Ph.D. Application

Ph.D applications (to join the program in Fall 2020) open on July 1.
All materials must be received no later than January 15.

Application to the Duquesne philosophy Ph.D. program is competitive. We receive 150–200 applications each year and generally admit 4 to 6 doctoral students.

Applicants intending to pursue a doctorate at Duquesne should generally apply for the Ph.D. program regardless of whether they already hold an M.A. degree in philosophy. If not offered admission to the Ph.D. program, applicants without a previous philosophy M.A. will be considered for admission to the M.A. program.

Ph.D. program applicants are expected to hold or be in the final stages of completing a B.A., M.A., or equivalent degree in Philosophy or a related discipline. It is helpful, but not required, for applicants to possess background in at least one relevant research language (especially ancient Greek, Latin, French, or German).

Applications to the Philosophy Ph.D. program must be submitted online. A complete application consists both of the general University application and all the supporting materials, letters of recommendation, and test scores listed below. The entire application dossier must be submitted through the online application portal and test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to Duquesne.

There is no fee to apply to the Philosophy Ph.D program at Duquesne.

Note: If you are reapplying to the Philosophy Ph.D. program, you must submit a new application and resubmit all supporting materials and letters of recommendation. Please check with the Office of Graduate Admissions (, 412-396-6219) to confirm that test scores submitted in an earlier application round remain on file at Duquesne.


Elements of a Complete Application
  • University application
  • Supporting application materials
    • Statement of intent
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Writing sample
    • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation (3)
  • Test scores:
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores - required for all applicants
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores - required for all international applicants (applicants who do not hold U.S. citizenship, permanent resident status, or refugee/asylum status) for whom English is not a first language; see below for exceptions
Application Checklist Items

All supporting materials must be submitted through Duquesne's graduate application portal. Application materials will not be accepted via email or postal mail.

University application
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.

Statement of intent
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.

Curriculum vitae
Submit a one or two page CV clearly indicating the following: name and contact information; academic degrees (with degree, institution, major or discipline, and dates conferred or expected); any academic fellowships, awards, scholarships, or honors; any academic publications; any formal academic presentations (at conferences, colloquia, etc.); any language proficiencies other than English (for each language, indicate proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing as fluent, advanced, intermediate, or basic); any additional academically-relevant information; and contact information for each person who will submit a letter of recommendation (include the name, position, institutional affiliation, and email address). NOTE: On the application checklist page of the graduate application portal, this item will be listed as 'Curriculum Vitae or Resume'; please do NOT submit a resume.

Writing sample
Submit a sample of philosophical writing, maximum 7500 words.

Submit a transcript from each college or university you have attended. For purposes of the application process, legible scans of transcripts are fine. If accepted, applicants must submit official transcripts before matriculating.

Supplemental information
Though not required, the Supplemental information category header available on the application checklist page may be used to submit additional items that do not fit under the other categories. However, do not use this category to submit transcripts or test scores.

Letters of Recommendation

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 recommendations. Recommenders will receive instructions by email for uploading their letters directly to the Duquesne system.

Required Test Scores

All Philosophy graduate program applicants must submit GRE scores. Some international applicants must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Although the graduate application portal allows self-reporting of test scores, applications will not be considered complete (and checklist page test score items will read as ‘Awaiting') until official score reports are received directly from the relevant testing agencies. Score reports must be received by the application deadline, so we recommend placing score report orders at least three weeks prior. For the GRE and TOEFL, Duquesne's institution code is 2196 (no program code is necessary). IELTS does not require institution codes.

GRE scores
Although Duquesne requires GRE scores for all applications, we consider them as one element in a complete, holistically-considered dossier and do not have a minimum score threshold for admission. GRE scores are valid for five years after the date of testing.

TOEFL / IELTS scores
In addition to GRE scores, international applicants for whom English is not a native or primary language must also submit TOEFL or IELTS language proficiency scores. Duquesne requires minimum TOEFL (iBT) total scores of 80 or IELTS band score of 6.5 for all graduate programs. The Philosophy Department prefers to see TOEFL (iBT) total scores of 95 minimum (with all sections scores of 22 or higher) or IELTS band scores of 7 minimum. TOEFL or IELTS scores must be from tests taken no more than one year prior to submission. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement is automatically waived for international applicants with Canadian, U.K., Australian, or New Zealander citizenship. Other international applicants may request a waiver if at least one of the following conditions is satisfied:

  • native or primary language is English
  • completed four years of undergraduate-level coursework at an accredited US institution or an accredited institution outside the US where English is the language of instruction
  • completed two years graduate-level coursework at an accredited US institution; or an accredited institution outside the US where English is the language of instruction.

Applicants who are required to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores will be prompted by the application system to submit an English language proficiency exam waiver providing details of how they satisfy one of the conditions above. Otherwise, official TOEFL or IELTS scores must be submitted for the application to be considered. Only requests for waivers submitted through the system will be reviewed - do NOT contact the Philosophy Department directly to request a waiver.

Application Questions

More information regarding the Philosophy Ph.D. program course of study, funding for Ph.D. students, placement record, course offerings, and our current graduate students can be found via the links on the left side of this page.  For program issues that are not treated sufficiently there or questions concerning the content of supporting application materials, please contact Dr. Lanei Rodemeyer, Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy,

For questions specific to the international applications submission process and the TOEFL/IELTS submission requirement or waiver, please contact the Center for Global Engagement,, 1-412-396-6113.

For all questions or difficulties regarding the submission of materials through the Duquesne online graduate application portal (including the University application, supporting materials, and letters of recommendation) or for questions regarding submission of GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS test scores, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions,, 412-396-6219.