Handbook for the Graduate Program in Philosophy
Table of Contents
This Handbook sets out all official requirements, expectations, and advice approved by the Department of Philosophy for its master’s and doctoral programs. Graduate students are responsible for knowing its contents. The Handbook is designed to help students succeed in the program and go on to a rewarding career.
The enforcement of the regulations in this Handbook is tempered by a compassionate common sense. Sometimes nonacademic situations impede compliance. When they do, the student may request an exception after discussing the matter with his or her advisor (see Section IVB1 below). The student should inform his or her advisor, the Director of Graduate Studies, or the Chair as soon as it becomes likely that there is going to be a problem with compliance.
Students are also subject to the rules and regulations set out in The Graduate School Bulletin.
One may pursue a PhD in philosophy, a dual JD/PhD degree or a dual MD/PhD degree, or an MA in the dual JD/MA or MD/MA programs. (Students in the doctoral program may get an MA in passing. But the MD/MA program and the JD/MA program are the only MA programs to which one can be admitted.)
Part-time students are not admitted to the Doctoral program. They may be admitted, however, to the master’s programs.
1. All requirements that concern courses, comprehensives, practica, and logic must be completed within the first 6 semesters as a condition for continuing in the doctoral program and for defense of the dissertation topic (For JD/PhD students, this limit is 12 semesters, and for MD/PhD students, it is 10, to accommodate the time spent taking courses in Law and Medicine).
2. A dissertation committee must be in place by the middle of the 7th semester and a planning session must be held with this committee before the end of the same semester. A formal defense of the proposal must be held by the end of the 8th semester. Students who do not hold a defense by the end of the 8th semester will not be allowed to continue in the program. In case of failure, the student is entitled to a 2nd defense. The deadline for the exercise of this option is the end of the 9th semester. (JD/PhD students should defend by the end of the 12th semester and must defend before the end of the 14th semester; MD/PhD students should defend by the end of the 10th semester and must defend by the end of the 12th).
References to the "end of the semester" in this section and elsewhere in the Handbook are interpreted to mean December 31st in the fall and May 31st in the spring. Please note, however, that deadlines to file applications for the granting of degrees and petitions for extensions of the time to degree are set independently by the Graduate School and vary from year to year. Petitions for extension must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies at least one week before the Graduate School deadline.
3. All requirements for the PhD must be completed within 14 semesters regardless of any exceptions that may have been made for other time limits (JD/PhD and MD/PhD students are likely to need more time and in that case must petition the Graduate School for an extension).
Each dissertation proposal must contain a statement from the dissertation committee indicating what level, if any, of competence is required in languages or other special skills for professional work in the area of the dissertation. The dissertation committee is required to certify that the requisite level of proficiency is acquired by the PhD candidate before the PhD is awarded. The committee may require a genuinely high level of proficiency in one or more languages where that is required for competent work in the field, as in historical or textual studies. The committee may also require other special skills (e.g., knowledge of medicine, advanced knowledge of logic, statistics) as appropriate, possibly in addition to the language requirement.
The dissertation committee will reject proposals regardless of their merit if one cannot show the level of linguistic and technical competence required for the task. It is, therefore, extremely important that supporting abilities likely to be needed for research in one’s area of primary interest be identified as early as possible and cultivated as vigorously as the situation demands.
The Department seeks to provide teaching experience and training for all PhD students, but there is no official teaching requirement for either the PhD or MA degree. Students with scholarships serve as teaching assistants or teaching associates. Students who have completed course and comprehensive requirements generally serve as teaching associates, teaching their own introductory courses. Course credit is not given for teaching.
Student teachers must have a teaching mentor, who is to help the student with his or her teaching, and evaluate the student’s performance (see Section IV B6). The Director of Graduate Studies will meet with students who will be teaching for the first time to devise the best way the Department can be of help.
Student teachers must also sign a Memorandum of Understanding provided by the Department.
At least 15 courses (45 credits) are required and are to be distributed as follows:
All students in the PhD program are required to pass three proseminars: Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics. Students are required to take the proseminars in the first semester of their residency in which they are offered.
All students are required to take three history courses, including at least one from period I and one from period III.
I. Plato to Plotinus
II. Augustine to Suarez
III. Cusa to Hegel
IV. After Hegel to World War II
Any philosophy course at or above the 350 level whose content is from or about the period can be used to satisfy the requirements. That is, the course may focus on particular texts from the period, or be a survey of the period. A four credit survey course that covers both periods I and II (or III and IV) will satisfy the period I (or period III) requirement.
Two advanced topically oriented courses must be taken, one in a normative area and one in nonnormative area. These must be 500 level courses or above. Proseminars do not satisfy this requirement.
All students are required to take PHIL 378, SYMBOLIC LOGIC, and pass with a grade of B or higher. A student can be exempted from this requirement only by passing (with a grade of B or higher) an examination administered by the Department on the material covered in that course. This examination can only be taken once, and it must be taken before the student has registered for PHIL 378. Either way, the logic requirement must be satisfied before the end of the student’s first two semesters in the program. Students who fail the Departmental exam may not simply audit the course.
