Carnegie Mellon University

Doctorate Program in Philosophy

The Philosophy Ph.D. is primarily intended for students interested in a continuing career in academic Analytic Philosophy.

The program's flexible requirements provide broad curricular grounding in both traditional and formal philosophy, interdisciplinary exposure, steady involvement in research, and the opportunity to practice the craft of teaching in a top-notch undergraduate environment. Students are expected to complete a Master’s thesis by the middle of their third year, and a Ph.D. thesis by the end of their fifth year.

Core (2 courses)

Core Seminar I & II are required for all students with no exceptions.

  • 80600 (fall term)
  • 80602 (spring term)

Formal Methods (2.5 courses)

  • 3 Formal Methods Minis (FMM)
    • 80603 FMM: Tools & Techniques (only to be taken by students who need an extra “bridge” into formal/technical material)
    • 80604 FMM: Computability Theory
    • 80607 FMM: Topology
    • 80608 FMM: Evolutionary Game Theory
    • 80609 FMM: Classical Logic
    • 80613 FMM: Language and Meaning
    • 80616 FMM: Decisions and Games
    • 80617 FMM: Causation
    • 80618 FMM: Algorithmic Complexity
    • 80619 FMM: Epistemic Logic and Topology
  • 1 “formal methods” course, broadly construed (starred* in the course list)

    • If your “formal” course is not in the Logic category, one of your Formal Methods minis must be Classical Logic.

Breadth (5 courses)

5 courses total, with at least one from each of:

  • Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Math, and Epistemology
  • Language, Linguistics, and Mind
  • Value Theory
  • History

Interdisciplinary (1 course)

1 course outside of Philosophy, e.g.:

  • from another department at Carnegie Mellon University
  • from a non-Philosophy (and non-HPS) department at The University of Pittsburgh
  • This requirement can be satisfied through one or more internships, subject to advisor and DGS approval.

Elective (3 courses)

Any 3 courses from our department. Optionally, one of these may instead be a second Interdisciplinary course.

Master’s thesis
Ph.D. Thesis


  • This is 13.5 courses in total. No course may be used to satisfy more than one requirement.

  • No more than 2 directed readings may be used to satisfy non-elective requirements.
  • At least 2 courses must be seminars (see course list): advanced, discussion-based courses that engage with professional philosophy and include a significant writing component.

The department's interdisciplinary research thrust affords an unusually broad range of career possibilities. Graduates of the program have been offered positions in Philosophy, Mathematics, Psychology, Computer Science, and Statistics, as well as research positions in industry. This wide range of interesting career opportunities reflects the department's unique dedication to serious, interdisciplinary research ties.

For a complete listing of our graduates and placement record, see our Ph.D. alumni page.