Learning Outcomes: Philosophy, PhD

Learning Outcomes for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy


The Philosophy Department aims to produce five main learning outcomes.

  1. Philosophical Knowledge: Students will have expert-level familiarity with major figures and movements in the history of western philosophy; with central topics, theories, and debates in epistemology and metaphysics, in ethics and value theory, and in logic; and with current developments in professional philosophy.
  2. Philosophical Reading: Students will have expert-level ability to analyze persuasive and argumentative prose: identifying the main claims asserted, the reasons alleged to support those claims, and the logical relations between the claims and the reasons, including identifying any gaps in the arguments.
  3. Philosophical Inquiry: Students will expert-level ability to formulate abstract principles in epistemology and metaphysics, in ethics and value theory, in logic, and in related special topic areas in philosophy; they will have expert-level ability to identify consequences of the principles they formulate, and they will have expert-level ability to construct arguments for those principles and compare them to competing principles.
  4. Philosophical Writing: Students will have expert-level ability to write clearly and with logical precision on a wide range of important issues, including (but not limited to): civic and social challenges at local, national, and global levels; social and cultural issues related to race, indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, language, and disability; and the ways that complex, interdependent global systems—natural, environmental, social, cultural, economic, and political—affect and are affected by the local identities and ethical choices of individuals and institutions.
  5. Professional Development: Students are familiar with conference norms, journal publication standards, and venues, and the requirements for teaching college-level courses in philosophy.