Introductory logic is a prerequisite for the proseminars in epistemology and metaphysics, but may be taken concurrently.
No more than 1/5 of the credits required for one’s degree can be earned in courses below the 500 level. Courses below the 350 level may not be taken for graduate credit.
The final examinations in the Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Ethics proseminars serve as comprehensive exams. The exams are graded by a board consisting of the proseminar director and two other members of the Department chosen by the director. The proseminar course grade is determined entirely by the proseminar director.
The comprehensive exams will require students to write two or three essays. Four hours will be allowed for each exam. Students must receive a pass from a majority of the board on each essay to pass the exam. (Graders who think one essay is a failure and the other a pass should count the exam as failing.)
Professors may hand out questions in advance. Ideally, answering the questions should be good preparation for the exam. In any case, the readings and lectures in the course should prepare the student to do well. However, the questions to be answered on the exam must not have been seen before. And they must be such that students cannot answer them just by following the lecture notes. Such an answer should be considered failing. While absolute originality cannot be expected, independent thought must be displayed in a satisfactory essay. The professor should distribute the questions to the readers in advance of the exam for comment and approval.
These guidelines help to define the standard by which essays written for the comprehensive exams will be evaluated.
a. Clarify the issue raised in the question and identify the feature or aspect you intend to target in your essay. The board will be looking for evidence of analytical skills.
b. Take a position, present your case, and defend it against a sample of the better counter-arguments found in the current literature or in the classical figures. The board will be looking for cogent argumentation and skillful replies to opposing views.
c. Review and comment on a sample of the more important literature (classical or recent) that bears directly on the substance of your essay. The board will be looking for evidence of both
independent critical judgment and familiarity with the best that has been written on the matter
you are discussing.
Students who fail the examination but pass the course must re-take the proseminar as an independent study, and as an additional (i.e. 16th) course. The professor should tailor other requirements to the student’s needs as appropriate, but the student must pass the regular final exam in the course. Students who fail on this second attempt may not proceed to the PhD.
In the event of a failure, the board is required to provide the examinee with a written report on its evaluation of each of the essays. This report should accompany or closely follow the formal notice about the outcome of the comprehensive, which should be given no later than three weeks after the exam is taken.
If the board believes that the comprehensive exam is exceptionally good, it may award ‘distinction’ The Department will report to the Graduate School that distinction has been received on the comprehensive exams if the student is awarded distinction on two of the three comprehensive exams.
There is a strong prima facie presumption that students who have passed all their courses with at least a B average, passed their comprehensive exams, and fulfilled the distribution requirements, will be admitted to candidacy. However, it is important to understand that a dissertation requires significantly more in terms of originality and detail of argument than is necessary to receive a passing grade for a term paper. While it is rare that anyone's work in a course will meet the standards of a successful dissertation, it is to be expected that in at least some courses students will demonstrate potential for production at the level required for a successful dissertation. If, in the view of their various professors, a student consistently fails to show the necessary aptitude for work at the dissertation level, the graduate committee will begin a careful review of the student's work, no later than the end of Spring semester of the student's second year.
Before the end of the Spring semester, the Director of Graduate Studies will submit to the Chair and the Graduate Committee a list of all second year students who may not have shown sufficient evidence of ability to be admitted to candidacy. The committee will meet and solicit input from every faculty member who has taught the student in question. If it is determined by the Graduate Committee that the student is in danger of not being admitted to candidacy, the Director of Graduate Studies will write up a detailed accounting of the problems, deficiencies, and necessary work to demonstrate sufficient promise and the student will be placed on probation for his or her third year. During this year, it is the responsibility of the student to demonstrate sufficient potential for dissertation level work. At the completion of the third year, students on probation will be assessed by the entire graduate committee, after soliciting input from all faculty who have taught or otherwise worked with them. It will require a unanimous vote of the graduate committee to deny candidacy to a student who has otherwise satisfied all course and comprehensive requirements. If a student was not placed on probation, admission to candidacy will be automatic.
All students must take the zero-credit Dissertation Transition Seminar, designed to help them bridge the gap between courses and dissertation work. This will normally be taken in the student’s third year, though it may be taken earlier by those who have entered the program with advanced standing. It is expected that students will have a dissertation mentor and at least one reader by the end of that seminar.
Every dissertation must be approved by a committee of at least three and no more than four, consisting of a Director (Mentor), a First Reader, and one or two Second Readers. The Director and all but one member of the committee must be a member of the Primary Dissertation Faculty (see Section IV K). (A student who wishes to have a larger committee, or more than one non-Primary member, may petition the Graduate Committee for an exception to these rules. No other exceptions will be allowed.) Readers from outside the University must hold a terminal degree for a faculty position in that field. They must also either be members of the faculty of another university or hold a professional appointment in a non-academic research institution that is equivalent to the rank of assistant professor or above. Students who are unable to put together a dissertation committee should bring this to the attention of the Director of Graduate Studies.
