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Graduate Degree

Philosophy Professor Debra Satz (far right) speaking at the 2005 Global Justice workshop, sponsored by the Center on Ethics.

Photo by Linda A. Cicero

Stanford's graduate program in Philosophy is by any measure among the world's best. We attract excellent students, we provide them ample access to leading scholars for instruction and advice, and we turn out accomplished philosophers ready to compete for the best jobs in a very tight job market. We offer both MA and PhD degrees.


Our graduate students are part of a vigorous philosophical community.

Our tradition is to treat and regard our graduate students as much like colleagues as like students. Faculty and graduate students participate in workshops, in reading groups, in colloquium discussions and in nearly all department life on an equal basis. The Department covers the cost of graduate student participation in lunches and dinners with visiting speakers. Our graduate students participate in the running of the department. Two graduate students serve as representatives at department meetings, a graduate student serves on the Graduate Studies Committee, and graduate students also serve on faculty hiring committees. Graduate students are essential to our efforts to recruit new graduate students each year.

Graduate students have a lively society of their own, the Hume Society that is responsible for a range of both intellectual and social events.

Graduate students take a mixture of courses and seminars both in our department in other departments. They also regularly take directed reading courses or independent study courses when special needs are not met by scheduled courses or when students are working directly on their dissertations.


Our calendar is packed with a range of philosophical events. We have a regular Colloquium series with visiting speakers on Friday afternoons. Our Colloquia are followed by receptions for the speakers hosted by the graduate students followed by dinner with the speaker. In addition to the regular colloquia series, every year we host the Immanuel Kant Lectures. Our graduate students, along with other local graduate students,  organize the Berkeley/Stanford/Davis Conference where every year graduate students have the opportunity to present papers to an even larger philosophical community.


The affiliated Center for Ethics in Society hosts many different events including the annual lectures such as  Tanner Lectures in Human Values, the  Wesson Lectures on democratic theory and practice, and the Arrow Lecture Series on Ethics and Leadership, in addition to a vast range of other conferences, lectures and workshops on ethics and political philosophy.

The new Center for the Explanation of Consciousness (CEC) is a research initiative at Center for Study of Language and Information which is devoted to studying materialistic explanations of consciousness. The CEC hosts talks and symposia from a variety of viewpoints exploring the nature of conscious experience. They also sponsor reading groups during the term, led by faculty and graduate students.


Many more informal reading and research groups, including the Social Ethics and Normative Theory Workshop, the Global Justice and Political Theory Workshop, and the Logical Methods in the Humanities Workshop, existing within the department and the university and are able to invite speakers from all across the world.

Learn more

the doctoral program

the masters program