The Department of Philosophy typically receives nearly 300 applications each year. We ordinarily expect an entering class of five to eight doctoral students. Although the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of offers the department can make, we invite all who would like to study Philosophy at Harvard to apply.

Note regarding GRE scores:  The Philosophy Department does not require applicants to submit GRE scores. Submission of scores is permitted, and, when submitted, GRE scores are taken into account in the admissions process. But those who do not submit such scores will not be penalized.

Note regarding application fee waivers: Applicants can determine eligibility for a fee waiver by completing a series of questions in the Application Fee section of the application. Once these questions have been completed, the application system will provide an immediate response regarding fee waiver eligibility. Please consult the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences admissions pages for further information or email them at

Note regarding JD/PhD program: Students seeking admission to the joint JD/PhD program must apply to and be separately admitted to both the Law School and the Department of Philosophy in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Student Qualifications

Background in Philosophy: The Department requires that applicants have obtained a solid undergraduate background in philosophy, indicating that the student has a good grounding in the history of philosophy, as well as familiarity with contemporary work in ethics, epistemology and metaphysics, and logic.

Scholarly Potential: The Admissions Committee looks for evidence of outstanding potential in the field of philosophy as shown in the applicant's academic record, letters of recommendation, and Statement of Purpose on the application form.

Questions? Please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions.

For more information on deadlines and application procedures, please click here: