Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Department of Philosophy at Duquesne University specializes in continental philosophy and the history of philosophy, and our graduate program was among the first in the United States to concentrate on phenomenology and, more broadly, 19th- and 20th-century continental thought.

As a student in our Ph.D. program, you’ll be immersed in that tradition and focus on post-Kantian European philosophy, with dedicated faculty working in German idealism, the phenomenological traditions, social and political philosophy and psychoanalytic theory, as well as structuralism, poststructuralism and their aftermaths.

We integrate this approach into a broader emphasis on the history of philosophy as a cluster of research areas in their own right, as a set of methodological orientations and as the necessary background for work in contemporary thought. To this end, you’ll work closely with groups of faculty specializing in each of the main periods of the history of philosophy, including ancient and classical philosophy, medieval philosophy and modern philosophy.

Our graduate program is built around small seminars that engage primary texts and conceptual problems. Our mission is to provide you with advanced philosophical training so that you may pursue high-quality independent research under the mentorship of faculty, become independent members of the international philosophical community and find full-time academic employment or fulfilling careers outside of academia.




Required Credit Hours


Program Features

As a student in our Ph.D. program, your philosophical life will reach well beyond the classroom through our extensive visiting speakers series, a graduate research colloquium, student- and faculty-organized reading groups and strong graduate student organizations.

We strongly encourage reading philosophical works in their original languages.

We place a premium on our students developing a high level of competence in the languages related to their doctoral research. To that end, we offer substantial support enabling you to pursue language study throughout the academic year and in summer language programs abroad.

As a doctoral student in philosophy, you can expand your horizons through an exchange program with Heidelberg University. Founded in 1386, Germany’s Heidelberg University has one of the most storied and prestigious philosophy programs in the world.

The Heidelberg Exchange Program also offers opportunities for our philosophy graduate instructors to design and teach Spring Break Away courses at Heidelberg.

As a doctoral student, you will serve as a teaching assistant for your first two years and then teach your own introductory courses. We prepare you by offering two seminars on the art of teaching philosophy, and the Center for Teaching Excellence provides additional, more general training.

Students admitted to our Ph.D. program receive an assistantship renewable for five years. After the fifth year, you may compete for dissertation-completion fellowships offered through the McAnulty Graduate School. Adjunct teaching is also often available during the sixth year.

We place students in competitive postdoctoral and grant-funded positions (including Fulbrights, Mellon-funded positions, Chateaubriands and European Research Council positions) and tenure-track positions, and our training initiatives for students seeking alt-academic careers have led to satisfying careers.

Application Requirements

Submit the university application through the graduate application portal. Once submitted, the system will generate an application checklist page and allowing applicants to upload all supplementary documents.

Applications for this cycle are due no later than January 15, 2024. See Slate for detailed requirements. Note that your statement of intent should characterize your philosophical interests, identify areas of proposed research, describe your philosophical background and any relevant biography and explain your specific interest in the Duquesne program. Use this document to give us a sense of who you are and where your intellectual passions lie. 

For more information, contact Dr. Lanei Rodemeyer (rodemeyerFREEDUQUESNE), College Hall.

Submit a transcript from each college or university you have attended. For the application process, transcripts from U.S. institutions may be submitted as legible scans (if you are accepted, you will be required to submit official transcripts before matriculating). If you hold prior degrees from institution located outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course report from a transcript credential evaluation service sent directly to Duquesne University. Please review our Transcript Credential Evaluation Directions.

At least three confidential letters of recommendation must be submitted by those in a position to assess the applicant's past performance and future academic potential. Please use the graduate application portal to generate online requests for confidential letters of recommendation. Recommenders will receive instructions by email for uploading their letters directly to the Duquesne system.
Submit a statement of intent characterizing your philosophical interests and identifying areas of proposed research, describing your philosophical background and any relevant biography, and explaining specific interest in the Duquesne program. Use this document to give us a sense of who you are and where your intellectual passions lie.
Submit a sample of philosophical writing, maximum 10,000 words.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional. They will be considered if submitted as supplemental information.
  • Language test scores (international students only)
    • Valid TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo language test scores are required for all applicants who do not hold U.S., Australian, Canadian, Irish, New Zealander, or U.K. citizenship; U.S. permanent resident status; or U.S. refugee/asylum status. If you are not covered by this list, you may still request a language test score waiver if you meet any of the following conditions: English is your native or primary language; you have completed four years of undergraduate-level coursework or two years of graduate-level coursework at an accredited U.S. university; you have completed four years of undergraduate-level coursework or two years of graduate-level coursework at an accredited non-U.S. university where English is the language of instruction. A prompt to request a waiver on any of these grounds is built into the online application system - please do not directly contact the Philosophy Department to request a waiver. If you are required to submit a language test score, applications cannot be reviewed (and application checklist page test score items will remain marked as ‘Awaiting materials') until official language score reports are received directly from testing agencies.

Contact Us

Dr. Lanei Rodemeyer

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Philosophy