As a prerequisite for admission to candidacy for the PhD, one must formally defend a thesis proposal. After the completion of the course work, therefore, the Director of Graduate studies should be asked to appoint a mentor who will supervise the student's preparation for the thesis proposal defense.
The proposal defense may not take place unless all the requirements that concern courses, comprehensives, practica, logic, and language have been met.
During the 6th semester and the following summer, the student should begin to define the areas and issues on which the dissertation is to be focused. At the beginning of the 7th semester a mentor should be selected with whom the results of these reflections may be discussed.
The committee (a Mentor and 2 Readers) must be in place before the middle of the 7th semester.
A planning session must be held with this committee before the end of the 7th semester. The objectives of this meeting are:
* To outline the project and identify an appropriate strategy;
* To determine whether the project can make a worthwhile contribution to the literature on the subject;
* To determine whether the project can be completed within the Department's time limits;
* To plan a bibliographic mapping of the area;
* To define the committee's expectations with regard to the form and content of the Proposal.
A formal defense of a written proposal must be held by the end of the 8th semester. Its purpose is to determine whether there exists sufficient promise of success to let the project go forward. Evidence for this decision is to be looked for under the following headings:
* Is the student's command of the relevant literature adequate?
* Would the dissertation make a distinctive contribution to the field?
* Does the proposal contain a clear and cogent argument?
* Is the writing at or near publishable quality?
* Could the project be kept on schedule?
The committee must vote to pass or fail the proposal's defense. In the event that the committee votes to fail, the mentor must submit a report to the Department Chair with a copy sent directly to the student in which all grounds for failure are laid out in detail. This report must be submitted within one week after the defense. The student is entitled to a second defense, for which the time limit is the end of the 9th semester. Students who fail to hold a defense by the end of the 8th semester, or fail to pass by the end of the 9th semester, will not be allowed to continue in the program.
The Graduate School provides a form (found here) that must be completed by the student and signed by all members of the board. The department imposes no limits on proposals, but the Graduate School strictly adheres to the word limits noted for each section of the proposal form.
The dissertation board is officially appointed when the Graduate School proposal defense form is signed by the Chair or Director of Graduate Studies. This commits the Department to helping the student find a replacement in case one of its members leaves. It also commits the Department to listening to complaints the student may have about the assistance he or she is receiving. In the absence of this appointment, the Department is not responsible for the composition of any group with whom the student may be working or the quality of its direction.
The successful defense of a dissertation proposal before an appointed board commits the Department to mediating on behalf of the student against any subsequent attempt to have the topic significantly altered if the student objects to the change. In the absence of this formal approval, the Department has no responsibility for the topic.
In the dissertation stage of the program, one is expected to demonstrate the ability to produce original scholarship of publishable quality. Because this stage must emphasize the independence of the student’s work, it may place one at special risk in regard to the program’s time limit. For this and other reasons, a progress report on the dissertation must be prepared by the student each year following the successful defense of the topic and submitted to the mentor before April 15. The report must specify what portions of the dissertation have been drafted or completed, and what remains to be completed. The portions that are reported as having been drafted or completed since the previous year’s report should be submitted to the Mentor and the Readers and kept with the report.
After consultation with the Readers, the Mentor must review this report and send the Director of Graduate Studies a concise, frank appraisal of the student’s progress by May 1. If the Mentor and Readers have not seen the submitted drafts before, and cannot review them by May 1, the Mentor should submit an updated report by September 1, that includes an assessment of whether the written work to date constitutes sufficient progress to the degree. If any member of the committee has concerns about whether the student will complete a satisfactory dissertation, they should be noted in the report.
Mentors are expected to promptly read all material submitted by the dissertation student. The Mentor has the responsibility of deciding when submitted material is ready to send to the Readers. Chapters that are complete and relatively polished should be released to the Readers as soon as possible. Mentors are encouraged to discuss with the Readers, in advance, their role in the process from the proposal defense to the final public oral defense, including both discussions to be had with the student and material to be read.
Under no circumstances may a dissertation project stray so far from its approved topic that it is no longer centered on that topic without the explicit approval of the Graduate Program Committee. Cases of doubt about the direction of a dissertation must be brought immediately by the Mentor to the Graduate Program Committee.
The dissertation cannot be defended unless a committee has been appointed and a proposal successfully defended. Before a dissertation defense can be scheduled, the student’s committee must certify by majority vote that the dissertation is “ready for defense” That is, the committee must certify that there is reasonable expectation both
a. that the student will be able to address any questions about or shortcomings in the dissertation,
b. that only minor revisions will be required after the defense.
The Mentor must schedule the dissertation defense in consultation with the Readers. The final draft of the Dissertation must be submitted to the Chair of the Department at least two weeks in advance of its defense.
Doctoral students must submit a Thesis Reviewers Report to the Graduate School at least one week prior to the scheduled oral defense. This form must be signed by the student’s advisor and committee members certifying that the dissertation is “ready for defense”. In addition, doctoral students must post their defense information to the Doctoral Dissertation Defense Schedule.
