Overview of the Graduate Program
The graduate program in philosophy at Berkeley offers a first-rate faculty, a stimulating and friendly community of graduate students, and the resources of one of the world's finest research universities.
Two features distinguish our profile from that of other leading graduate programs in philosophy:
The department has strengths in all the main areas of philosophy, including epistemology, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, ethics, the history of philosophy, and philosophy of science. We aim at diversity and breadth of coverage, rather than concentration on one or two areas of philosophical activity.
Second, the program at Berkeley is structured to give students a high degree of independence in tailoring their studies to their interests.
Those wishing to pursue graduate studies in philosophy can choose among several routes to a Ph.D. at Berkeley:
The Philosophy Department's graduate program leads to a Ph.D. in Philosophy.
Students with strong interests in Ancient Philosophy may want to take advantage of a special "ancient concentration" within the philosophy program.
Students with strong interests in the History and Philosophy of Science may want to explore the special "HPS concentration" within the philosophy program.
Students with strong interests in formal logic may pursue them in the Philosophy Department, in the Mathematics Department, or in Berkeley's interdisciplinary program leading to a Ph.D. in Logic and the Methodology of Science, to which the Philosophy Department has close ties.
The Berkeley job placement effort has been highly successful; graduates of our program have gone on to academic positions in a wide variety of colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.
The Berkeley campus is home to a richly diverse intellectual community; more information is available on the Graduate Diversity Outreach site.
Graduate Student Life
The Department of Philosophy has a vibrant graduate student community and offers many opportunities for graduate students to collaborate and socialize, from informal reading groups to formal workshops and conferences. At the weekly meetings of the Richard Wollheim Society, graduate students present papers and get feedback from their peers. Students who have passed their qualifying examinations are encouraged to participate in a special seminar that meets weekly to discuss dissertation work in progress. Many graduate students in the department participate in interdisciplinary working groups sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, including the Working Groups in Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, and History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics and Science. And each spring, the philosophy departments at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and UC Davis co-sponsor a graduate student conference at which students from all three departments as well as other philosophy departments around California present and discuss papers on a wide variety of philosophical topics.
In addition, the department co-sponsors an annual graduate student conference with the University of London, with the location alternating between Berkeley and London. When the conference is in London, Berkeley sends six students there (three as presenters, three as commentators); when the conference is in Berkeley, the situation is reversed. A faculty member from the visiting institution presents a keynote address. There are also possibilities for Berkeley graduate students to spend a semester in London during their graduate careers at Berkeley.
For more information on resources for graduate students at Berkeley, see the Graduate Division website.