Study Abroad in Philosophy

The Philosophy Department is pleased to make available to eligible PhD students the opportunity to study overseas, in particular, in France or Germany. Given eligibility and approval, the student may study in an approved university or more generally in an approved city for one semester. The program is intended to allow approved students to further their study of Continental or analytic philosophy by attending university philosophy seminars and by investigating archives such as those at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.


The department will provide the normal teaching assistantship funding during the one semester period of study in Europe. In order for this funding to be available, the student must agree to teach a double load (that is, two courses) in the semester before he or she would be studying abroad. Ideally, the period of study abroad would take place in the fall semester of the student's fourth year of residency in the PhD program; this timing would require that the student teach two courses during the spring semester of his or her third year of residency. The student is responsible for funding his or her travel and language instruction (if necessary).


In general, in order to be approved for the Study Abroad Program, the student must have performed at the highest level in all facets of the PhD program; that is, he or she must have excelled in coursework, in the comprehensive exam, in teaching, and in service to the department. More specifically, in order to be approved for the Study Abroad Program, the student is required to have received A's in all courses relevant to the program; to have passed the comprehensive exam; to have assisted in courses and then taught them successfully; and to have participated enthusiastically in the life of the department. In addition, the student must demonstrate in the application that study in the selected country is relevant to the dissertation that he or she is going to write; also, the candidate must have solicited a dissertation director, who supports the general dissertation project and the foreign study relevant to it. In order to be approved for the program, the student is not required to have passed to candidacy for the PhD. It is expected however that the student will make adequate progress toward candidacy during the foreign study period.


The application will consist in a five hundred word (500) document describing the course of study abroad and the rationale for the study. The student must also submit a document declaring that he or she is going to write a dissertation that requires the foreign study, with a title of the dissertation, and a dissertation director. The declared dissertation director must submit a letter of support for the dissertation project and the course of study abroad. In addition, the application must include a document describing the student's language ability; this document must include a transcript for language courses taken or a letter from a professor of the appropriate language that describes the student's ability. If the student cannot demonstrate proficiency, then the student must provide evidence that he or she will attend an intensive language institute prior to the period of study. The complete application package must be submitted to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies by December 1, during the student's fifth semester of residency.

Extending Study

The student may petition to extend the study period into the spring semester of the fourth year, which will allow the student a full academic year of study. The student may extend the study period by sending, to the student's dissertation director and at the same time to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, a document describing the progress made in the course of study being pursued abroad. The student must send the document by December 1 of the seventh semester of PhD study, that is, December 1 of the semester abroad. If the dissertation director, in consultation with the full faculty, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, and the Chair of department, believes that good progress is being made and that an additional semester of study would be advantageous, the student will be granted the extension. In addition, in order to acquire the extension, the student must agree to teach a double load during the semester in which he or she returns to residency, that is, in the fall semester of the fifth year of residency.

Study Countries

A student may petition to study in countries other than France or Germany (Italy, for example), if the student can demonstrate that such study would be advantageous. In these cases, the funding, eligibility, and application process remains the same; the student must demonstrate proficiency in the appropriate language. In the application, the student and dissertation director must demonstrate that the student will have a faculty contact in the desired city or university. Students should also be aware that opportunities for a visiting research stay in the Philosophy Department at Warwick University in Coventry, England, are available. Finally, students may petition to waive certain parts of the funding, eligibility, and application process.