Students should visit the Graduate School one month in advance of the dissertation defense to discuss procedures for degree completion and graduation.
All defenses are public in the sense that the time and place are announced in the Department three weeks in advance and all faculty and graduate students may attend. If one intends to participate in the questioning, the Mentor should be informed before the defense. The defense may not be scheduled during the summer semester (students may petition the Director of Graduate Studies if an exception is necessary).
The candidate will be considered to have passed the dissertation defense when the committee certifies by majority vote that the defense was “successful”. (In a four person committee, three must approve.) That is, the committee must certify that the candidate has satisfactorily addressed any questions about and shortcomings in the dissertation, and that no major revisions are required.
Dissertation defenses should ordinarily not be held unless the committee expects that the defense will be successful with the dissertation approved as is. Nevertheless, the dissertation committee may on occasion approve the dissertation conditionally to allow for minor changes. In that case, the Mentor must submit to the Department Chair in writing a statement signed by all members of the committee, clearly indicating what needs to be done before the dissertation is to be considered approved and when it needs to be done.
In summary, the dissertation stage of the program has six formal requirements, in addition to writing an original dissertation of publishable quality:
1. Third Year Seminar
2. Selection of the Dissertation Committee;
3. Planning Session;
4. The Thesis Proposal Defense;
5. Annual Progress Reports;
6. The Final Public Oral Defense.
Students may receive a master's degree en passant or dually with the MD or JD.
All students in the dual JD/MA or MD/MA programs must complete 30 credit hours of course work in Philosophy (or 24 credit hours of course work plus a thesis) and pass one of the three doctoral qualifying exams.
The final examinations in the proseminars serve as qualifying exams, as described under the PhD program (Qualifying Examinations). Students in the MA program must pass at least one of the qualifying exams at the same level as doctoral candidates. Master's students who pass a proseminar but fail the comprehensive exam are not required to retake that proseminar if they pass the comprehensive exam given in another proseminar. A master's student passing both required proseminars while failing both comprehensive exams must retake one of the proseminars as an independent study and as an additional course. Students who fail on this second attempt may not be awarded the MA.
If one elects to write a master's thesis, a committee consisting of a director and two readers must be appointed by the Department and the Graduate School requirements must be met.
Students in any area of the doctoral program who wish to receive an MA en passant must have completed 30 credit hours of course work and passed one of the three doctoral qualifying exams.
All requirements for the MA must be completed within 6 semesters.
The candidate is required to know the regulations of the Graduate School as published in its Bulletin. Since these regulations contribute to an orderly and fair management of our program, we expect everyone to follow them carefully. The Department will help the Graduate School with their enforcement wherever such help is appropriate.
A Bachelor's degree, preferably with a major in Philosophy, is required for admission to the graduate program in Philosophy. However, this preference (a major in philosophy) may be waived by the Admissions Committee in the case of otherwise exceptional students.
The Department and the Graduate School offer a limited number of fellowships. These normally consist of tuition remission plus a stipend. A student receiving a fellowship has the obligation to serve as a teaching or research assistant for up to 15 hours per week, or to serve as a teaching associate at the direction of the chair.
Scholarships awarded at the time of admission are officially granted for one year, and are ordinarily renewed for up to five years provided that the student remains in good standing (see Section IV D2).
Students who were not awarded financial aid upon admission may apply again in subsequent years. Such students should submit a letter setting out his or her qualifications in terms of the criteria listed above. The letter, as well as any other material the student may wish the Admissions Committee to consider, should be sent to the Chair of the Admissions Committee, with a copy to the Chair of the Department. See the Chair of the Admissions Committee if there are any questions.
After the normal five year period of support ends, the Chair assigns teaching associateships and assistantships on the basis of need and budgetary resources
The Graduate Admissions Committee employs the following criteria in awarding teaching fellowships.
a. Academic qualifications as inferred from papers, GRE scores, transcripts, recommendations, the letter of intent, and other relevant evidence. For students already in the program the evaluation by the Georgetown University faculty plays an important role.
b. Type and amount of financial support previously received from Georgetown University, including the years in which the support was received.
c. The applicant’s capability for performing the services typically required of teaching assistants or associates.
