Apply to the Graduate Program

We receive about 40 applications per year, and we admit and offer funding to about 10-15% of these. The average GPA in the major (normally philosophy) is 3.9. Our decisions are based on the GPA, the writing sample, letters of reference, and other factors, such as degree of fit with the department. Although we award an MA degree, we only admit students to our PhD program (with theMA obtained in the process). 

For a list of frequented asked questions and answers, please see FAQ.

In order to be considered for our graduate program, the steps below need to be completed (including receipt of transcripts and test scores) by February 10th. In order to be considered for a fellowship, these steps must be completed by January 20th. (Those who miss the January deadline but make the February deadline will be considered for teaching assistantships.) The steps are these:

  • We no longer require GRE scores for applications. Applicants who take the GRE test may, however, have these scores sent to us. Thescores will be considered only if the basic application is reasonably strong overall but with a significant weakness in some aspect (e.g., GPA, letters of reference, or writing sample). GRE scores will not be considered, if the basic application is either very weak overall or very strong overall. If you wish to subGraduate Seminar with Philip Robbinsmit your GRE scores, this can done in one of two ways: (1) arranging (for a fee) for Educational Testing Services (ETS) to send them directly to the Graduate School (MU's school code is 6875; Philosophy’s department code is 2801), or (2) uploading the GRE Score electronic file that Educational Testing Services makes available at no cost to test-takers. Only electronic scores will be accepted. 
  • International students also should arrange for their TOEFL scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School (MU's school code is 6875; philosophy’s department code is 2801). The minimum required scores are 100 (internet) total with a speaking score of at least 26 (internet). (For more information about scores, see Graduate School English Proficiency policy.)
  • Complete the basic information in online Graduate School application. (We may be able to pay the application fee for a very small number of applicants; our funds for this purpose are extremely limited and first priority will be given to members of groups underrepresented in philosophy. If you would like us to consider paying your fee, please get in touch with the Director of Graduate Admissions.) 
  • Upload copies of your transcripts using the online system. (Unofficial copies are acceptable. If you are accepted for admission, you will be asked to send official copies to the Philosophy Department, but this is not necessary for the application process.)
  • Upload a 750-word Statement of Interest to the Supplemental Information section of the on-line Graduation School application form. It should explain why are you are interested in graduate study in philosophy at the University of Missouri. We encourage you to address, if you wish, how you can advance the department's commitment to diversity.
  • Upload a sample of your 15-25 page philosophical writing (e.g., a paper or thesis chapter) to the Supplemental Information section of the on-line Graduate School application form. For the sake of anonymous evaluation, do not include your name on the sample you upload.
  • In the Recommendation section of the on-line Graduate School application form, enter the information for three letters of recommendation regarding your academic potential. You should first obtain agreement from the professors writing these letters. They will be contacted by e-mail to submit their letters electronically. If a professor is unable to send his/her letters electronically, you should still enter all his/her information in the Recommendation section, but you should write “(off-line)” immediately after her name. A hardcopy of the recommendation should then be sent to the Director of Graduate Admissions, Department of Philosophy University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-4160. Because all other materials are electronic, hardcopies often do not receive the same attention. It is thus in your strong interest to have your letters submitted electronically.
  • Download the Department of Philosophy Application Form; complete it and upload to the Supplemental Information section of the Graduate School application. 

You can verify the completeness of your application by verifying that you have fully completed the electronic application form and uploaded the above items. Please follow the instructions at the online Graduate School application.

The Director of Graduate Admissions for the Philosophy Department will be delighted to answer any further questions you might have about any aspect of our MA or PhD programs.

Photo from 2019 Graduate Seminar, led by Philip Robbins. Photo by Fernando Alvear.