How to Apply

Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest Rice University's PhD in Philosophy program.

Applications for fall 2024 are open here: The deadline is 11:59pm EST, December 15, 2023.

Questions about the graduate program in Philosophy may be directed to Samuel Reis-Dennis, Director of Graduate Studies, or Humanities Graduate Admissions:

Strengths of the Ph.D. Program

The graduate program educates students to pursue research and teach in the main areas of department concentration: Moral Philosophy, and Philosophy of Mind and Related Areas

Degree requirements for the Ph.D.:

  • Candidate must complete with high standing 36 hours of course work approved by the department. Students with an MA degree must complete 33 hours of coursework.
  • Demonstrate competence in logic.
  • Pass a qualifying examination.
  • Perform satisfactorily on an oral defense of their thesis proposal.
  • Complete a written thesis on a subject approved by the department (at least one year of thesis research must be spent in residence).
  • Perform satisfactorily on a final oral defense of the thesis.

Rice University aspires to excellence in research and teaching, and to making the world a better place. To accomplish these goals, we believe that we must cultivate a diverse community of learning and discovery. The Philosophy Department strongly encourages applications from women and members of other groups underrepresented in philosophy. Information about Rice University's commitment to diversity can be found here:

Application Process

Applications for fall 2024 are open here: The deadline is 11:59pm EST, December 15, 2023.

Please read carefully the application instructions, answers to frequent inquiries, and program eligibility and application requirements below. Inquiries regarding the application process should be directed to Humanities Graduate Admissions. For academic inquiries regarding the program, please contact Professor Samuel Reis-Dennis, Director of Graduate Studies.

Application Instructions:

  • Applicants should upload unofficial transcripts and supporting documents to the online application system. Hard copies of official transcripts are not required to apply.
  • If admitted, applicants will be required to send official transcripts to complete the admissions process.
  • Once a completed application is submitted, the applicant will be able to pay the application fee and monitor the status of their application on the Application Status page.
  • Application information and supporting documents cannot be edited after final submission. However, applicants are able to upload updated version of their CV and unofficial transcripts via the Application Status page.
  • All application materials, including official test scores and three letters of recommendation, must be received by the deadline to be considered for admission.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.

Frequent Inquiries:

  • Applications are for the PhD program only; the Department of Philosophy does not accept students seeking a terminal Master’s degree.
  • Applications are accepted annually for Fall matriculation only; there is no Spring matriculation.
  • The PhD program in Philosophy is a full-time, funded program and does not offer online or distance courses.
  • In general, applicants should have a 3.0 (B) grade point average, or the equivalent, in their undergraduate work.
  • There are no minimum requirements for GRE scores. Submitting a GRE score is optional for fall 2024 applicants.
  • If you have special circumstances which may merit an application fee waiver, please contact Samuel Reis-Dennis, Director of Graduate Studies, at

Application Requirements

The following materials must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered for admission:
Applications for fall 2024 will be available at this link in early September 2023.

Application Fee Waiver Weeks October 18 - November 1, 2023. Rice University's Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will offer doctoral application fee waivers for the Fall 2024 admission term to all eligible domestic and international students. For eligibility requirements and to find a link to the application for a fee waiver, please visit:

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to submit applications before November 1 to take advantage of Application Fee Waiver Weeks. Otherwise, there is an $85 non-refundable application fee, payable online. If you have special circumstances which may merit an application fee waiver, please contact Samuel Reis-Dennis, Director of Graduate Studies, at

Unofficial transcripts from previous colleges and universities. The department will review unofficial transcripts during the admissions process; official transcripts will be required after acceptance into the graduate program.
The GRE requirement is optional for Fall 2024 applicants. If you have a score, please submit it, but it is not required.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY (International applicants only)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores should be directly from ETS to Rice (School Code: 6609). Please see the following webpage for additional information regarding IELTS and waiver options:

A statement that concisely and accurately describes the applicant’s philosophical interests, motivations, and aspirations. The statement should briefly discuss reasons for applying to the department specifically, such as interest in a particular faculty member’s work, and describe any relevant research projects. Statements should be no longer than 500 words.

A philosophy paper, up to 5,000 words in length, double-spaced, showcasing the applicant's best work in philosophy. (Longer papers may be considered, but applicants are advised to indicate which areas readers are to focus.)
Three letters of recommendation addressing the applicant's personal and scholastic qualities are required, preferably from professors in the applicant's major field. 
Recommenders named in the application form will be sent automated emails requesting that they complete an online evaluation and upload a letter of recommendation. We advise applicants to make sure recommenders know to expect this email and to give them sufficient time to complete this task ahead of the application deadline.
Inquiries regarding the application process should be directed to Humanities Graduate Admissions: or the Director of Graduate Admissions for Philosophy, Professor Samuel Reis-Dennis.