One of the distinctive features of the Department’s graduate program is the individualized support it provides each student. No two candidates enter the program with the same set of ambitions, talents, and deficiencies. Therefore, we try to provide direction and support that is precisely tailored to each person’s situation and keep continuously in touch with that situation as it changes over time. This assistance is provided through two distinct but closely connected procedures. Here is a brief description of how they work.
a. During the period prior to the appointment of the dissertation committee, the Director of the Graduate Program will serve as the student’s advisor. In exceptional cases, the student may petition to have an alternative advisor.
b. The purpose of the advisor is to provide the student with ready access to well-informed advice and to represent his or her situation and point of view to the Department. In all matters, the chief concern of the advisor will be the student’s overall academic well-being. With this in mind, the advisor (a) discusses course selections; (b) must receive and discuss with the student his or her reasons for wanting an exception to a rule or filing a grievance before either is sent to the Graduate Committee; (c) may advise the Chair of the Department and the Graduate Program Committee in regard to the student’s overall situation; and (d) may serve as the student’s advocate in matters that could involve a penalty.
c. Everyone should meet with her or his advisor sometime during the Spring semester and prior to the Graduate Program Committee’s annual review in April. This discussion should focus on the student’s performance in the program and his or her professional ambitions. A reminder to set up this meeting will be sent out early in the semester. It is expected, however, that there will be meetings occasionally during the year that will enable the advisor to become familiar with the student’s academic situation.
In the doctoral program, the student may receive recognition for graduate work done in another university. Such recognition becomes effective only after 9 credit hours of work (excluding the Clinical Practicum) have been completed in the Department. The student must have a B average or higher for all work done in the Department before receiving the advanced placement.
Normally 45 credit hours of course work at the graduate level are required for the PhD and 30 for the MA. If the Department and the Graduate School recognize a graduate degree in philosophy already received from another university, the student may apply for up to 30 credits of advanced standing. If graduate credits have been earned in philosophy but not applied to any degree, the student may apply to transfer up to 25% of the total number of credits required for the PhD or MA in philosophy after any credits of advanced standing have been awarded. Students wishing advanced standing or transfer of credit should consult the rules in the Graduate Student Bulletin, and work with the Director of Graduate Studies. Proposals to transfer credit must be submitted in writing to and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Proposals for advanced standing must be submitted in writing to and approved by the Graduate Program Committee. Unlike transfer of credit, advanced standing will be awarded only in exceptional circumstances, and only when previous course work prepares the student for the expected dissertation project.
a. Approval for courses taken outside Georgetown University will not be given if equivalent courses are currently available in the University.
b. Approval for courses outside the Consortium of Universities in Washington, DC will not be given if equivalent courses are available in the Consortium.
c. A maximum of 9 credits in fields outside of philosophy may be counted toward the PhD. Each course must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies.
The tutorial is to be used exclusively either for advanced work in areas where the student possesses a level of competence beyond that provided by courses in the Department and the Consortium, or to remedy a serious disadvantage created for the student by the unavailability at Georgetown or in the Consortium of a course that is normally a part of their program. (This exception is not to be construed as applying to difficulties arising out of a conflict of schedules.) It is expected that in regard to both standards and supervision, tutorials will be at least the equivalent of seminars. The approval of the Chair is required.
In order to ensure responsible faculty supervision of teaching assistants, the following policies are binding on all instructors who accept teaching assistants:
a. Instructors who are assisted by teaching assistants should be substantially involved in the process of reading and grading their students’ work. Under no circumstances should a teaching assistant do all of the reading and grading in a course. The mode of the instructor’s involvement in reading and grading may take different forms. For example, the instructor might take primary responsibility for reading and grading a substantial fraction of the work submitted by students (say, one third or one half), or after the teaching assistant has read, commented on, and graded students’ work, the instructor might read through more casually all the work. (Instructors in large lecture, small-discussion format courses will of necessity do a smaller proportion of the grading, while devoting more time to directing and collaborating with the graduate student assistants to assure that course goals are consistently achieved. Instructors who teach such courses may forgo running a discussion section and grading only if he or she teaches a second course that semester rather than receiving a large-course teaching credit.)
b. At the beginning of each semester instructors should discuss in detail their general grading criteria and the objectives of their grading system with their teaching assistants.
c. Instructors should supervise their teaching assistants’ commentary on papers for both style and content. In particular, each instructor should take care, at the beginning of his or her working relationship with a teaching assistant, to examine the assistant’s proposed commentary on and grades for a representative sample of work, in order to guide the assistant in how to comment on papers.
Teaching assistants are not just assisting instructors in teaching courses, but also are learning how to teach, eventually assuming full responsibility for sections of general education courses during his or her fifth year. The following policy is therefore recommended to all instructors:
d. Instructors should seek to develop contexts in which their teaching assistants can gain teaching experience, including, but not limited to, delivering supervised lectures for their instructors and/or leading discussions either during official class time or outside of class.
e. Professors must provide brief written evaluations of the performance of their teaching assistants each semester.
In order to help our graduate students master the art of teaching, and ensure that the undergraduate students they instruct get the best possible education, the Department has instituted a teaching mentoring program. Each "teaching associate" (graduate student who receives a teaching appointment in the Department) will be assigned a mentor from among the full-time faculty.
a. Teaching Associate Responsibilities
In order to help our graduate students master the art of teaching, and ensure that the undergraduate students they instruct get the best possible education, the Department has instituted a teaching mentoring program. Each "teaching associate" (graduate student who receives a teaching appointment in the Department) will be assigned a mentor from among the full-time faculty.
a. Teaching Associate Responsibilities
Each semester, graduate students teaching their own courses need to submit the following to the CTA (who will consult with the Undergraduate Committee) and their teaching mentor (where appropriate):
(i) Proposed course title for following semester by January 20 / September 10.
