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Ph.D. Program FAQs 

Application Questions  

How do I apply?

All applications are submitted online at: https://philgradapps.rice.edu

How may I get more information? 

  • Philosophy Department E-mail: philos@rice.edu
  • Department Phone: (713) 348-4994
  • Department Coordinator: Miranda Robinson-Davis, mrd@rice.edu
  • Department Director of Admissions: Professor Gwen Bradford, gwen.bradford@rice.edu, (713) 348-2771

What is the application deadline?

January 21, 2017. Earlier applications are welcomed.

Can I apply for special admission with entry at the beginning of the spring semester, rather than the fall semester? 

The Rice Ph.D. Program in Philosophy accepts individuals for entry into the program at the beginning of the fall semester only.

Can you tell me more about the writing sample required for application into the Ph.D. program? 

This is a very important part of your application. The writing sample should be a philosophy paper that emphasizes philosophical virtues such as clarity, focus, and solid argumentation, as well as originality, critical thinking, and evidence of a solid understanding of key philosophical concepts. Writing samples between five to 15 pages are acceptable. If you submit a longer paper, you should indicate which areas demonstrate your abilities to best advantage.

For more information on this or any other matters relevant to admission, please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions for Philosophy, Prof. Gwen Bradford, gwen.bradford@rice.edu or 713.348.2771.

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Admission Questions 

What are the criteria for admission?

The Rice Philosophy Departments puts an emphasis on individual philosophical promise in making its decisions about admission than on formal minimum requirements for admission. A strong writing sample, strong letters of recommendation, and personal statement are particularly important. While there is no rigid requirement for minimum GRE scores or GPA, it is best to have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and a GRE score on the verbal portion of the exam above the 90th percentile. In recent years, the average scores of students admitted has been: Verbal GRE 90%, Quantitative GRE 75%, Analytic GRE 5.0, and an undergraduate GPA of 3.9.

For international students who do not speak English as a native language and who have not attended an English-language university, a strong TOEFL score is essential.

An undergraduate major if philosophy or its equivalent is very important. While it is not a requirement for admission, many our current students earn an M.A. in philosophy before starting the program.

What GRE scores and GPA do I need to be sure of admission? 

We do not have a rigid requirement for test scores or grades. Test scores and grades are the only one part of the application, and the writing sample, personal statement, and letters of recommendation play at least as much of a role in our decisions. In recent years, the average scores of students admitted has been: Verbal GRE 90%, Quantitative GRE 75%, Analytic GRE 5.0, Undergraduate GPA 3.9 (on a 4 pt scale). Keep in mind, however, that the philosophical writing sample, experience in philosophy, and other individual factors play a very important role in the admission decisions of this program.

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Funding Questions

Does the Rice program offer financial assistance? If so, what are the chances of receiving it? What amounts are involved?

Rice certainly does offer financial assistance. In fact, every student accepted into the Ph.D. program receives substantial financial support. As you may know, Rice University is one of the leaders among U.S. universities in per capita endowment. This typically enables us to offer a full tuition waiver and a full stipend to all individuals who are admitted into the Ph.D. program in philosophy.  For 5 years, contigent on satisfactory progress, the level of a typical fellowship award is about $21,000. The total value of the average financial award, including both fellowship and tuition waiver, is more than $47,000 per year. There is no separate application for financial aid.

Does financial support typically apply only for the first year or two as in some Ph.D. programs? 

No. Typically, our graduate students receive significant financial support for five years (at approximately the same level or a bit better than the first-year awards), and in some cases Ph.D. students receive financial support for a full six years. You should always get information on how long you will be supported at the programs you are interested in, not just what initial offers are. Keep in mind that the actual offer letter provides the most official information. The fine print is not always fun to read, but it is always a good idea to pay serious attention. We think we offer a strong package, one that can stand up to careful scrutiny and serious competition. Houston is a surprisingly affordable city, and most students find the Rice stipend goes a long way.

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Degree Questions 

Is Rice a good place to apply if one is simply looking for an M.A. in Philosophy?

The Rice program is a Ph.D. program in Philosophy that considers only those applicants for admission whose goal is to earn the Ph.D. degree. 

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Graduate Housing & Houston Questions

Does Rice offer graduate student housing?

Rice’s graduate students live off campus, either in nearby rental properties or at the university-owned Rice Graduate Apartments, Morningside Square Apartments or the Rice Village Apartments. Learn more about Rice’s convenient graduate student housing options.

What is Houston like? 

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States and is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. Houston is a center for the visual and performing arts, and international business hub and home to the second-busiest port in the United States. To learn more, go to Visit Houston.

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