The Department of Philosophy at Wayne State University offers both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy. 

Graduate study in philosophy may be pursued and graduate degrees in philosophy may be sought for various reasons. The M.A. program may be pursued to enhance one's knowledge and appreciation of philosophy, to complement one's work in another field, or to prepare for or make up one's mind about pursuing the Ph.D. The Ph.D. program is designed especially, though not exclusively, for those wishing to prepare for a career as professional philosophers. (For a list of recent Ph.D.s, their dissertation titles, and their current employment, click here.)

For detailed information about policies and requirements for our graduate programs, please see our Graduate Student Handbook.

Our Department

The department's strength is its distinctive approach and vision, centering on the fundamental areas in analytic philosophy. Within that tradition, we offer courses in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, the history of philosophy, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of art, and the philosophy of law. For descriptions of our courses, click here. To see current and future course offerings, click here.

The faculty of the Philosophy Department have been trained at some of the leading universities in the United States. In their publications, in departmental colloquia, and in their classes, they continue a tradition of lively and penetrating discussion of philosophical issues for which the Wayne State Philosophy Department has long been noted. The size of our program (eleven faculty and roughly twenty-five graduate students) allows for considerable faculty-student interaction.

The department maintains an active colloquium program, in which both graduate students and faculty participate fully. We also have, in the department, a library of both books and journals, in addition to the university's library collections.

Financial Aid  

We currently provide financial support to over 80% of our Ph.D. students in the form of university fellowships, graduate teaching assistantships, and adjunct teaching work. If you are applying to the Ph.D. program and wish to be considered for such support, please indicate this in your cover letter. For more information about opportunities for financial aid, see the department's Graduate Student Handbook and the Graduate Financial Aid site.

Admission Guidelines

Prospective students should indicate to which program they are seeking admission: the M.A. or Ph.D. Although the M.A. is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program, students who do not have a substantial background in philosophy are advised to apply first for admission to the M.A. program. A student who performs well in the M.A. program may later be admitted to the Ph.D. program, and credits earned toward the M.A. may be applied to the Ph.D.

For the M.A.

Students are expected to have a minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.75 from an accredited college or 3.0 from an unaccredited college, in upper division (approximately the last 60 credits) undergraduate courses. (Any applicant whose GPA falls below this standard may be asked to submit scores from a recent Graduate Record Examination. Otherwise, the university does not require GRE scores.)

It is desirable to have taken courses on logic, value theory, and the history of philosophy, though applicants without any (or minimal) undergraduate philosophy courses are not discouraged from applying. Students applying for admission to the M.A. program whose preparation is deemed insufficient may be asked to take courses as a non-degree student before being considered for admission. Some credits earned under non-degree status can be applied to the M.A. once the student is admitted.

For the Ph.D.

An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 for upper division undergraduate courses. The applicant should have completed an undergraduate major or have done substantial work in philosophy. Students who apply for admission to the Ph.D. program whose preparation is deemed insufficient may be admitted to the M.A. program.

Application Procedures

Applicants for admission to either the M.A. or Ph.D. program must submit an online application with the Office of Graduate Admissions. Instructions, university requirements, and the online application can be found at wayne.edu/admissions/graduate.

In addition to meeting the university requirements, applicants must also submit the following as part of their online applications:

For the M.A. 

  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample (preferably on a philosophical topic)
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably from instructors who are in a position to assess the applicant's capacity for graduate work in philosophy)

For the Ph.D.: 

  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample (which must be on a philosophical topic)
  • Three letters of recommendation (which must be from instructors who are in a position to assess the applicant's capacity for graduate work in philosophy)

Deadlines: To be assured of consideration, students should apply before May 1 for admission to the Fall Semester, and October 1 for admission to the Winter Semester. Students may apply after these deadlines, but there may be insufficient time to process such applications. Students who wish to be considered for Graduate Teaching Assistantships or Fellowships are encouraged to submit all application materials by January 15, although we will continue to consider students for aid after that date as resources permit.


Questions concerning admission to our graduate programs, the application process, and the status of applications should be directed to:

Director of Graduate Studies, Assessment and Admissions
Email: Philosophy_DGS@wayne.edu

Further Information

Department Links

Wayne State Links


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