(ii) Course description for following semester: at least one paragraph by end of February / mid-September to be approved by the Undergraduate Committee.
(iii) Name of Teaching Mentor for the following Fall by December 1 for first time teachers, and January 20 for all others. If possible, the mentor should be kept for at least one year.
(iv) Indication that they are enrolled in the Apprenticeship in Teaching Program (CNDLS) (or if they have excellent reasons for being unable to do so, an appeal to the Undergraduate Committee.)
(v) Course Syllabus to mentor before course starts; to Undergraduate Committee by end of that semester.
(vi) Mid-semester course evaluations (which can be done with the help of CNDLS.)
(vii) Course evaluations that they’ve obtained in class need to be reviewed with their course mentor. (These do not need to be submitted to the DUS.) They also need to be saved to enhance employment prospects. Also, inform the CTA if there are problems with the mentor, and fill out a questionnaire at the end.
b. Teaching Mentor Responsibilities
(i) Participate in preparation of syllabus and choice of texts
(ii) Visit class at least once.
(iii) Discuss the mid-semester evaluation with the mentee, setting out objectives for remainder of semester responsive to student feedback.
(iv) Submit a brief (about one paragraph) and candid teaching evaluation of mentee to the CTA by January 15 (Fall) or June 15 (Spring). On those rare occasions when there are grave concerns, it is the obligation of the mentor to share them with the Chair and the CTA.
(v) Review and discuss the end of semester student teaching evaluations with their mentee when the evaluations become available.
(vi) Serve as mentor for the purposes of CNDLS’s Apprenticeship in Teaching Program, if possible.
There is an expectation that senior faculty members mentor at least one, but no more than two, graduate students each semester, unless they are teaching courses with four or more TA's (in which case the expectation is none). Junior faculty are expected to mentor no more than one graduate student.
a. The Department of Philosophy and the Georgetown Law Center offer a dual program leading to either a PhD or MA in Philosophy and the JD in Law.
b. The student must be in the JD program at the Georgetown Law Center
c. For JD/PhD students, the first year of law, and the first year of philosophy, must be taken as intact blocks.
d. Up to 9 credits for law school courses may be applied toward the PhD in Philosophy, and up to 6 for the MA. The burden rests with the student to show that courses proposed for double-counting contribute significantly to her/his work in our program.
e. The degree in Philosophy will not be granted before the completion of the degree in Law.
f. Requests to double-count a Law course toward the degree in Philosophy should be addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies and a copy should be sent to the Graduate School. This will make it possible to have the course printed on the Graduate School transcript.
a. The Department of Philosophy and the Georgetown University School of Medicine offer a dual degree program leading to both the MA in Philosophy and the MD degrees (arranged through the Center for Clinical Bioethics at the Medical School), or the PhD and MD (arranged through the Dean of Research at the Medical School).
b. The program will be offered only to students at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
c. For MD/PhD students, the first 2 years of medical school must be taken as an intact block, as well as the first year of philosophy.
d. Up to 9 credits for medical school courses may be applied toward the PhD in Philosophy and up to 6 for the MA. The burden rests with the student to show that courses proposed for double counting contribute significantly to his or her work in Philosophy. Requests for double counting toward the degree in Philosophy should be addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies and a copy should be sent to the Graduate School.
e. Admissions requirements: Students applying for the dual degree should contact the Center for Clinical Bioethics or Dean of Research at the time of their application to the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Arrangements for application to the Philosophy Department will then be made. Students are required to take both the GRE and the MCAT exams. Students already enrolled in the Medical School may also apply to the Philosophy Department during their first or second years in Medical School.
Through an agreement between Georgetown University and The Johns Hopkins University, graduate students in the Department of Philosophy interested in pertinent aspects of public health are able to enroll in courses at Johns Hopkins, with a limited number of credits earned applicable to satisfaction of degree program requirements at Georgetown. This program is known as the “Visiting Scholars Program”. It has been conceived to offer students exposure to different aspects of philosophy and bioethics, since it allows students to pursue areas not emphasized at Georgetown: epidemiology, health policy, health economics, cost and risk-benefit analysis, cost effectiveness, health care resource allocation, public health law, and international health.
b. Registration and Credits
Students registered at Georgetown as doctoral students may take up to eighteen (18) quarter units at Johns Hopkins, equivalent to nine (9) semester units at Georgetown, applicable toward their Georgetown degree. Master’s students may take up to twelve (12) quarter units (six semester units) at Johns Hopkins, also applicable toward their Georgetown degree. In both cases, all registration is done at Georgetown and all fees are paid to Georgetown. So far as the units taken at Johns Hopkins do not place the total credits over the maximum allowed for a single semester, the fees for all courses taken at Johns Hopkins will be included in the student’s Georgetown tuition.
