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Joint PhD Programs in Psychology & Philosophy

Joint Philosophy and Psychology Ph.D. Programs provide students with a thorough study in the theories, clinical research, and scientific inquiry that help to better understand the human mind.

General Information About Joint Philosophy and Psychology Ph.D. Programs

A joint Ph.D. program in Philosophy and Psychology can provide a wealth of knowledge to those students looking to better understand the way thinking and the human psyche go hand in hand. It is rare to find a program that specifically joins philosophy and psychology in the United States. However, there are a number of alternatives that combine a Ph.D. in philosophy with a Ph.D. in neuroscience or cognitive science. Although these particular fields of study are not the same as psychology, they do touch on similar topics and require courses in psychology. If a student is looking to enter a joint Ph.D. program that is specific to philosophy and psychology, they will find additional information about admissions and some common classes.

Admission Information for Joint Ph.D. in Philosophy and Psychology Programs

Admissions to a philosophy and psychology Ph.D. program typically requires an applicant to have a bachelor's degree, however, it need not be in philosophy or psychology. In some instances, a prospective student may have to apply through both the philosophy and psychology departments. Other requirements include a personal statement of purpose, a writing sample, transcripts from each college or university previously attended, and three letters of recommendation. The programs usually require the applicant to have taken the GRE. A philosophy and psychology program places the highest importance on the applicant's writing sample and letters of recommendation because of what they reveal about the candidate and their aptitude for the subject.

Courses of Study Commonly Found in Joint Philosophy and Psychology Ph.D. Programs

A Ph.D. in philosophy and psychology gives students the opportunity to understand the human mind from the perspective of theoretical exploration and clinical study, which can prepare a student for a wide range of possible careers, including personnel management, marketing, and content creation, to name just a few. In most cases, joint Ph.D. programs may place more emphasis on philosophy classes more than psychology, however here are some common courses that you might find.

Cognitive Neuroscience

A course in cognitive neuroscience will present an overview of how the human brain acquires knowledge and understanding. The details of the class can include looking at how people make decisions, concentration, how the brain regulates emotions, memories, and the forming of relationships. Students will also be introduced to contemporary techniques for the investigation of cognition and what the findings of those investigations have revealed.

Philosophy of Logic

Philosophy of logic courses will present a survey of the various issues that affect the science of reasoning. These classes typically take a broad view in order to encompass the entirety of what is a diverse subject. Some themes covered include how logic relates to psychological reasoning, Tarski and his analysis of logical consequence, various forms of modal logic, and second-order logic. The classes will typically consist of lectures and readings from both classic and contemporary sources.


Courses in psychopathology at the graduate level make a deep study of topics in the realm of mental disorders, what causes them, and how they can affect others. It is common for these classes to focus on specific topics such as how it impacts families or the way the brain can cause a disorder to occur. Some common disorders discussed include schizophrenia, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and criminal behavior.

Philosophy of Language

A joint Ph.D. program will typically feature a course in the philosophy of language in their curriculum. Philosophy of language classes will look at the issues of meaning and truth as classic philosophical problems. These courses typically feature readings of diverse texts addressing the subject through time. Some of the thinkers discussed will include Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege, and others. Often, these classes often present opportunities for students to engage in free-flowing debates where they may argue for and against the ideas presented.

Social Psychology

Courses in social psychology for joint philosophy and psychology Ph.D. candidates will look at how people construct thoughts, feelings, and opinions through social interaction. Some of the themes will include the self, cognition and perception, persuasion, and conformity among others. When students conclude the course they should have a better understanding of how theses processes affect societies on both individual and group levels.

Though rather unique, Ph.D. programs for philosophy and psychology give students the knowledge necessary to understand the human mind from multiple perspectives. This knowledge comes about through classes that approach the study of the mind with theoretical questioning, clinical research, and therapy.