Application to the Ph.D. Program in Philosophy

To apply to the Ph.D. program, you will need to complete the official UCR Graduate School Application. This is the application that serves as the official application to the Philosophy Department’s Graduate Program.

Applications completed by January 5th will receive first consideration for admission. An application is not complete until all supplemental materials have been received. We will continue to accept applications after this deadline (see FAQs below.)

If you have questions concerning application to our Ph.D. program, please contact Michael Nelson or Perla Fabelo.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Application Process

When is the application deadline?
Although there is no absolute deadline, applications completed by January 5th will receive first consideration. An application is not complete until all supplemental materials have been received. Applications must also be received by January 5th in order to be guaranteed consideration for financial support from the UCR Graduate Division. The admissions committee begins its review of applications in January. If the application comes in after review has begun, or if it is incomplete, the chances of getting accepted and of being offered financial support are significantly smaller.

Application Fee and Application Fee Waivers
The application fee is $105 for domestic applicants, $125 for international applicants. Fee waivers are available for domestic applicants with financial need.

Please apply early, fee waivers are limited. For information, click here.

What supplemental materials are required?

  • GRE scores (especially the verbal and quantitative scores)
  • Transcripts from colleges or universities attended (Send unofficial transcripts during the application review process; admitted applicants will be required to send official transcripts)
  • A writing sample (10–15 pages long)
  • A statement of purpose (1–2 pages long)
  • Three letters of recommendation

What should the Personal Statement and Writing Sample include?

The Personal Statement should describe your interests, your fit with our department, and, if applicable, obstacles that you have faced and overcome that may be relevant to our assessment of your file.  The Writing Sample should show your best work to date.  It should be 10-15 pages.  If your writing sample is not representative of what you describe as your interests in your Personal Statement, you should include a narrative in your Personal Statement briefly explaining why.

Where should the application materials be sent?
The electronic forms need to be submitted online. Whenever possible, the supplemental materials should be uploaded electronically to the online application. If they cannot be securely submitted, confidential or official documents may be sent by mail to:

Department of Philosophy
Attn: Graduate Student Services Advisor
1604 HMNSS
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92521

Is it possible to apply to the M.A. program only?
We do not accept students interested in a terminal M.A. program. Thus, the application should be for admission to the Ph.D. program.

Are GRE scores really necessary?
Yes. Both the University and the Department of Philosophy require applicants to submit GRE scores. There is only one exception, namely if the applicant is a foreign student who can’t take the GRE in his or her current country of residence. (Also see #8 below.)

How important are the GRE scores?
A student’s performance on the GRE is one of many factors that the admissions committee weighs in making an admissions decision. Other important factors include the letters of recommendation, the writing sample, the statement of purpose, and grades at previous institutions, in particular grades in philosophy classes. In addition, GRE scores are considered by the University administration when awarding financial aid packages.

What would be considered an average GRE score?
During the last few years, average GRE scores (verbal and quantitative combined) for students admitted to the Ph.D. program have been in the range of 310 to 330 (1250-1500 by the old scale). (If a student’s combined scores are below 300 (1100), their chances of being admitted are minimal unless there is a special explanation, for example, that the student is not a native speaker of English). Typically, a score below 310 (or 1250) is a strike against an applicant, whereas a score above 325 (or 1450) is a bonus.

Is there anything in addition to, or instead of, GRE scores that is required for foreign applicants?
Yes, foreign students need to take the TOEFL and submit their scores.