How to Obtain Doctorate Degree in Philosophy

Posted date: July 04, 2017

PhD is the highest degree that is possible for one to obtain in the field of philosophy. As a rule, the doctorate degree is a challenge to many as it takes approximately six years of studying and requires conducting in-depth research in philosophy itself and the adjacent fields of study. Despite the popularity of doctorate studying, there are not many career options and promotion opportunities for doctors of philosophy. Interestingly, but there exists severe competition among many PhD graduates, who are willing to obtain positions of university professors. On the other hand, there are also many doctorate students who are in the process of obtaining a degree just for the sake of it: they are fond of intellectual development and constant personal enrichment with new knowledge and skills. Usually, such people derive a great deal of satisfaction from the process of researching and investigation. 

So, if you have decided to acquire a doctorate degree, here are the following steps that will serve as a guide for you on your way to success:

  1. Make sure you have completed your Bachelor program at the university (with the major in Philosophy);
  2. Apart from focusing on general philosophic principles, make sure you gain deeper understanding in all the adjacent fields: logic, metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, or social philosophy.
  3. Devote the last two years of your studying to more specific areas of philosophy. Think of taking a few upper-level courses in one specific branch of philosophy. Such an extensive research will be an invaluable asset when you will write your thesis.
  4. Establish a rapport with members of philosophy department and representatives of the faculty.
  5. Ensure that the topic of your thesis corresponds to your field of knowledge. Being well versed in the topic of your thesis is #1 tip that will help you achieve success in your research.
  6. Make sure you inform your faculty regarding your strong wish to graduate and obtain a degree. Besides, keep into account the advice they give you concerning the best-suited PhD programs for you. In such way, members of the faculty can offer you the best program that will correlate with your sphere of interest and your skills.
  7. Apply to different PhD programs. Make sure you have sufficient time to pay special consideration to the application process. In your personal statement of interest, clearly indicate what discipline(s) you intend to study and why you have chosen a specific graduate school.
  8. Do not reject offers from the philosophy department that provides you with a combination of research opportunities and funding.
  9. During the first two years of studying, focus on broadening your general knowledge of philosophy. Take as many courses as you can to deepen the understanding of what you have learned as an undergraduate.
  10. As well as that, during the first two years of your PhD program, choose your faculty advisor who you can share your interests and opinions with and who will work with you for the next years.
  11. In the third and the fourth years of PhD program, come up with a dissertation topic. You should be well versed in the field in which you have chosen to continue your research. Besides, you should make sure that you provide some scientific contribution to the field of study you have selected.
  12. Gain experience in teaching. If you have a chance to teach your discipline at some university or college, grab this opportunity.
  13. After you have met all the course requirements, make sure you complete your dissertation during the final years of studying.
  14. Pass all the required examinations.
  15. Apply for your doctorate degree. 


The importance of studying philosophy as an undergraduate lies in that studying philosophy at advanced and proficient levels requires deep knowledge of specific type of writing and argumentation. If students do not have in-depth knowledge in the field of philosophy, they will hardly be accepted for the doctorate program. If you specialized in another field of knowledge before (for example, psychology), the best advice here is to apply for a Master’s degree before your PhD. 


The hardest about obtaining PhD is the financial side of this issue. Before applying, make sure you find programs that provide funding.

What You Need Before Applying for a PhD:

  • Bachelor’s degree in philosophy
  • Completed dissertation in philosophy