Department of Philosophy
Graduate Student Handbook
Bowling Green’s innovative graduate program in Applied Philosophy is designed to provide students with a foundation for pursuing original philosophical research and to prepare them for a wide range of academic and non-academic careers. Like traditional philosophy programs it includes course work in philosophy and the writing and defending of essays, theses, and dissertations. Like traditional programs, it offers courses of study in fields such as the history of philosophy, aesthetics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of biology. Yet the Bowling Green program is distinctive in a variety of ways. It is distinctive for its emphases on moral, social, and political philosophy and its history, and on the applications of philosophy in academic and non-academic contexts. It is distinctive as well in providing students with the opportunity to do an internship in which they apply their philosophical training outside the classroom, in academic or non-academic settings. It provides a distinctive program of career planning and preparation.
The department offers two graduate programs in philosophy.
(1) The PhD Program is a five year program leading first to the M.A. and then to the Ph.D. The program has two primary objectives: to provide students with a solid foundation for carrying out original philosophical research, and to help students to prepare for employment in academic or non-academic positions. To these ends, the department has designed an integrated five-year program leading to the doctoral degree, with the M.A. awarded as part of the overall course of study. Students in this program pursue a course of study at the heart of which is a set of seminars and courses in the history of, methodologies used in, and important fields of philosophy. The program prepares students to write and defend their own original works in philosophy, and culminates in the defense of the doctoral dissertation. The PhD program is designed to support preparation for significant research and professional functioning as moral and social philosophers or as applied philosophers in other areas.
(2) The Specialized MA Program is a terminal MA program designed to enable students who do not intend to do doctoral study in philosophy to pursue a flexible course of study tailored to their own interests. The chief objective is to enable students who are not primarily interested in carrying out original philosophical research to deal in a professional way with philosophical issues that arise in non-academic careers. The Specialized MA is designed to support preparation for significant professional work involving the application of philosophy.
In designing the PhD Program, the department has attempted to ensure that students take a variety of philosophy courses and pursue research endeavors which collectively strike a balance between treatment of methodological, historical and theoretical foundations in the discipline and problems of application. The department encourages students to complement their studies in philosophy with cognate studies of the methodologies and content of other disciplines relevant to their research interests. Equally, it encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the internship program, which encourages and supports students as they undertake work outside of the Bowling Green Philosophy Department either in non-academic or in alternative academic contexts.
The conception of applied philosophy is broad enough to encompass (a) the field of moral and social philosophy and sub-specializations within it, (b) uses of philosophical research and methodology to address problems as they arise in non-academic contexts and (c) uses of philosophical research and methodology to address problems which arise in interdisciplinary contexts.
The conception of research in philosophy is broad enough to encompass research produced for (a) primarily academic philosophical, (b) interdisciplinary academic , and (c) primarily non-academic audiences.
The conception of the professional functioning of the philosopher is broad enough to encompass (a) teaching and research within a college or university philosophy department in moral and social philosophy or in the various sub-specializations of applied philosophy, (b) teaching and research in alternative academic contexts such as interdisciplinary programs, medical or business college, and research centers, and (c) careers in non-academic contexts where applied philosophers work with professionals in other disciplines in addressing practical problems in law and government, business, health care or social service.
This handbook contains basic information about the requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the two programs offered by the Department of Philosophy and about the opportunities available to students enrolled in the graduate program. Caveat: We do our best to keep this handbook up to date, but please be advised that the Graduate College is the final authority about requirements. It is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that you satisfy all Graduate College requirements and meet all deadlines.
The members of the graduate faculty are concerned that you find the program stimulating and supportive and that after you leave you will remember it as having made a positive contribution to your life. The Director of Graduate Studies and other members of the graduate faculty, including especially your advisor, will be happy to talk with you about any questions you have about the program and more generally about your interests, aspirations, and concerns.
As a graduate student you are a member of the philosophy department. You will find that this is a lively department with many occasions for intellectual interaction. As a junior colleague, you are expected to talk with faculty and other graduate students and to attend colloquia, conferences and other events. A primary purpose of these events, and of the program as a whole, is to foster your development as a contributing member of the philosophical community.