For Prospective Students

Thinking about applying to Penn Philosophy? We think the Penn program is a great place to do graduate work, but whether it will suit you depends on your interests and desires. Our program is especially strong in history of philosophy (ancient, medieval, early modern, Kant, 19th century), philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and also moral, political, and legal philosophy. We can also offer comprehensive training in other fields, including aesthetics, logic, and cognitive science, and several joint degree programs (M.D./Ph.D., J.D./Ph.D., and J.D./M.A.). You can get a sense of what the faculty works on by looking at the areas of interest by consulting the research pages of our faculty members, as well the descriptions of the department's research interests. From another perspective, you can see the range of research topics students pursue here by looking at the dissertation topics of our current doctoral students and recent graduates.

You can receive more detailed information about the department by writing to our Graduate Coordinator, Ernestine Williams: ernestin@sas.upenn.edu. Applications must be made online to the Graduate Division of Penn's School of Arts and Sciences. This website will allow you to upload your writing sample and transcript as well as requesting letters of recommendation from your recommenders. GRE scores must be forwarded to Penn directly from ETS.

The deadline for application is December 15, and we encourage you to submit your application a few weeks earlier if possible. We do not consider applications outside the December 15 cycle.

In recent years, the philosophy program has received from 100 to 140 applications per year, and made offers of admission to anywhere from 11 to 15 students, with a target incoming class of 5 or 6. The GRE scores of admitted students have averaged in the upper 600s. Our total enrollment is around 30 students, about 20% international, 40% women, 5% minority.

If your application for doctoral work is successful, you will receive an offer of financial aid. Our five-year aid package offers two and one-half years of fellowship support without teaching or other duties (though first-year students help monitor the library), and two and one-half years of service as a teaching fellow or assistant. (The aid package is adjusted for joint-degree programs.) Doctoral study is full-time.

If you receive an offer of admission and aid, it will come in March, and you will need to decide by April 15. The period after you receive the offer is the time to visit the campus to meet the faculty and current students. The Department will notify you of travel funds that may be available to cover at least part of the expense of a visit.

If you have further questions that are not answered in the graduate brochure, please e-mail ernestin@sas.upenn.edu, or write Ernestine Williams at the above address. International students should consult the Office of International Programs (OIP)