How to Apply

Applications for the Department of Philosophy's graduate program are accepted until January 15.

Click here to watch a 20-minute video about how to apply to the Philosophy graduate program!


To support graduate students, we offer teaching assistantships and fellowships with a competitive stipend and remission of basic tuition and fees. Our goal is to provide five years of full financial support for all students making satisfactory progress in the PhD program.

Please note: The Philosophy program has chosen to permanently remove the GRE requirement. GREs will neither be accepted nor considered for any applicants in the 2022-23 admissions cycle.

The admission application (required) and fellowship application (encouraged, but not required) must be completed through the online application system. The admission application and fellowship application, along with instructions, are available through the Office of Graduate Studies website beginning in early September. Applications are accepted for fall quarter only.

For full consideration and review your application must be completed by January 15.


The following information is required and must be submitted online as part of your online admission application:

  • Initial application (online).
  • Application fee, paid by credit card only through the online application system. The fee must be paid before the application will be considered as complete, and the fee must be paid for each application submitted. Consult the Graduate Studies website for fee information.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation. Your letter writers must upload their statements through the online application system; no paper letters will be accepted. Your recommenders will receive instructions for submitting their recommendations online.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores if you have not studied at an institution and received a degree where the language of instruction is English. These scores must be current (taken with the past two years). TOEFL should be sent electronically directly from ETS to UC Davis. IELTS scores should be mailed directly to UC Davis from IELTS.
  • A writing sample of 12 to 30 double-spaced pages, in English, must be submitted with the application. Your writing sample should be an original work of philosophy, typically in the style of a scholarly journal article. (Some well known scholarly journals in philosophy, chosen more or less at random, are Ethics, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Ergo, and Philosophers' Imprint.) Your writing sample should not be primarily expository; it should display your ability to argue for a thesis. The word 'thesis' should be understood broadly here. For example, each of the following would qualify as a thesis that you might argue for: an interpretation of a certain passage in a work of ancient philosophy, a new analysis of the meanings of racial slurs, the denial of a certain premise in philosopher X's argument for substance dualism, and so on. Your writing sample should also display your ability to engage with the scholarly literature and to write at the graduate level.
  • Transcripts. All applicants must upload PDF versions of their transcripts or academic records (for all institutions of higher learning they attended) directly to our system. Paper transcripts are not acceptable. Consult the Graduate Studies website for instructions about uploading transcripts.