Admissions FAQ

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What are your requirements for admission, and what are my chances of getting in?

View the Graduate School’s requirements.

The UW–Madison Department of Philosophy requirements are:

Applicants should have (or anticipate completing by the following spring) a degree in philosophy, either undergraduate or MA. An applicant who does not have an undergraduate major in philosophy, or the equivalent, may be admitted with deficiencies in the major. Admission with deficiencies requires a student to have had at least 12 semester credits in philosophy courses.

We receive roughly 200 applications each year, and accept approximately 25 students, depending on the available space and our budget. In deciding who will be admitted to the program, the Admissions Committee considers the overall picture including GPA (especially in philosophy courses), writing sample, and letters of recommendation.

In very rare cases, we accept someone who does not have a B.A. or M.A. degree in philosophy, but this is extremely unusual. In those cases, although they lack a philosophy degree, applicants have an extensive philosophy background and/or some philosophy coursework completed on the graduate level.

Do I need to take the GRE?

You do not need to submit GRE scores to be considered for admission or for fellowships, and we will not look at them.

I just want a one- or two-year degree. Do you have an M.A. program in philosophy?

No. All graduate students here are accepted with the intention of pursuing the Ph.D. degree. Our students receive an M.A. degree here en route to the Ph.D., after they pass their preliminary examination. A few students decide for personal reasons to leave the program after a few years, and they may receive a terminal M.A.

What is your typical funding package?

We offer 5 years of support guaranteed to all incoming graduate students provided that they make satisfactory progress toward their degree, and perform their teaching duties acceptably.

For specific information on our TA and fellowship funding, and details of the amounts, see our webpage on financial aid.

When will I hear if I got in?

We typically notify the first batch of students who are accepted in late February or early March. All other applicants should receive an email or letter concerning their status by the end of March.

How long does it take for your graduate students to complete their Ph.Ds?

It ranges from 5 to 8 years, with most students falling into the 6–7 year category.

What jobs do your graduates get?

See our webpage on placement.