The School of Hygiene and Public Health operates on an eight-week quarter system, so scheduling must be planned so as not to conflict with Georgetown classes. In addition, it is advisable to complete at least the first semester of graduate course work in Philosophy before selecting which, if any, classes at Johns Hopkins would be appropriate. Because the number of units is so limited, it is important to choose carefully and after consultation with a member of the Faculty Committee for the Visiting Scholars Program. For such consultation and any other information regarding this program call either Dr. Ruth Faden (Johns Hopkins: 301-955-3018), or Tom Beauchamp (Georgetown: 202-687-6726).
One may be enrolled simultaneously in degree programs that are not part of an official dual degree program by declaring the philosophy program as primary and the other program as secondary. All official entries into one’s graduate school record will be made through the philosophy program until it is finished. At that point, such entries will be made through the remaining program.
Letter grades have the following broadly defined meanings. They express an evaluation of the student's work as measured against the standard of professional excellence endorsed by the Department and promoted by its program. Although this sort of evaluation does not admit of mathematical precision, it does rely on a general sense of limits that is sufficient to protect both the student and the standard from serious abuse.
A: Truly outstanding work. Exemplifies an unusually high standard of quality in this Department. The work clearly shows a high degree of aptitude for philosophy and professional promise.
Although there is no rule, it is expected that this grade will not be common, but rather a feather in the cap of the student who receives it.
A-: Very good work, meeting a high standard of quality. "A-" is a commendation, and not a default grade that students should expect to receive, nor faculty expect to give.
B+: Solid Work. It meets the standards for graduate level work in this Department.
B: Adequate but undistinguished work. It is not egregiously sub-standard, but we would not expect a student to perform at this level on a continuing basis.
B-: Marginal Work. The student should receive credit for the work, but it had too many deficiencies. While a student who performs at this level in a few courses might nevertheless do well in the program, consistent work at this level would mean that the student does not have the aptitude or motivation necessary to receive a graduate degree in this Department.
C: Minimally passing work. The student receives credit for the course, but this grade is a large red flag, immediately raising questions as to whether the student has the aptitude or motivation necessary to receive a graduate degree in the department.
F: Unacceptable graduate level work. Receiving an "F" in a course should call for special attention and monitoring by the Director of Graduate Studies. Receiving two "F"s automatically triggers a dismissal from the program.
If a "B" (3.0) average is not maintained, the matter will be referred to the Graduate Program Committee. This committee will either recommend termination of the student’s admission to the Department’s program or allow him or her not more than 3 additional courses in which to bring the average up to the required level. All work for these additional courses would have to be completed by the end of the semester in which they were taken. If the B average is not achieved, admission to the program is automatically terminated. Courses taken beyond the credits required for the degree cannot be used to change the average achieved before the limit was reached.
For students in the doctoral program, the absolute deadline for submission of all work in the Fall semester is the first day of classes during the following Spring semester. The deadline for submission of all work in the Spring semester is July 1. Faculty are encouraged to submit grades as soon as possible, but the deadline for submitting grades for incomplete work from the Fall is March 31. For the Spring, the deadline for submission of grades the Friday before the first day of classes in the following Fall semester.
Students who are taking three courses in the Fall semester may extend the deadline for one of them to the third Friday in January. The Chair or Director of Graduate Studies must receive this request by the first day of the spring semester, and it must be supported by the professor of the course. This is the only case in which students can complete work for one semester during a later semester.
Procedurally, the Department will require all work submitted after the last day of the final exam period to be handed in by the deadline to the Department Administrator, who will record its receipt, distribute it to the Professor, and make sure that a grade is submitted in a timely fashion. Nothing submitted after the deadline will be accepted.
The consequences of failing to complete all incomplete work by the deadline are as follows:
The student either receives an F on the incomplete assignment and receives a grade in the course, or takes a one-semester leave of absence approved by the Graduate Program Committee to complete the work. Permanent incompletes are not allowed by the Graduate School. If a grade is not posted by the end of the semester following the course, the grade automatically turns into an F.
The Graduate Program Committee will conduct an immediate review of the student’s record; in that review, all aspects of the student’s situation, including medical emergencies and personal crises, will be considered.
The deadlines for other requirements will not change.
For students pursuing a master’s degree, incompletes should be arranged with the professor.
If a student fails one course, the Graduate Program Committee will review the student’s complete record to determine whether he or she may continue in the program. A second failure automatically terminates the student’s enrollment.
Any complaint to which one wants a response from the Department should be brought first to the Director of Graduate Studies. If the matter cannot be resolved by the Director, it will then be presented to the Graduate Program Committee. This committee is the Department’s final court of appeal for student complaints.
Complaints to the Department about the outcome of an examination must be supported by proof that either the examination itself failed to meet some published standard in the course or the program or the professor or board misread what the student wrote.
Before filing a complaint, the student should discuss the matter with his or her Advisor.
It is expected that all students in the program will uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Cheating on exams, or failing to explicitly and adequately identify the source of all unoriginal material in any work submitted toward a degree, will be regarded as sufficient reason for immediate and permanent dismissal from the Department’s graduate programs. See the Graduate Bulletin.
