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Graduate Program FAQ

How do I apply?
All applications are submitted online at: https://philgradapps.rice.edu
How can I get more information? 
If you cannot find the answers to your questions on the website, you are more than welcome to contact the Philosophy Department directly:
Philosophy Department Graduate Program Administrator
Lydia Westbrook
Philosophy Department Coordinator
Minranda Robinson-Davis
Director of Graduate Admissions for Philosophy
Dr. Gwen Bradford
What is the application deadline?

January 8, 2018. Earlier applications are welcomed.

Can I apply for admission with entry at the beginning of the Spring semester, rather than the Fall semester? 

Our program can admit applications for entry 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 showcases the best of your abilities in philosophy. It need not be in your intended area of study, but it’s preferable if it is. The paper should reveal 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 should be no longer than 5,000 words, and double-spaced. If you submit a longer paper, you should indicate which areas demonstrate your abilities to best advantage and indicate which parts of the paper readers should focus.

Can you tell me more about the Statement of Purpose?

A good statement of purpose is a concise and accurate explanation of your philosophical interests, aims, and motivation. What has drawn you to study philosophy? What areas of philosophy and philosophical questions intrigue you most? What do you hope to accomplish in the PhD program? With which faculty members do you hope to study? What do you aim to do after the PhD and why?

What is the minimum requirement for GRE scores and for the GPA?

Our program does not require specific benchmarks for test scores or grades. Test scores and grades are only one part of the application, and the writing sample, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation play at least as much of a role in our decisions. In recent years, typical GRE scores of students admitted has been at least in the 90th percentile for the Verbal section, and at least a score of 5.0 on the Analytical Writing section. Most admitted students have a GPA of at least 3.9. 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, and scores and grades are hardly determinate.

Is a BA in philosophy a requirement for admission?

Strictly speaking, entry to the PhD program does not require a BA with a philosophy major. However, a very strong background in philosophy is essential. Virtually all the students that are accepted to the program either have a BA with a philosophy major or an MA in philosophy.


Can I apply for an M.A.?

Rice does not offer a terminal M.A. in philosophy. The Rice program is a Ph.D. program in philosophy that considers only those applicants whose goal is to earn the PhD.

Does Rice offer graduate student housing?

Yes. Rice offers graduate student housing options and plenty of other resources for finding a place to live. More information can also be found here.

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.

Does the Rice program offer financial assistance?

Rice certainly does offer financial assistance. 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 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, contingent on satisfactory progress, a typical fellowship award is approximately $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.