The PhD in Philosophy

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

Faculty member specializations:

Moral Philosophy - ethics, social and political philosophy, moral psychology, and the history of moral, social, and political philosophy

  • Gwen Bradford - Value Theory, Normative Ethics, Well-Being
  • Elizabeth Brake - Ethics, Applied Ethics, Political Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Sex and Love, LGBT Philosophy
  • Donald Morrison - Ancient Philosophy, History of Political Philosophy, Political Philosophy
  • George Sher - Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Moral Psychology
  • Timothy Schroeder - Moral Psychology, Action Theory, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Psychology, Cognitive Science
  • Vida Yao - Ethics, Moral Psychology, History of Ethics, Feminist Philosophy

Philosophy of Mind and Related Areas

  • Steven Crowell - 20th-Century European Philosophy
  • Uriah Kriegel - Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics
  • Alexander Morgan - Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Psychology, Philosophy of Neuroscience
  • Timothy Schroeder - Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Psychology, Cognitive Science, Action Theory, Moral Psychology
  • Charles Siewert  - Philosophy of Mind, Phenomenology, Ancient Philosophy

The faculty and staff also take proactive roles in supporting our graduate students in their pursuit of academic positions. We conduct regular workshops and other activities to help students at all stages of the program develop their professional skills, and work closely with graduating students to ensure they are in the best position possible when they enter the job market.

Degree Requirements:

  • Complete 42 hours of course work
  • Demonstrate competence in logic
  • Pass a qualifying examination
  • Perform satisfactorily on an oral defense of a thesis proposal
  • Complete a written thesis on a subject approved by the department
  • Perform satisfactorily on a final oral defense of the written 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. For information on the Philosophy Department's workshop on diversity ("Why So Few"), visit, and for information on Rice University's diversity commitment for graduate students, visit

Official Graduate Handbooks

Please click below to read the current and previous year's Official Student Handbooks: 

Additional Funding and Fellowships

Grants and Fellowships Database

The Fondren Library maintains a database of internal and external fellowships. The database can be accessed here.

Conference and Research Travel Funding

Starting in AY 2018-2019, students are eligible to apply for conference travel, research, and professional advancement funding through the School of Humanities Dean's Conference, Research, and Professional Advancement Fund. The fund allows each eligible graduate student to apply for up to $1,500 per academic year in support of their research or professional development.

Special Graduate Fellowship for Continuing Students

Lodieska Stockbridge Vaughn - To provide a fellowship for a graduate student whose record at Rice shows evidence of outstanding achievement and promise. Four or five awards are usually given. Each spring, the department chairs are invited to nominate continuing graduate students for this special endowed fellowship. The final recipients are chosen by the Graduate Council. The amount of the fellowship and the number of recipients vary from year to year.

Additional organizations on campus that offer travel funding include:
Humanities Research Center - Research Project Support
Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) - Wagoner Foreign Study Scholarship Program

Department of Philosophy
Rice University
MS 14
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892
Phone: 713 348-4994
Fax: 713 348-5847

Department Chair
Christian Emden

Director of Graduate Studies
Gwen Bradford

Graduate Program Administrator
Lydia Westbrook
Phone: 713-348-2092