It is expected that students will be in residence in the Department while pursuing their degree so that they can participate in and take full advantage of the intellectual community. Sometimes, however, students (especially those at dissertation stage) may have special reason to live elsewhere. This may be either because of a special personal situation or because of a desire to pursue a special educational opportunity elsewhere. Students wishing to remain in the program without maintaining residence must get official permission from the Department to do so. Requests should be forwarded to the DGS, with a brief summary of the reasons for the request and explanation of plans for the time that they will be away. Students requesting off-site status should do so before January 1st for the following academic year. Requests received after that date will be considered, but may be more difficult to grant.
The Graduate School allows up to four semesters leave of absence. The Graduate School will not consider requests for personal (non-medical, non-military) leaves unless the reasons for requesting the leave would prevent the student from making significant progress on the dissertation. A leave will not be granted simply for the purpose of extending the time permitted to complete the dissertation. The Department discourages leaves of absence for non-emergency reasons until substantial progress has been made on the dissertation.
All requests for a leave of absence must be approved by the Graduate Committee together with the Chair of the Department. The student’s record, along with the Mentor’s and Readers’ written evaluation of the work on the dissertation, must be considered before approving a non-emergency leave.
Students receiving fellowships who wish to take a leave of absence must notify the Department by May 15 if the leave is desired for the following Fall semester or by December 1 if the leave is desired for the following Spring semester. If a fellowship student takes a leave before receiving the full five years of support, the Department cannot guarantee that funds will be available when the student returns to the program.
Students wishing an exception from any Department requirement should address a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies that gives the reasons for the request. The request will then be considered by the Graduate Program Committee. Only the Graduate Program Committee with concurrence of the Chair can approve exceptions to Departmental policies. Before requesting an exception, the student should discuss the matter with his or her Advisor or Mentor.
Requests for an extension of the time for completing the degree also requires approval of the student's Mentor, who must provide a letter to the Graduate Program Committee evaluating the student's progress to date and evaluating the student's plans for completion.
Students who have been dismissed from the program during the dissertation stage due to failure to complete the project during the allowed time are not eligible for readmission except under the following conditions.
* The dissertation committee must affirm that the project was moving in the direction of and getting fairly close to satisfactory completion before running out of time.
* New material submitted in support of the application must be continuous with the original project and judged by the committee to be of high quality.
* If readmitted, the student would return to the original committee and must complete all requirements for the degree within six months of the date of readmission.
This eligibility terminates within two years from the date of dismissal. The decision to petition the Graduate School to readmit the student rests with the Graduate Program Committee. The Graduate School must approve any request for readmission.
A copy of all correspondence between the Department and the student will be placed in the student’s file.
Graduate students may review some specific official records, files, and data relating to themselves on file in the Department. The files to which students have access include identifying data, academic work, and completed grades. Letters of recommendation (when confidentiality is not waived) are not available for inspection. The detailed written evaluations for each course (see Section IV D1) may be reviewed by the student. Requests to see materials should be made in writing to the Chair of the Department. The permitted records, files and/or data will be made available to the student as soon as possible.
Students may make a written request for a review of information which they judge to be inaccurate and/ or misleading. The review will be conducted by a person appointed by the Chair who does not have a direct interest in the outcome.
Student records, files, and data will be made available to other individuals or agencies outside of the Department only after the student has authorized the release of information. However, the following are exceptions: appropriate Georgetown officials; offices responding to a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid; appropriate persons in the case of an emergency if the knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student or other persons; directory information (address, telephone, etc.) unless the student requests otherwise.
1. Students must attend the annual meeting held by the Placement Committee during his or her first year in the program and again in the year in which the student enters the job market.
2. The Placement Committee helps students assemble their dossiers and plan strategies for job seeking and interviewing, and handles mailing of the dossiers.
3. All candidates are encouraged to update their file every year. Outdated information can be just as harmful in an application as poor recommendations.
4. The Department recommends that the candidate subscribe to “Jobs for Philosophers” and plan to attend the American Philosophical Association divisional meetings where interviews are held and contacts made.
Wilfried Ver Eecke
PhD Requirements: Everyone
Preseminars: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics: R
3 History Courses: (including period I and III): R
2 Advanced Topical Courses: R
Language or Special Skills: D
D: Discretionary (will be decided by dissertation committee at proposal defense)
- Professor Henry Richardson elected to lead HDCA
- Professor Nancy Sherman participates in Religion & Ethics Newsweekly's Discussion
- Professor Henninger's translation of Amerini's "Aquinas" Released
- Professor Nancy Sherman Receives 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship
- Georgetown Graduate Matthew Rellihan Receives Tenure at Seattle University
- Mar 21, All day: Graduate Admissions Open House
- Mar 28, 3pm-5pm: Lecture Series: Mary Domski
- Apr 25, All day: Symposium: Toward a Constructive Ethical Pragmatism