elise and krupa talking

Welcome to the Department of Philosophy!

The graduate program in philosophy at Harvard offers students the opportunity to work and to develop their ideas in a stimulating and supportive community of fellow doctoral students, faculty members, and visiting scholars.

Our typical entering class ranges from five to six students. This small size helps foster a sense of community among our doctoral students and ensures that they have substantial access to and interaction with their faculty colleagues.

The department is a lively, inviting place for graduate students, with many opportunities for students to explore a range of interests and to contribute to the intellectual and social life of the community. Listed below are just some of the ways students are involved.

Philosophy Department Graduate Student Organization

The Philosophy Department Graduate Student Organization (GSO) is a group devoted to voicing the concerns of graduate students in the department and providing a forum for graduate students to make decisions democratically.

Minorities and Philosophy (MAP)

The Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) chapter at Harvard aims to provide community and support within the department for graduate students who identify as part of a social group that has been historically underrepresented and/or undersupported in the academic discipline of philosophy. To concretize these aims, our chapter works with faculty and staff within the department to host a variety of events like retreats, workshops, biweekly coffee breaks,  and colloquia. Additionally, we work to distribute relevant resources to current and prospective graduate students,  as well as broadly provide spaces to study diverse philosophers and philosophers working in diverse traditions. You can find our Facebook page here! For further information about Harvard's MAP chapter, please contact Britta Clark (brittaclark@g.harvard.edu) or Denish Jaswal (denishjaswal@g.harvard.edu), members of the chapter's Organizing Committee. For further information about MAP internationally, see: www.mapforthegap.com.

Talk-Shop Series

The Talk-Shop Series is run by graduate students, but open to everyone—from first-year graduate students to emeritus faculty. It's an opportunity for speakers to try out new lines of thinking in a relaxed, conversational setting, and for those attending to contribute to the development of work-in-progress while learning what their peers are up to.

Reading Groups

Members of the department (both faculty and graduate students) run several reading groups that meet throughout the year. Below is a list of some of the department’s regularly offered reading groups.

  • French Reading Group
  • German Reading Group
  • Greek Reading Group
  • Latin Reading Group
  • Kant Reading Group

Paper Publication Workshop

This annual workshop simulates the journal referee process so that advanced graduate students can receive feedback on written work appropriate for journal submission. One former participant commented, “There is just no way I would have my writing sample in the shape it's in--almost ready to send out to journals--if it weren't for the publication workshop. [. . .] The level of the comments I received and of what I was expected to provide others was much higher than in other contexts. It was what graduate school is supposed to be.”

Harvard-MIT Graduate Student Conference

Each year graduate students from Harvard and MIT organize a two-day conference on a special topic. The conference location alternates between campuses every year.

Writing Accountability Group

The writing accountability group meets multiple times each week, providing a structured setting for students to focus on their writing. The aim of this peer-facilitated group is to enable students to write regularly and overcome the common pitfalls inherent to longer writing projects.

Poetry Night

Several times each semester, the department's library plays host to poetry readings by department members. This lively event brings together faculty, doctoral students, undergraduate concentrators, and scholars from area universities to share favorite poems and, on occasion, to present new work.