Coursework-Department of Philosophy - Carnegie Mellon University


The program's course requirements are designed to provide students with a shared introduction to basic tools of philosophical analysis, a shared background of philosophical issues, significant interdisciplinary competence and an introduction to research topics in the department.

Core requirements (6 courses)

  • 80-600 Philosophy Core Seminar: Survey of crucial research in philosophy, logic, and related areas
  • 80-601 Philosophy Core Seminar II: Continued survey of crucial research in philosophy, logic, and related areas
  • 80-610 Formal Logic: The syntax and semantics of first-order logic, and related topics
  • 80-616 Formal Methods (1.5 semester): An introduction to contemporary formal frameworks, including Bayes Nets, Decision Theory, Game Theory, and Formal Learning Theory
  • 80-618 Topics in Logic I (half semester): The theory of computability, and Gödel's incompleteness theorems
  • Professional development seminar: Students must enroll in the professional development seminar in the spring semester of each of their first three years

Students pursuing the Ph.D. in Logic, Computation, and Methodology are further required to take 80-619 Topics in Logic II (half semester) in place of the sentence about the Directed Reading.

Breadth requirements (5 courses)

  • At least three courses in the analytic tradition:
    • 80-605 Rational Choice
    • 80-612 Philosophy of Mathematics
    • 80-680 Philosophy of Language
    • 80-812 Seminar on Causation
    • 80-813 Seminar on the Philosophy of Mathematics
    • 80-814 Seminar on the Philosophy of Science
    • 80-815 Seminar on the Foundations of Statistics
    • 80-816 Seminar on Metaphysics
    • 80-817 Seminar on Social and Political Philosophy
    • 80-818 Seminar on Epistemology
    • Other suitable courses and seminars at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh
  • At least one course in the history of philosophy:
    • 80-254 Analytic Philosophy
    • 80-255 Pragmatism
    • 80-819 Seminar in the History of Philosophy
    • Other suitable courses and seminars at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh
  • An additional course from either category

Interdisciplinary requirements (2 courses)

Two interdisciplinary electives, e.g. in logic, computer science, statistics, game theory, linguistics, economics, or psychology, to develop formal skills that will support thesis research. These courses need to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Suitable courses include:

  • 10-701 Machine Learning
  • 15-211 Fundamental Data Structures and Algorithms
  • 21-601 Model Theory I
  • 36-625 Probability and Mathematical Statistics I
  • 85-719 Introduction to Parallel Distributed Processing
  • 85-765 Cognitive Neuroscience

Electives (5 courses)

  • Five unconstrained electives (including directed reading and dissertation research)

These requirements can be filled in three years by taking three courses each semester. Coursework must be completed by the end of the fourth year, at the latest. Electives should be chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the student's advisor, to ensure that the courses chosen will support the student's career goals. In particular, students seeking employment in philosophy need to develop at least one area of competence outside their area of specialization.