Graduate Study in Philosophy
Focus on specific areas of philosophy and get your grades up.
In getting a great education, grades tell only part of the story, and they matter less than the intrinsic merits of whatever you study. But when it comes to graduate study in the humanities, doing excellent and in-depth work in your major is imperative. URI Philosophy majors who have succeeded in obtaining admission with funding to graduate programs in philosophy have almost all graduated magna cum laude (3.5-3.7) or summa cum laude (3.7-4.0).
Complete the Honors Program and write a philosophy thesis.
It is vital to conduct research prior to applying for any philosophy graduate program, and while that can be accomplished through the Philosophy major (PHL 499), it is preferable to complete a thesis for your senior Honors project. The Honors Program provides enhanced access to research support. It not only guides students in developing Honors Project proposals; it co-administers the Undergraduate Research Awards initiative, houses the National Fellowships Office and also disperses several research grants of its own. Writing grant applications to support your research helps prepare you for applying to graduate school.
Participate in philosophical activities.
Prior to graduate study it helps to get a feel for professional activities like teaching, presenting conference papers and participating in philosophical discussions. Seek out opportunities on and beyond campus:
- Serve as a class assistant
- Join the URI Philosophy Club.
- Submit a paper to an undergraduate research journal or conference
- Join the College of Arts and Sciences Student Fellows Program.
- Apply to a summer institute in philosophy
Pre-graduate school training
- Check out APA listed undergraduate workshops.
- Carnegie Mellon Summer School in Logic and Formal Epistemology
- St. Olaf College Young Scholars Program at the Kierkegaard Library, for college juniors or seniors and recent graduates
Community Oriented Philosophy
Join Philosophical Societies.
Most societies have low student membership fees, and some specialized ones often run their own conference and publish their own journals. The American Philosophical Association is a good general resource.
Take the GRE Seriously: six months minimum of study.
Standardized exams are required by the vast majority of graduate programs in philosophy, and exam scores often help determine which candidates get considered for financial support. Once you take the exam the scores follow you for five years, even if you take the exam a second time within that period. Prepare for the GRE.
Research potential supervisors and graduate programs
When applying to study philosophy at the graduate level, you’re applying not only to a program directly but also, obliquely, to a person with whom you would like to work. Once you narrow down the specific area of philosophy that interests you, read recent journals to see whose work comes closest to the sort of thing you want to do, then see if that person is affiliated with a graduate program in philosophy. Use the APA site to Research Graduate Programs.
Spend time studying philosophy elsewhere.
Sometimes URI students elect to spend a semester or year studying philosophy at places like Kings College London or at an American university with a graduate program in philosophy. At other times recent graduates elect to spend a year or more pursuing graduate work overseas. The URI Office of International Education lists programs at home and abroad that might of interest to nascent philosophers at URI who wish to spend a semester or year at another campus during their undergraduate years.