissertation committee. These committees assist the student in developing an appropriate course of study, evaluate student progress, provide guidance and counsel, certify the completion of various degree requirements, and ensure that professional standards have been met in completing those requirements. The composition of each committee should reflect the student’s interests and the area in which the student is likely to write a dissertation, though the constitution of these committees may change as the student progresses through the program.
Each doctoral student must maintain a “portfolio” of achievements in the program. This portfolio will be an essential tool for tracking and assessing the student’s progress in the program. The contents of the portfolio will be available only to the student and to members of the department faculty.
The portfolio, including yearly writing samples and a dissertation proposal, will serve as the written portion of the Ph.D. comprehensive exam. It will also serve as a working basis for developing a job placement dossier. The student must therefore maintain an up-to-date portfolio at least until their date of graduation.
The Department’s annual assessment of the graduate program as a whole will be based to some degree on a summary review of current student portfolios. Student portfolios will include at least the following items:
It is expected that the student will develop professionally while in the graduate program so that earlier contents of the portfolio may not reflect the student’s later capabilities, such as at the time of the Ph.D. comprehensive exam or later when the student begins to actively seek academic job placement. The student if need be will have ample opportunity during the oral portion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination to discuss how earlier writing samples could be amplified, amended, or disowned. Likewise, it is assumed that the writing samples that serve as part of the student’s placement dossier will be carefully selected by the student (in consultation with the Placement Director) so as to maximize the student’s chances of job placement. The portfolio itself will not serve as a placement dossier though the student may make relevant materials directly available to prospective employers.
To be recommended for admission to candidacy, a student must have satisfied several requirements:
Final approval for admission to candidacy for the PhD degree is made by the Dean of the Graduate School.
The Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination is designed to assist the student in writing a dissertation. It is taken after all required course work has been completed, at a stage when a dissertation topic has been selected and a provisional but detailed proposal drawn up. The comprehensive exam is in two parts, written and oral. A dissertation proposal will serve as the cornerstone of the written portion of the Comprehensive Exam. Procedures for submitting a dissertation proposal and the structure of the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination are as follows:
Completion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination is expected in the Fall semester of the fourth year, leaving time in the program for the student to work on an approved dissertation topic and to prepare for academic job placement.
No later than five years after passing the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, a Ph.D. student must complete a dissertation. The dissertation topic must be approved by a committee of graduate faculty members, consisting of the advisor, two other graduate faculty members judged competent in the field, and one graduate faculty member from outside the Philosophy Department. The student is expected to have whatever specialized skills are required for the dissertation topic chosen (e.g., familiarity with one of the sciences, or proficiency in a foreign language). At the time the dissertation is submitted the student must also provide an abstract of the dissertation.
To complete the requirements for the Ph.D., the student must successfully defend his or her dissertation before an examining committee appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The committee will consist of no fewer than four members, of whom at least one is from another department. Typically, these will be the same professors who are members of the student’s Dissertation Committee. The dissertation defense should take place not less than thirty days before the date at which the candidate expects to receive his or her degree.
Ph.D. students who enter the program without an M.A. degree in philosophy must pass 16 graduate courses, of which at least 8 are at the 700 level taken in face-to-face format. Students entering the program with an M.A. degree in philosophy must pass 8 or more courses at USC, of which at least 6 are at the 700 level taken in face-to-face format. In either case, at least 12 additional hours of 899 (dissertation preparation) are required. Courses taken at USC must satisfy various distribution requirements listed below. To satisfy all of these requirements, more than eight USC courses may be required for some students entering the program with an M.A. degree.
Excellence in extended face to face dialogue is a crucial component of professional expertise and success in philosophy. This proposal is being made to ensure that this aspect of graduate education is addressed by our required 700-level courses.
The proposal is made now because a course in CRJU which is cross-listed with PHIL 715 is currently proposed to allow an online format. We have submitted a letter of concurrence with that propsal, and fully support it. However, Philosophy PhD students need to take their required number of 700-level courses in a face to face format, for the reason stated above.
This proposal is being made concurrently with a similar proposed change to our MA program.
Add F2F 700 level, no BOT, no CHE, no SACS required, but APPS approve by registrar.