Ph.D. Program: a quick guide to your first year

What should you do before school starts?

Look over the courses offered. You can find these in the “Course Information and Schedule” under “Academics and Courses” on your Agora Portal. Graduate courses are those that are Level 5500 or above. Classes that meet three times a week are 50 minutes, classes that meet two times a week are 75 minutes, and courses that meet once a week are generally 100 minutes.

Look over the Master’s Comprehensives Reading List to see which areas you will need to spend more time mastering. Think about which courses might help you supplement any areas you are less strong in.

Turn in your advising sheet and website info sheet to RoseMarie DeLeo. You will find these documents in the attachments. This is how you will be assigned an academic advisor in the department and how your info page will be created on the department website.

Register for three classes at least two weeks before classes start to insure that your funding and financial aid are processed quickly. (see “Selecting Courses” in the Procedures and Regulations section of this handbook and “Registering for Courses” in the main body of the Handbook)

Register for Teaching Seminar. Register for this along with your three regular courses. Note: This is a required course for first year Ph.D. students.

Come to campus as soon as possible to get your new Eagle One ID card (Instructions)

Stop by the Philosophy department, located on the third floor of the north wing of Stokes Hall. Check in with RoseMarie, and she will show you your cubicle, the department mailboxes, and how to use the photocopiers.

What will you be doing your first year in the department?

  • Take six courses, three each semester
  • Take the Teaching Seminar
  • Act as a Research Assistant for 1-2 Professors (up to 20 hours per week.) See Research Assistant Section of the Handbook.
  • Study for and take the Masters Comprehensive Exam. 



Who should you talk to if you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask even the most basic questions. There are several people who you can get in touch with as you get ready for your first year.

RoseMarie DeLeo can usually answer questions about registering for classes or any technical problems. Even if she can’t answer your question, she usually knows who can.

The Graduate Program Director can also answer questions about courses, requirements, exams, or the program in general.

Your Fellow Students: If you want to talk to your fellow PhD students about living in Boston, advice for choosing courses, or even coffee shop recommendations, they are all happy to help.

Requirements for the Ph.D. are as follows: one year of full-time residence; course work (cf. below under Course Work); proficiency in logic; proficiency in two foreign languages; preliminary comprehensive examination; doctoral comprehensive examination; dissertation; and oral defense of the dissertation. Doctoral students are generally admitted with financial aid in the form of Research Assistantships and Teaching Fellowships. Research assistants and teaching fellows receive remission of tuition for required courses. Doctoral students are expected to pursue the degree on a full-time basis and to maintain satisfactory progress towards the completion of the degree. For the academic year 2014-2015, stipends for research assistants are $20,000 and stipends for teaching assistants average $20,500.