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Overview of the graduate program

The Department of Philosophy at Peking University provides M.A. and PhD Programs covering a broad range of areas in systematic philosophical researches. The department offers the following subject groups: Western Philosophy (philosophy in ancient and medieval period, early modern philosophy, modern and contemporary philosophy, political philosophy, epistemology, and philosophy of language), Chinese Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Technology, Logic, Religious Studies, Aesthetics, and Marxist Philosophy. Students would be offered the opportunities to study a wide range of philosophical topics through seminars and teaching courses and would be encouraged to focus on a narrowed field of research interest. 


Students in either M.A. or PhD programs could take lessons from different groups and undertake research for degree thesis under the guidance of a supervisor. Besides, the student would have the opportunity to develop their ideas in an active and inspiring community of fellow students, faculty members from the department and other departments, who might be related to their research and study. In short, graduate study is designed to prepare the candidate for teaching in the department or related programs and provide the systematic training necessary for academic research in a specialized field.


The student would be exposed to the department's unique academic tradition. The department emphasizes on developing original ideas through painstaking reading and careful reflections of classics and masterpieces, aiming to reshape the mutual understanding between Chinese and western academy through bridging the Chinese context with western tradition.


The Master of Arts in Philosophy is a three-year program in which a candidate takes courses ranging from history of philosophy to seminars on specialized topics. Before the end of the fourth semester, the student would be required to provide an outline of the research proposal of degree thesis, which should be approved by the committee composed of at least four faculty members. Afterward, the student undertakes a master degree level research project in the third year under supervision. The master work culminates in a 40,000 (or above)-word thesis that is expected to be orally defended.


The PhD in Philosophy is a four-year (or with extended period no longer than another four years) program designed for training necessary for a qualified scholar and teacher of philosophy with a capacity of expertise in a certain specialized field. In the standard program, the first four semesters would be devoted to formal courses, language training, and independent research. The PhD students would be expected to have the capacity of reading at least two modern foreign languages, usually among English, French, and German. Students who concentrate on Chinese Philosophy and Religions are entitled to use Japanese or Sanskrit instead of French or German. The student is expected to be able to fluently participate in the philosophical conversation in at least two languages, usually Chinese and English.


By the end of the fourth semester, the student would take the qualified examination and submit an outline of doctoral level research project pending for approval from the committee, which is composed by faculty members from the department as well as from related departments or other universities. After passing the qualified examination and approval of research proposal, the student could proceed to composition of doctoral dissertation. The draft doctoral dissertation should be submitted to the group of scholars for academic review at least 4 months before the final examination in form of oral defense.