The Ph.D. program requires a B.A with a major in Philosophy or its equivalent.

The M.A. Program is only open to students who already have graduate status at Michigan State University, or who have already been admitted to the Ph.D. program. Once admitted into the Philosophy Ph.D. Program, graduate students may obtain their M.A. if so desired.

Students for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate English speaking and writing competence through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Students whose English is judged not to be sufficient for successful work in philosophy in English will be required to study in the University’s English Language Center until they have demonstrated sufficient mastery. To qualify to hold a teaching assistantship, anyone whose native language is not English has to pass the MSU SPEAK test.

To Apply:

The application for admission to the graduate programs is done online. To apply, go to and fill out and submit the appropriate application form.

Official transcripts from all post-secondary education institutions you have attended should be uploaded to MSU’s electronic application system, or are either to be sent by the institution directly to the philosophy department: Department of Philosophy, Graduate Applications, 368 Farm Lane, 503 S. Kedzie Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, or should be emailed to the Graduate Program Administrative Assistant, Melissa Arthurton, at

Other supporting materials can be uploaded directly onto the application website.

Required materials include:

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary education institutions you have attended are to be sent by the institution directly to the Philosophy Department.
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation (uploaded by the recommender)
  • A personal statement (outlining your personal motivation to enter our PhD program)
  • An academic statement (outlining your academic motivation to enter our PhD program)
  • A writing sample (a philosophical essay of about 10-20 pages)

The department does not require GRE scores as part of the application, but you may have them sent to us, and if we have them, we do consider them.

Application deadlines: Admission is for the academic year beginning in the Fall semester. To be considered, all application materials should be received by the Department no later than December 5 of the previous year.

Admission decisions to the Ph.D. program are made by an Admissions Committee that considers all elements of the application dossier: academic record, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a sample of philosophical writing, and any other materials that document capacity for graduate study in philosophy. This process is usually complete by the end of March, with acceptance or denials sent out by mid April.

Financial Aid

See the Financial Aid page for information on sources of funding for graduate students in Philosophy.