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Ph.D. Application

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 (gradadmissions@duq.edu, 412-396-6219) to confirm that test scores submitted in an earlier application round remain on file at Duquesne.

Ph.D program applications closed January 15.

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 research interests, describing reasons for seeking to engage in advanced study of philosophy, summarizing philosophical background and any relevant biography, and explaining specific interest in the Duquesne graduate program.  On the application checklist page of the graduate application portal, this item will be listed as 'Personal or Goal Statement'.

Curriculum vitae
Submit a one-page CV clearly indicating name and contact information; academic degrees (with degree, institution, major or discipline, and date conferred); any academic fellowships, scholarships, or honors; any academic publications; language proficiency (other than English; for each language, indicate proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing as fluent, advanced, intermediate, or basic); references (include the name, position, institutional affiliation, and email address of each person who will submit a letter of recommendation); and any additional, academically relevant information. On the application checklist page of the graduate application portal, this item will be listed as 'Curriculum Vitae or Resume'. Please do not send 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.

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

The graduate application portal allows self-reporting of required standardized test scores. However, applications will not be considered complete (and test scores on the application checklist page will continue to be marked as 'Awaiting') until these self-reported scores are corroborated by official reports sent directly to Duquesne from the relevant testing agency.

GRE scores
Submit scores from a test taken within five years of application. Duquesne’s ETS code is 2196. All applicants to the Ph.D. program are required to submit GRE test scores, but no specific minimum scores are required for review. We consider GRE scores as one element in a complete dossier.

TOEFL or IELTS language test scores
In addition to GRE scores, either TOEFL or IELTS language proficiency scores are required for international applicants for whom English is not a first language. Submit scores from a test taken within three years of application. Duquesne's ETS code is 2196. Duquesne does have language test score minimums in order to qualify for application to any graduate program:

  • TOEFL iBT or revised TOEFL Paper-delivered Test: 80, with all sub-scores at 17 minimum
  • TOEFL PBT: 550
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with sub-scores meeting the following minimums: 6.5 reading; 5.5 writing; 5.5 speaking; 6.0 listening

Note: Upon request (selcerd@duq.edu), the TOEFL/IELTS language proficiency test requirement will be waived for international applicants who hold BA- or MA-level degrees from universities where the primary language of instruction is English.

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. Daniel Selcer, Director of Graduate Studies in Philosophy, selcerd@duq.edu.

For questions specific to the international applications submission process, please contact the Center for Global Engagement, intladmissions@duq.edu, 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, gradadmissions@duq.edu, 412-396-6219.