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About the Department

Director of Graduate StudiesProfessor Duncan Pritchard

Consistently ranked by the Philosophical Gourmet among the top twenty five programs in the U.S., the Ph.D. program in Philosophy is jointly administered by the Department of Philosophy in the School of Humanities and the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science in the School of Social Sciences. The program accordingly has two distinct tracks--the Philosophy track and the LPS track--which share a common core of requirements in history of philosophy, logic, ethics, and metaphysics and epistemology. Because each department makes its own admissions decisions, students should apply to the track whose curriculum most closely corresponds to their own interests. The Philosophy track is described here.

UCI’s Philosophy Department is committed to providing students a well-rounded graduate education, including central areas of contemporary philosophy and a solid foundation in the history of philosophy. Those with interests in mathematics, the natural sciences, or the social sciences are encouraged to take courses in Logic and Philosophy of Science and to include LPS faculty members on their dissertation committees. Our cooperative two-track program provides students the benefits of faculty expertise in a host of areas.

Every year the Philosophy Department invites distinguished philosophers from other universities to present their work to our faculty and graduate students. Participation in this colloquium series, though not mandatory, contributes significantly to graduate education. Colloquia sponsored by Logic and Philosophy of Science might also be of interest to Philosophy track students.

As at other leading research universities, the seminar is the primary forum for graduate-level instruction in philosophy. Graduate education at UCI nonetheless has several distinctive features. Because admission to our Ph.D. program is based on merit, there is no bias against applicants with an interrupted education or with an M.A. from another university. Instead of shifting suddenly from coursework to dissertation work, UCI students make the transition gradually. In the second year of the program, they work closely with a faculty member of their choice, exploring an area of specialization and developing the skills they will need for dissertation research. Our Tools of Research requirement enables students to choose between studying a second language and graduate coursework in a department other than Philosophy, depending upon their choice of dissertation topic. Last but not least, congenial relations between graduate students and faculty lead to an unusual number of student-faculty reading groups. The Cartesian Circle, one long-standing reading group, meets regularly to discuss topics in early modern philosophy. Other reading groups are formed each year–sometimes by the initiative of students, sometimes by the initiative of faculty–to discuss special topics of shared interest. Course credit may be granted for participation in a reading group if the student submits appropriate written work.

Each new graduate student is assigned a faculty member responsible for overseeing the student's progress through the major requirements of the program. The student consults with this adviser each quarter about any administrative or academic difficulties. Each student's overall record is reviewed by the Philosophy Department annually, customarily during the first two weeks of April. After satisfying the history, logic, field, tools of research, and portfolio requirements, the student chooses a candidacy committee to supervise the qualifying examination, the development of a dissertation project, and the writing of the dissertation itself. The chair of this committee is the student’s principal dissertation adviser.