We are a pluralistic department that combines special strengths in continental philosophy and the history of philosophy, with important perspectives from the analytic tradition. We promote work that draws on the strengths of each of these theoretical orientations and is able to navigate easily between them.
Our dynamic Ph.D. program situates students at the cutting edge of current research in philosophy. Students are exposed to the most recent hermeneutic, historiographical and philosophic methodologies and debates regarding their research topics. Our program offers innovative courses in phenomenology, deconstruction and critical theory while at the same time engaging students with the work of living thinkers such as Butler, Badiou, Nancy, Rancière and West.
Our program provides thorough training in the history of philosophy, which includes the careful consideration of classical texts in their original language. Far from collapsing the history of philosophy into contemporary modes of thinking, we seek to draw on current research in order to diligently come to terms with the immense historical distance that often separates us from the philosophic practices of the past.
Our department emphasizes diversity, and students are encouraged to remain open to a myriad of points of view, many of which shed important light on the ways in which issues such as race, gender and class have functioned in the traditional history of Western philosophy.
Students study with internationally recognized faculty who have extensive experience and contacts abroad (most notably in France, Germany, Italy and Austria but also in Poland, Hungary, Australia, South Africa and Latin America). The Department houses the Critical Theory Workshop in Paris, France, and it provides funding for its students to do research in this unique setting. It also supports students who want to participate in the Collegium Phaenomenologicum. Finally, students receive departmental support to attend national and international conferences, and we regularly assist students in applying for funding and establishing contacts for longer periods of research abroad.
We offer six years of guaranteed funding, including graduate assistantships with tuition remission and a stipend for the first four years, and assured teaching for two more years.
Teaching and Professional Training and Placement
Students participate in our renowned teacher training program. We work closely with our students to help them pursue professional opportunities ranging from conference presentations to fellowships and publications. We offer a series of special training seminars in all the various facets of professional development. We offer extensive support to students pursuing jobs in philosophy and we have a very good placement record.
Villanova is part of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium (GPPC), which allows students to take courses at other doctoral granting GPPC schools. Currently, these include the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University.
Villanova sponsors a regular program of speakers and visiting professors. Previous speakers include Linda Alcoff, Seyla Benhabib, Robert Bernasconi, Rémi Brague, Jacques Derrida, Mladen Dolar, Thomas Flynn, Nancy Fraser, Shaun Gallagher, Rodolphe Gasché, David Krell, Catherine Malabou, Jean-Luc Marion, Bernard Stiegler, and Slavoj Žižek. The department has hosted the Heidegger Circle, Ancient Philosophy Society, the Society of Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and many other professional groups.
Graduate Student Life
We have a dynamic and open-minded cohort of graduate students, who are very supportive of one another. The Philosophy Graduate Student Union (PGSU) is a vibrant part of our department. PGSU sponsors the Philosophy in Progress Series, an annual graduate student conference, and a variety of reading groups.
Foreign Languages and Travel
Students have opportunities to improve their knowledge of foreign languages by taking classes at Villanova and/or participating in philosophy translation seminars that are regularly run by the graduate faculty in German, French, Greek and Latin. Students have access to travel funds when they present papers at conferences. Villanova also has a generous program for summer research grants.
Villanova is situated on the outskirts of Philadelphia and is readily accessible by public transportation or car. Philadlephia is a city with a rich historical heritage, an active cultural scene and numerous intellectual opportunities. Situated on the Northeast Corridor, Philadelphia is also conveniently connected by public transportation to New York City and Boston, as well as to Baltimore and Washington D.C.
For more than a decade, Villanova University has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report in the Best Universities – Master’s category in the northern region.
Special tuition rates are available for secondary school teachers in all liberal arts and sciences courses.
Villanova’s campus is located in suburban Philadelphia and is easily accessible by car or public transportation.